THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
TV STORIES "THE TIME
"INVASION OF THE
'THE PARADISE OF
DEATH' AUDIO CD
RELEASED IN MARCH
When a horrific and
occurs at Space
World, a new theme
park on Hampstead
and UNIT are called in
to investigate. The
Doctor is highly
suspicious. Just who
controls the Parakon
the running of the
park? What is
and what are the
limits of its awesome
27TH AUGUST 1993 - 24TH SEPTEMBER 1993
“The Paradise of Death” is something of a landmark. The only new story to be broadcast in the show’s thirtieth anniversary year (unless you count, dare I say it, “Dimensions In Time”!), this five-part radio adventure is also notable for being the first Doctor Who audio story to really feel like the television show. “Doctor Who And The Pescatons” is more like an audio book than anything else, and the least said about the cringeworthy episode of “Exploration Earth” or the dire “Slipback” the better. “The Paradise of Death,” on the other hand, whilst far from perfect, feels just like a season eleven story without the pictures.
Barry Letts’ script wonderfully captures the essence of the UNIT era without straying too far into the realms of nostalgia. Even the incidental music is reminiscent of those classic episodes… so why on Earth did they opt to use the Peter Howell version of the theme tune? It is neither the ‘correct’ version of the theme for the third Doctor, nor even the most recent version. It makes no sense!
Both Nicholas Courtney and Elizabeth Sladen are absolutely superb in their respective
roles; neither of them sound like they have left the parts, and in a way, I guess they have not and never will. Jon Pertwee is also on fine form, although his voice has definitely aged making the third Doctor sound quite different to how he did on television.
This story also has a fine supporting cast. Peter Miles (famous for his portrayal of Nyder in “Genesis of the Daleks”) is absolutely fantastic as Tragan, and Maurice Denham’s ("The Twin Dilemma") well meaning but feeble President of Parakon is also worth mentioning. However, Harold Innocent of "The Happiness Patrol" as the younger Freeth is certainly a weak link - his performance is far too over the top to be credible. And as for the bumbling and incompetent male ‘companion,’ Jeremy Fitzoliver… what an absolute disgrace. I can see what Letts was trying to do, turning the stereotype on its head by having a dizzy male assistant, but it is absolutely horrendous to listen to.
The story itself is average at best, although I suppose it does have a slightly more ambitious feel than most third Doctor stories as the action takes place across several planets, reminding me of “The Time Monster” and especially “Frontier In Space” but with the added bonus of having the Brigadier along for the ride. The main villain’s goal of warmongering (so that he has dead bodies from which to maker fertilizer out of to save his world) also reminded me a little of “Frontier In Space”, but sadly Freeth is not a patch on Roger Delgado’s definitive Master.
“The Paradise of Death” is a must for any fan of the Pertwee era, and although it has many flaws, the rare opportunity to hear Pertwee, Courtney, and Sladen together again is just too good to be missed.
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.
Guidance suggests that this story takes place between the television stories The Time Warrior and Invasion of the Dinosaurs.
Presumably the Doctor and Sarah take the TARDIS for another trip between the end of this story and the first episode of Invasion of the Dinosaurs, which sees them return to London.
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