Doctor Who: Big Finish – The Chaos Pool Episode One review

Peter Davison's Doctor meets some new nemeses in the latest Big Finish audio production...

The final segment of Big Finish’s ‘Key 2 Time’ series begins in grand fashion as we hear the unmistakeable tones of ‘Madame President’ played, as ever, by Lalla Ward. She has her own spaceship and her own crew, and they’re heading towards the enigmatic ‘Chaos Pool’. On their way, they encounter a Teuthoidian ship that seems intent on attacking them. They prepare to destroy it, as they have destroyed the previous five attempted attacks by the species. However, the Doctor and Amy are on board it, and they’ve lost their TARDIS.

Oh, and the Teuthoidians themselves are giant slugs that glide around on a mucus covered floor and eat each other during disagreements.

As someone once said, “The pictures are better on the radio,” and that is never more true than when one is revelling in the horrid atmosphere of the Teuthoidian ship. The fact that Toby Longworth, veteran of playing the equally grotesque Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz in Hitchiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, merely adds to the enjoyment. The Teuthoidian voices are of the plums-in-the-mouth pomposity variety, and very enjoyable characters they are, too. A little one dimensional perhaps, but if they turn out to be major characters, perhaps they will emerge as more well rounded creatures.

It’s no surprise to note that Zara, the evil twin sister of the Doctor’s companion Amy reappears right at the start of this climatic story. Her characterisation remains untouched from her devious debut in Judgement Of Isskar and she flirts, pouts and manipulates the action as only she can. She’s the embodiment of self-centredness, being always out for herself and not caring who she harms in the meantime. One of the great Who ‘baddies’, frankly. It’s a pleasure to have her back

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Having lost the TARDIS, The Doctor and Amy must convince the crew of both ships that they deserve to live and, whilst the Doctor sets about fixing the warp engines, Amy must take on the role of peace-maker.

This episode is great at setting its scene. The new characters are believable and interesting, and the Teuthoidians themselves are truly horrible creations. There’s some decent dialogue, including a rather touching scene in which the Doctor talks of death with Amy, and the only real annoyance is the constant clanging as the Doctor apparently ‘fixes’ the warp engines whilst Amy negotiates in his place. Clang, clang, clang he goes, seemingly being intent on smacking hell out of the contraption than on actually fixing the thing!

Still, that is the only complaint in this excellent first episode and, coupled with an ending that made this writer exclaim, “Oh Wow! That’s excellent!” I promise that this instalment won’t disappoint.

The Chaos Pool at Big Finish