Argolis Productions
The Nightmare Fair

Synopsis: An audio recreation of the missing Season 22 adventure.


A Review by Ron Mallett 30/5/05

This charity production is the equal of any Big Finish production and in a technical sense is flawless. It remains utterly faithful to the late Graham Williams' script and as a result is rather uneven in terms of time (underlength for the first part and way overlength for the second). It also uses a narrator to describe some action giving it a similarity in style to the Pertwee audios of the nineties - much derided by Russell and his followers who are convinced that their way is the only way to do things - and it works magnificently.

The highlight of the production is Steve Hill's interpretation of The 6th Doctor. It is not just that he sounds like Colin Baker, he captures Baker's unbridled season 22 characterisation of the time lord with eerie exactness. He is alien, self-obsessed, over-confident, highly engaging and most importantly entertaining. The supporting cast are also impressive. Mark J. Thomspson provides us with a convincing impression of Michael Gough's voice. Jennifer Adams Kelly's Peri is more convincing on the basis of characterisation only.

Perhaps because of licensing issues it was necessary to utilise an original theme. David Darlington's theme music is very effective although a bit down beat and actually more similar to the theme of the X-Files. Producer Robert Dunlop has proven that the labels "amateur", "fan production" or even the one they use for this production "official", does not necessarily mean second class. This is first class stuff and gives us an excellent idea of how the script might have been realised. After all it is well known that Script Editor of the time Eric Saward was very hierarchical about whose work he would dissect: while he would rewrite huge sections of Philip Martin's work without a thought, but would never dream of touching anything written by "grown-ups" such as Holmes or Williams. He apparently simply wrote a message to Williams on the cover of the original script: "Can we discuss this?"! The ease at which season 22 was sliced up into 25 minute episodes for the international market probably points to the fact that the imbalance in the structure of the script would have been a problem easily solved.