CD#4.05 (ISBN 1-8443

 5-479-5) RELEASED IN

 OCTOBER 2010.



 Millions of years

 ago, the noble Ice

 Warriors fled to

 Deimos, A moon of

 Mars, hoping to sit

 out the radioactive

 death throes of their

 home planet. When

 the TARDIS lands on

 Deimos, the Doctor

 discovers that the

 Warriors' ancient

 catacombs are now

 a popular stop for

 space tourists.


 But the Martian

 dynasties are FAR

 more than history,

 and the Warriors

 are far from BEING

 extinct. It's not for

 nothing that 'Deimos'

 is the ancient word

 for 'dread'…




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(2 EPISODES, PARTS 1 & 2 OF 4)






It must have taken nearly the length of the first episode for me to appreciate the irony of the situation; perhaps my synapses were half-frozen. There I was, half asleep at half seven in the morning, wading through nearly four feet of snow and listening to an audio play that told of how the Ice Warriors had awoken from their slumber and were planning to freeze their former homeworld. They should have just come to England. Deimos heralds the return of the green-scaled nasties, and this time they’ve brought the weather with them.


The first two episodes of Jonathan Morris’ star-studded Martian epic are deceptively low-key. The story opens in the Ice Warrior catacombs on the Martian moon of Deimos, now a museum dedicated to their culture, where a couple of freshly-woken Ice Warriors have been mistaken for a couple of fellers in rubber suits promoting the exhibition. From there, Morris gradually cranks up the tension, taking us from ‘shuttle under siege’ to ‘base under siege’, and then finally to a quarter of a million human colonists facing oblivion and the return of a familiar face who’s apparently turned heel. In terms of pace and tone, Deimos put me very much in mind of relatively recent televised episodes such as Bad Wolf and Army of Ghosts, in that it begins just like any other adventure, but by its end all the players are in place for an almighty showdown.


Morris also does a terrific job with both the Doctor and Tamsin here. The script allows Paul McGann to play the eighth Doctor at his swaggering best, confident and capable until two last-minute developments leave him reeling. Tamsin plays her part well too, blundering into gaffe after gaffe with see-through bluffs, awful suggestions and even worse dancing. It’s no surprise that she languished for so long playing ill-fated demi-reps in tacky Ripper museums instead of winning glitzy roles on stage and on screen. Indeed, it’s hard not to be impressed by how a talented actress such as Niky Wardley can so convincingly portray a poor one! Of course, Tamsin lends this story a lot of human heart too - her moral musings are pained and convincing, serving as a very effective contrast to McGann’s gung-ho space-suit adventuring.


The story’s supporting characters

are a rather impressive bunch too.

Superficially, they’re little more than

a horde of genre stereotypes, but a

combination of quirky writing and

passionate performances really

help to shatter the mould. David

Warner is as charismatic as ever,

this time in the guise of stuffy old

professor Boston Schooner. The

Omen star might always be best

remembered for his acclaimed

film and television work, but I always find him even more effective an actor in this medium.

Here, for example, he vests his mad professor come gun-wielding fanatic with real gravity

and menace, and a fair bit of pity too. His regal tones are so idiosyncratic, yet capable of

conveying so much.


© Big Finish Productions 2010. No copyright infringement is intended.


Tracy-Ann Oberman (Army of Ghosts / Doomsday) is almost as good in the role of Captain Temperance Finch. Oberman portrays the crabby commander with all the hard-hearted grit of her memorable Torchwood Supremo, but without any of the glamour. It’s a lovely, layered performance, as over the course of the two episodes Finch’s veneer begins to slip and the character’s vulnerability is exposed before her subordinates. Perhaps most extraordinary of all though is the performance of Big Finish Executive Producer Nicholas Briggs, who once again takes a faceless foe and carves a compelling character of him. I’m glad I’m not in the monster-voice game, because there’s no competition anymore.


Deimos does its job well – by the end of Part 2, the listener can’t wait for The Resurrection of Mars and all that comes with it. Even the CD Extras conclude with a cruel cliffhanger, as an important actress is cut-off mid-sentence, just as she’s about to let slip what’s to come. “And then…


Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2010


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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