[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Sound of Doctor Who #02
Audio Drama: The Shadow of the Scourge
- The Doctor — Sylvester McCoy
- Ace — Sophie Aldred
- Bernice Summerfield — Lisa Bowerman
- Annie Carpenter — Holly King
- Mary Hughes — Caroline Burns-Cook
- Brian Hughes — Lennox Greaves
- Michael Pembroke — Michael Piccarilli
- Gary Williams — Nigel Fairs
- Scourge Leader — Peter Trapani
Director: Gary Russell
Writer: Paul Cornell
Producer: Gary Russell
Publisher: Big Finish Production
The Shadow of the Scourge is a 7th Doctor story which features the Doctor, Ace and published companion Bernice journey to present day hotel where multiple conventions are going on. A cross stitching convention, a science convention dealing with time travel experiments and a group where a tell is summoning a being known as Oum …yet … it is all just a trap as a group of vicious beings are coming together for the convention…
This story was the second full tale featuring the second tale. And it starts out very simply with a mystery and then continues to ramp up into a full scale event that brings all the multiple elements together. Cornell’s writing is very entertaining and thrilling with this story as the humor and action of the story keeps your attention the entire time. I do enjoy that Cornell has the 7th Doctor being his manipulative self, with interesting dark moments … particularly the end of the part 1. There is a great amount of character development here for the Doctor, Bernice, Ace, Annie, Mary, Brian and even Michael. The fact that the Doctor ends up having “negotiations” with the beings known as the Scourge. The pacing for this story is amazing. The elements of horror are very well heightened in the story, allowing it paced well. A particular key element of the story is overcoming fear and doubt and Cornell uses this exquisitely as he is able to project the fears and doubts of many of the characters, including the Doctor and create some very powerful conflicts that drive the story into its wonderful conclusion.
There are some of the most creepy sounds and music in this story. The transformations done into the Scourge are down right frightening. The sounds of so many people screaming in horror really helped make the story terrifying yet gripping.
McCoy’s 7th Doctor is as sly, scheming yet charming as ever. From his arrival to the convention with Ace and Bernice to the cliffhangers of part 1 & part 2 to the final battles within the astral plane, McCoy’s performance is superb. There is a vulnerability we see here that we haven’t seen much of during his run on classic Who. This vulnerability actually plays off key points of the story and McCoy really brings out that vulnerability. Meanwhile, Sophie Aldred’s Ace is outstanding here. She’s definitely smarter because of her time with the Doctor and it shows here. She is also wonderful with her comedic timing and toughness that we’ve come to know and love from Aldred’s Ace. Lisa Bowerman’s Bernice Summerfield is absolutely outstanding here. Cornell created her for his writing rangers on the Virgin New Adventures and Bowerman makes Bernice come to life so vividly here. She definitely adds a different dynamic to the already interesting Doctor and Ace union. Bernice is sly, smart mouthed, quick witted and very strong. It shines through during her scenes and it makes her a fun character to listen to. McCoy, Aldred and Bowerman really holds this piece together well.
Yet, alongside them, Piccarilli and King as Michael and Annie have a wonderful chemistry together, proving themselves deep characters. King really shines as Annie as she dealing with fortune telling ways as well as two interesting twists in the story. Greaves is delightfully charming and psychotic, doing a wonderful job there. Fairs does a great job as Gary, being a bit hilarious and vulnerable. Yet, Trapani’s role as the Scourge leader was quite frightening. While there was a lot that could be considered normal villain fanfare, Trapani’s Scourge Leader kept it fresh and arrogant, allowing the 7th Doctor’s normal chess game to go awry and being an intelligent match for him. Trapani did get a bit hammy at the end but … he was being the bad guy and it worked.
Random Who Fact:
As it was mentioned earlier, Bernice Summerfield is a companion the 7th Doctor had picked up in his written range of adventures in Virgin’s New Adventures during the 90s. Bernice is actually an archeologist from the 26th century and joins the Doctor in some adventures. This was the first time that Bernice was in any other medium other that written. It helps that her creator, Paul Cornell, got to writer her first audio story. Bowerman’s Bernice or Benny as she is affectionately called, got so popular that she spawned her own spin-off audio series from Big Finish.
The Shadow of the Scourge was a great story as it gave some much in the short time that it had. We got to see the Doctor’s own ego get the best of him, leaving him vulnerable in ways we never saw him before. Ace and Bernice had to step up to take control and did so amazingly. We got to see a story with people facing their fears and learning to overcome them. The Scourge are very frightening in that they can take over someone yet, Cornell makes them very powerful yet believable. And while some thing seemed average with them at first, the over all story continued to have enough twists, turns and laughs to keep you entertained. The acting was superb as the stars did an amazing job really pulling you into this story. This was a solid 7th Doctor story that just added more to the doctor then we ever saw in Classic Who and I applaud Cornell and the entire team for that.