(ISBN 1-903654-76-9)





 The Clutch is a fleet in

 constant motion,

 ships jostling for

 position, in an endless

 migration between the

 stars. For the

 Galyari, forbidden by

 an ancient curse from

 settling on a world

 ever again, the Clutch

 is home. But the curse

 travels with them!


 The Sandman, a figure

 of myth and folk-

 lore, preys on the

 young and old alike.

 He lurks in the

 shadows and it is

 death to look upon



 All too soon

 after the TARDIS

 arrives, it is evident

 that the Doctor and

 the Galyari share a

 dark history, and

 Evelyn is shocked to

 discover that, on the

 Clutch, it is her

 friend who is the



 The Sandman,

 according to the

 tales, also goes by

 the name of the



 PREVIOUS                                                                                  NEXT


The Sandman

october 2002







It has been a long time since we last head from the sixth Doctor and Evelyn. Considering the high standard of the first five Colin Baker / Maggie Stables audios, “The Sandman” really had its work cut out for it. On top of that, the lengthy Paul McGann / India Fisher ‘second season’ of stories was of an impossibly high quality, and since then Big Finish have treated us to classics like “Spare Parts” and “The Rapture” with other Doctors whilst all we had on the sixth Doctor front was a lacklustre adventure with Peri - “…ish.” Suffice it to say the stakes have never been higher for this much beloved duo.


"The Sandman" conjures up some wonderful imagery, most notably that of ‘the Clutch’; a huge inter-galactic gypsy convoy on which the bulk of the adventure takes place. Furthermore, Simon A Forward’s premise for this story is intriguing – one culture’s hero is another’s monster and everything is a matter of perspective. Many years ago the Doctor defended a world against a hostile species known as the Galyari, and this play explores the long-term consequences of the Doctor’s interference with that particular species. Forward is extremely clever in how he takes small facets of the Doctor’s story and exaggerates them beyond belief to create ‘the Sandman’ myth, the most memorable of which being that his hideous multi-coloured patchwork coat gives the Galyari migraines because of their more sensitive vision. Translated into ‘the Sandman’ myth, “…to look upon him is death!”


However, the twist comes in the form of how the play is presented – for a long while the listener is led to believe that the Doctor actually is the monstrous ‘Sandman’ that the Galyari depict him as, and Evelyn as our anchor is put in the same position. I do not think that this play would have worked as well with any of the other Doctors, except perhaps the seventh. With any other Doctor, you could be certain that the whole 'Sandman' myth were hyperbole and nonense. But the sixth? The ‘weak link’ in the chain? The Doctor who tried to kill his companion in a post-regenerative fit? It at least gives the listener pause.


Moreover, Baker’s performance is so over the top that at times he makes it seem conceivable that he did commit all the terrible acts that the Galyari blame him for; you can even feel Evelyn’s faith in him slipping. However, this is not Baker playing the Doctor – this

is Baker playing the Doctor playing the Sandman which is quite different. Yes,

the Doctor slips back into his louder, more aggressive persona that he demonstrated throughout much of season twenty-two, but this is a deliberate move on the part of the actor and the writer – much like Tom Baker’s heated performance in the early episodes of “The Invasion of Time,” it is vital to the plot.


The cover illustration proudly announces the return of both Anneke Wills (who played the companion Polly during seasons three and four) and distinguished actor Ian Hogg (who played Josiah Smith in “Ghost Light”). Whilst Hogg’s role is rather small considering his credit on the front cover, Wills is outstanding as Director Nrosha – a Galyari with a deep personal grudge against ‘the Sandman.’ How much of the character’s presence can be attributed to Wills and how much to the sound design of Gareth Jenkins I do not know; the voice modulation and feisty performance combine to create a frighteningly larger-than-life character – a far cry from the mild-mannered Polly!


Somehow though, I did not find this serial quite as compelling as the stories that have come before it. As Evelyn is massively under-utilised and as the Doctor is lost in his act for much

of the story, “The Sandman” - a story I eagerly anticipated just because of the return of the sixth Doctor and Evelyn - feels a bit empty. Nevertheless, "The Sandman" is still an interesting piece of thought-provoking drama which once again takes the show into new territory.


Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006


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

Unless otherwise stated, all images on this site are copyrighted to the BBC and are used solely for promotional purposes.

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