Short Trips (audio)
BBC Audio
Out of the Darkness
Read by Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant

Editor Steve Cole
Produced 1998

Synopsis: An audio collection of short-stories.


A Review by Stuart Gutteridge 24/12/98

This is one of the last releases of 1998 from the BBC and one that largely suceeds. Out of the Darkness, a double CD, features stories with the Sixth Doctor and Peri,and read and performed by Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant. After 12 years away from their roles (Dimensions in Time not withstanding), Baker and Bryant take up the mantle and pull off the feat of making the Doctor and Peri, just as much alive today as they did in 1985.

The CD opens with the longest tale (at about an hour), "Moon Graffiti" by Dave Stone. This is a very traditional tale about parasites and vandalism and starts off promisingly. There are a lot of descriptive passages here, which Nicola Bryant reads more successfully than Colin Baker. The Doctor/Peri relationship is interesting here too; one moment they`re bickering, the next the Doctor is quizzing Peri without being patronising. "Moon Grafitti" is a little uncharacteristic of Dave Stone, in that the ending feels flat without the usual anarchy that typifies his other work; that said, this is a welcome change. The only other problem is that "Moon Grafitti "is a little long and demands the listeners attention.

"Wish You Were Here?" taken from Short Trips tells of the Doctor`s visit to a robot run holiday camp. Guy Clapperton manages to capture the Doctor perfectly and Colin Baker`s reading brings a softer side to him, bringing home the story`s message--sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. Fortunately, the supporting characters are few, as Baker`s silly accents kick in; thankfully we are spared his rendition of Peri.

"Vigil" by Michael Collier rounds off the CD. Read by Nicola Bryant, this tale focuses largely on Peri, where she discovers that there are monsters which are entirely earthbound. Collier manages to bring a new dimension to Peri (she`s sick of all the death she encounters), similair to that of Tegan and Victoria. This tale is far superior to Longest Day, as it is simply more easy to imagine and highlights the meaning of the CD`s title-monsters and secrets coming into the open.

So with three highly enjoyable tales (for the most part), Out of the Darkness proves that Doctor Who can still deliver a punch, even if it`s not on TV.