THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE BIG
FINISH AUDIO DRAMAS
"THE CREED OF KROMON"
AND "THE TWILIGHT
BIG FINISH CD#54
RELEASED IN FEBRUARY
IT IS AN OFFENCE TO
COPY OR ATTEMPT TO
COPY ANY PERSONALITY
ARTICLE SHOWN OR
DISPLAYED IN THIS
WE ASK THE PUBLIC
TO BE VIGILANT AND
REPORT ANY MATTERS
TO THEIR CONSCIENCE.
History of Fear
The Natural History of Fear was borne of a brilliant idea, has been brilliantly written and - without wanting to over-use the adjective - brilliantly executed. The dystopian nightmare is not a scenario that the show has ever explored ever so blatantly before, and certainly never in such an inspired fashion. This story sees veteran Doctor Who scribe Jim Mortimore take our favourite television show and use it (and all its fannish accoutrements!) as vehicle for the most insidious type of propaganda.
The story’s central theme and setting is lifted straight out of George Orwell’s 1984, but this
in no way detracts from one’s enjoyment of the story. In fact, I’d say that if you had read that particular novel or are a fan of Orwell’s work then you’ll enjoy this story all the more, whilst if you aren’t familiar with it then you’ll find this a refreshing departure from familiar stomping grounds.
The play’s greatest strength, in my opinion, is that is exclusively-aural. A great many audio adventures that Big Finish have produced were crying out to be made as television stories or movies, whilst others, like this one, have been carefully constructed to exist exclusively as sound. The plot is actually reliant on the lack of visuals as the story’s final, inspirational twist would have been spoiled by the opening shot were this a television story.
What’s more, Mortimore undertook the production’s sound design himself so that what we hear on the CD is as close to his vision as possible. The voice of Light City, for instance, and the rumbling of the drones all conspire to create a vivid, chilling picture in the listener’s mind.
Nevertheless, for all its splendour, I
can’t help but wonder why this story
was commissioned for the eighth
Doctor, Charley and C’rizz. Save for
about ninety seconds of expository
dialogue placing these events in
one of the Crucible World’s zones
and a brief piece of narration lifted
from Scherzo’s pre-title sequence,
this adventure could have taken
place anywhere in our universe
and potentially even with another Doctor! It seems bizarre to work so hard building a new universe, introducing a new set of rules and even a new companion, only to do something that could have been done anyway. Having only been introduced to C’rizz in the previous story, here we have Conrad Westmaas playing a completely different character. Mad.
Of course, such gripes don’t affect one’s enjoyment of this intriguing, stand-alone offering; in fact, they may tempt those not following the ongoing story arc to purchase it. And I sincerely hope they do, because The Natural History of Fear is probably the most remarkable audio drama that Big Finish have ever produced.
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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