Big Finish Productions
|Written by||Brian Finch and Paul Finch|
|Starring Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant|
|Synopsis: No one lives to old age in the village. When their Time is come, they are taken and never seen again. That is The Way. And, should anyone try to break with the established order of things, then the fury of Herne the Hunter is unleashed... When the TARDIS materialises near a castle in this mediaeval society, the Doctor and Peri befriend Gurth, a terrified youth who is attempting to flee his fate. And Herne is closing in... Why does the local baron impose the culling? What is the secret of Zeron? And who are the Sentinels of the New Dawn? The answers lie within a cave...|
Your Time Has Come to Face the Hunter by Jacob Licklider 27/5/22
Leviathan is the real oddball in the first season of the Lost Stories, as it was added on to the range after the production of the other seven stories were completed. It is a script that was only ever a backup, as the story would have needed a lot of money to pull off a lot of the visual effects this story actually features. As the story is a replacement for Yellow Fever and How to Cure It, which never would have been made by Big Finish, as it never got past the initial idea, it really works well, doing something no other Doctor Who story has done before. Leviathan is a pseudo-historical in what can be the purest sense, as the plot sees the Doctor and Peri land in the twelfth-century in England where Herne the Hunter is stalking people of a village and taking away the children when it is their time. Now this is a really good premise on its own, even though it reflects The Visitation in a lot of its style and story structure of the first episode, as there is advanced technology sprinkled throughout, hinting at something more. Unlike The Visitation, which has a historical setting with science-fiction elements, the first cliffhanger reveals that instead of the historical setting, this medieval village and surrounding forest and manor is on the titular Leviathan, a spaceship suspended in space, and Herne is a robot using the children for cloning. The twist is done brilliantly, and I will say no more as to exactly where the story goes following this.
Colin Baker as the Doctor is once again really good in this story, as he gives it his all here, and the writing from the Finches actually feel a lot like the Big Finish version of the Sixth Doctor. He is extremely caring in this story for both Peri and the people of this village, even though he really should just be going right onto the next adventure. His interactions with the Baron are great, as he plays the straight man for the Baron, who is a comedic fop. The Baron has this high-pitched voice, which is really feminine and really comedic in the story. Nicola Bryant as Peri gets one of her better stories, as Peri actually takes a prominent role in the action here, trying to figure out the mystery of what Herne is doing to the teenagers and why they don't seem to have any real families to be seen. The supporting cast, while all at least interesting, really are kept a mystery throughout, which actually works for the better in this story, as a lot of the cast are young people played by adult actors. The real conflict is the Doctor and Peri just working together to figure out the mystery, which is the real appeal of the story.
Note must be made of the direction by Ken Bently, who was brought on last minute, and the music, which doesn't actually sound like the period in Part One. Simon Robinson's score and sound design actually feels like a score used for a historical drama, as it tricks the listener into thinking that the historical setting is actually a real area. It also knows when it is not needed to actually allow the drama of the story to sink in easily. The writing is also interesting, as Brian and Paul Finch were actually father and son, respectively, and you really don't notice it in the story.
To summarize, Leviathan is a great story that outclasses The Nightmare Fair and Mission to Magnus in terms of quality, although there are a few problems with the matter of the characters not really being that fleshed out and a really slow start. Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant are both great in the story and are honestly all you need to pay the price of purchase to experience the story. 90/100