THIS EPISODE TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE BIG
FINISH AUDIO DRAMAS
"BRAVE NEW TOWN" AND
"GRAND THEFT COSMOS."
BIG FINISH 8TH DOCTOR
CD#2.4 (ISBN 1-84435-
307-1) RELEASED IN
INDIGO 3 lies the
place of reflection.
a place of death.
its way inside
IN THE BLUE DESERT
OF INDIGO 3 lies the
Sanctuary of Imper-
fect Symmetry. It is
a place of reflection.
AND a place of death.
Something has found
its way inside the
Something with a
leathery hide, a
snout and sharp
pointy teeth. Tick
tock. Here comes
The Skull of Sobek
According to this episode’s writer, Marc Platt, The Skull of Sobek is all “about not quite maintaining the balance of the universe…” That, and some walking, talking, limb-munching crocodiles…
Indeed, for the most part Platt’s episode has its tongue firmly planted in its cheek. Take the episode’s principal monsters, for example. Although the Crocodillians are, in truth, fairly well-rounded and compellingly brutal protagonists, the very name of their race suggests a hint of underlying farce. Nonetheless, the bipedal Crocodiles are legitimately frightening at times; the author does a tremendous job of putting all of his own personal fears into Lucie. The fact that Lucie - this hard-nosed, rather blasé young lady who seldom shows fear - is terrified by the Crodillians really helps to sell them to the listener.
For me though, the most outstanding
aspect of The Skull of Sobek is how
it dwells beautifully on balance and
symmetry, literally and figuratively.
Whether Platt is building up a vivid
picture of a geometrically-perfect
world or exploring symbiosis through
the Sanctuary, his story feels like it is saying so much about the nature of the universe – I’m just not quite sure what.
And what’s more - a bit like his last play, Valhalla – The Skull of Sobek is incredibly action-packed and dynamic, yet somehow it still manages to work on audio. The listener can see the symmetrical dunes. Can see Lucie running away from the novices so that she won’t have to her head shaved. Can see the Doctor being flung out of a window. Of course, much of the credit for this has to be given to the production team, but even so Platt’s script is remarkably well-suited not just to the audio medium but also to the tone of this frantic romp of a season.
“I’m not anybody’s champion!”
- Time’s Champion
The Skull of Sobek features some fantastic performances too. Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith shine once again, as does Sean Biggerstaff (Shada) as the vile Crocodillian Snabb and Barbara Flynn as Sister Chalice. Big Finish’s cast lists have been so impressive of late, I think that I’m beginning to take their interminable conveyor belt of stars for granted. Here’s hoping that the conveyor belt keeps on rolling...
All told then, The Skull of Sobek is an enjoyable caper, beautifully executed in almost every way. In terms of magnitude, it’s closer to Valhalla and Ghost Light than it is Spare Parts or Platt’s Virgin novels; relentless fun, but not one that anyone will still be raving about it in ten years’ time.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2008
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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