(ISBN 1-84435-559-4)




 The TARDIS travellers

 take a break on the

 beach world Vektris.

 Hot sun, cold drinks

 and all the time in the

 worlds. What could

 possibly go wrong?


 A kidnapping, a SHIP

 heist and a chase

 to a distant galaxy

 later, Turlough finds

 himself in a strange

 winter palace… 

   ...along with a face

 from his past. The

 Doctor, Tegan and

 Nyssa, meanwhile,

 fight to escape its

 frozen catacombs,

 guarded over by a

 vast and deadly

 alien Morass.


 But what connects

 Turlough to the

 ancient treasure

 hidden somewhere

 in the palace? And

 how far will he go

 to acquire it?



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Kiss of Death

MAY 2011







When I read the first line of Stephen Cole’s notes in the CD booklet, I very nearly laughed out loud. “Do you remember your first kiss?”, he asks a collection of self-confessed geeks so very infatuated with Doctor Who that they subscribe to a spin-off audio production range. Presuming that his listeners had each enjoyed a first kiss was a bold supposition in such circumstances, leaving me wondering just how badly Kiss of Death’s prolific writer had misjudged his intended audience and what they wanted from him. Ten minutes into Kiss of Death, however, the Doctor was having his hat shot off, and I was eating mine. This frantic frolic is a fan’s wet dream.


I’ve long been a fan of Vislor Turlough – the Doctor’s first companion to really go against the grain. Self-seeking, secretive, and shamelessly shallow, Mark Strickson’s beautifully-flawed alien schoolboy stands apart from the host of companions that preceded him and most of those that have followed since. It wasn’t until Planet of Fire though that viewers were given the opportunity to look behind the veil and get a glimpse of the events that had shaped the yellow-bellied exile, but by then, of course, it was too late – the character was on his way out. Kiss of Death seeks to make amends for such shocking neglect, as Cole delves headlong into Turlough’s past, finally resolving many of Planet of Fire’s smouldering questions, but in such a nimble way as to preserve that story’s sense of revelation and closure.


Cole’s central concept is incredibly cheeky. Take a companion who - save for poor Adric -

is probably the least likely to have ever enjoyed a romance, and turn him into the Romeo of Trion. Have him kidnapped by brace of apparent thieves, along with his Juliet, and taken to the trans-dimensional treasure bubble that once served as refuge from their warring families and that can only be opened by the meeting of their lips. And then, just because it’s Doctor Who, have that treasure bubble guarded by an icy, sentient and hitherto unheard of security system that threatens the safety of all.


© Big Finish Productions 2011. No copyright infringement is intended.


Whilst the story does take

on a darker bent the more

it progresses, for the most

part it is riotous fun. The

performances are every

bit as animated as one

would expect, particularly

those of Mark Strickson and Lucy Adams, who

play the production’s star-

crossed sweethearts, and the dialogue is so sharp that you’ll need a box of plasters to hand

when listening to it. The kidnappers Rennol and Hoss (Michael Maloney and Lizzie Roper,

respectively) are armed with some particularly mirthful turns of phrase – Rennol’s constant ginger-bashing shouldn’t be funny, but really is – and they also endeared themselves to me by coming up with an abduction plan that is not only foolproof, but damned hilarious to listen to.


Cole also does a masterful job of splitting the narrative between the many members of the oversized TARDIS crew. Turlough, quite naturally, is the story’s focus, but his fellow travellers are frequently being divided, reunited, and then split up again in different combinations. This regular reorganising helps to maintain the story’s rapid pace, and also gives Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton and especially Janet “did you buy this house from Enid Blyton?” Fielding ample opportunity to shine.


Kiss of Death’s most palpable triumph though is what it does with “Vis”, and how it makes the listener look at him anew. We get to hear the man that we saw so fleetingly in Planet of Fire – not quite noble, but certainly not the self-centred sod that we’re used to – and take a peek at a dark page in his life that might explain, if not excuse, the presence of the wall that surrounds both his secrets and his heart. The fact that it manages to do this without straying too far from carefree comic caper territory is, perhaps, an even greater triumph still.


Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2011


E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.



At the end of the story, Nyssa and Tegan promise to keep what they have learned about Turlough’s past from the Doctor, who will not learn of it until Planet of Fire.


This story sees the TARDIS repair (and, indeed, refurbish) its internal dimensions, offering an explanation as to why the console room looks different in The Five Doctors and thereafter. The Doctor also announces that the console needs a “complete overhaul”, foreshadowing the arrival of the new grey prop in The Five Doctors.


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Doctor Who is copyright © by the BBC. No copyright infringement is intended.