(ISBN 1-903654-60-2)





 The Doctor travels

 to the Cimmerian

 System to unravel

 the mystery of its

 sun, But darkness

 has embraced the

 scientific base on

 Cimmeria IV in more

 ways than one.


 the Doctor must use

 all his wits against

 a deadly artificial

 life-form and a race

 whose return to the

 System threatens

 suffering and death

 on an apocalyptic



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Embrace the Darkness

APRIL 2002






Ever since Big Finish released their first Doctor Who audio drama, The Sirens of Time, in 1999, listeners have remarked upon how hauntingly redolent their productions are. They are, effectively, television programmes without the picture. But what if the programme wasnt meant to have a picture? When crafting a drama for audio, why not make its primary setting one of complete darkness? 

The thought behind Embrace the Darkness was certainly inspired; however its innovation seems to end with its gimmick. Hot on the heels of productions the calibre of The Chimes

of Midnight and Seasons of Fear, writer and director Nicholas Briggs had his work cut out for him here, and while his story ticks all the right boxes, and is perhaps even a little more troubling than most when the lights are out, it is still far from exceptional.


What stands out above all else about Embrace the Darkness is its gore. With the lights out, Briggs does a breathtaking job of conveying the characters’ reactions to the events around them. We can’t see the humans having their eyes burnt out by the Cimmerians, but we can hear Orllensa’s tortured voice as she struggles to come to terms with what has been done

to her, which personally I find altogether more effective. Indeed, Nicola Boyce’s traumatised performance was the highlight of the production for me.


Briggs’ ROSM android, in ruthlessly applying its company orders and sheer logic, also proves a frustratingly fearsome adversary at times, especially in Part 1 where it identifies Charley as having malignant cells and thus attempts to destroy her. Regrettably though, much of the story’s terror is undone by its blithe, almost happy ending, which leaves one

with the distinct impression that they’ve just heard a nursery rhyme and the moral of the

story is…’ Indeed, the whole plot is borne of misunderstandings, false assumptions, and judging by appearances.


Briggs’ exploration of such weary

concepts quickly grates, though it

does at least allow him to critique

the Doctor in an interesting way,

specifically with reference to his

habitual interfering. It seems that

by this point in his lives the Doctor

is becoming a tad self-conscious

about his meddling, possibly the

result of his gung-ho rescue of

Charley from the R101 and its observable consequences. This leads to one especially affecting scene between the Doctor and his companion, which sees her accuse him of wanting die to appease his conscience with no thought for what would happen to her if he did.


When all’s said and done, Embrace the Darkness is an inventive and interesting adventure, but one that I fear is destined to fade into the darkness, surrounded as it is by such peerless labours.


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.

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