Better heard than seen. With a DVD edition yet to see the light of day, the BBC are treating us instead to an audio edition of this 1984 adventure with linking narration by actress Janet Fielding. Just as well, as this is one television adventure that works better without its visuals.The year is 2084, and the TARDIS arrives on an underwater sea base run by the western block; the cold war is back on (it was still going when this serial was made) and the base has been infiltrated by two enemy agents; Nilson and Doctor Solow. Meanwhile the titular Doctor arrives along with companions Tegan and Turlough, and they quickly become suspected as enemy intruders, while Nilson and Solow quietly get on with sabotaging the missile base’s sync operator, Maddox, who has been press ganged to the job when the previous incumbent is mysteriously killed.But while all this is going on, a mutual enemy is about to invade. The Silurians, a reptilian race who ruled Earth before humanity evolved want it back. Teaming up with a gang of Sea Devils, they plan to take the base and use its missiles to trigger world war. In the course of this invasion, they also employ the services of the Myrka; a dinosaur like monster with cybernetic enhancements that give it a deadly electric sting. The showdown is on and it is a fight to the death.This four part adventure is generally referred to by Doctor Who fandom as Warriors on the Cheap and they would probably welcome this new audio edition of a story better heard than seen. Its great sin lies not only in the pantomime horse style Myrka (which was played by a pair of professional panto horse artists) but the rather tatty and sometimes badly fitted Silurian costumes that where not a patch on the originals used for their previous appearance back in the Pertwee days. The brightly lit, supermarket like sets also did much to rob the tale of its potential atmosphere.With these offending visuals removed and the listener’s guided imagination now in charge the story stands up surprisingly well. It is structured with some tense dramatic scripting, characterisation and effective dialogue. Particularly moving is the tale’s downbeat closing where the TARDIS crew remain the sole survivors of a pointless massacre – alone but for the bodies of humans and Silurians – the Doctor lamenting in despair “There should have been another way.”One day, the Beeb will right the wrongs of the video version with a well needed CGI make over. Until then, this stimulating audio edition is an enjoyable alternative.
I totally agree with the previous reviewer. This story is far more enjoyable on audio than viewing the DVD version. Your imagination totally takes over and makes it a very enjoyable story to listen to. I wish the BBC would release more audio versions. A highly recommended buy and great value for money.
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