In Review: Big Finish: Philip Hinchcliffe Presents Volume 3: The Helm of Awe

According to the Behind-The-Scenes interviews, writer Philip Hinchcliffe and his adapter Marc Platt were inspired by charity dragon boat races, ancient viking festivals, generational family bonds, World War II resistance, and The Wicker Man.

Synopsis: Philip Hinchcliffe, acclaimed producer of Doctor Who (1975-77) returns to tell new stories for the Fourth Doctor and Leela.

The TARDIS arrives on the remote Shetland isle of Bothness and the Doctor and Leela find themselves threatened by Vikings! Only all is not as it seems. The locals are celebrating the old Norse fire festival of Up Helly Aa, so there’s nothing to be worried about. Or is there?

For, unknown to the islanders, the TARDIS crew are on the trail of an ancient artefact invested with mysterious powers that has recently been stolen and brought to this remote location.

Somewhere on this island lurks something ancient, and evil, and alien. The Doctor and Leela will have to stop it. Only on this occasion time might not be on their side.

Review: According to the Behind-The-Scenes interviews, writer Philip Hinchcliffe and his adapter Marc Platt were inspired by charity dragon boat races, ancient viking festivals, generational family bonds, World War II resistance, and The Wicker Man. They combined the seemingly disparate elements perfectly after several rough drafts. Apart from the story itself, I really enjoyed listening to Platt and Hinchcliffe himself talk about narrative economy and other structural considerations.

As for the story, it was wonderfully Hinchcliffean with atmosphere to spare. I also loved the character beats to spare. Listeners really got a sense of Bothness as a universe unto itself. As usual, Tom Baker and Louise Jameson played off each other with superb timing. There’s a level at which they’re doing two-hander plays that just happen to involve supporting casts.

It was a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. I can’t wait for Philip Hinchcliffe Presents Volume 4.

  • You can purchase Philip Hinchcliffe Presents Volume 3: The Helm of Awe here.

Written By: Philip Hinchcliffe, adapted by Marc Platt

Directed By: Ken Bentley

Cast

Tom Baker (The Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela), Joanna Vanderham (Joanna Renwick), David Rintoul (Professor Angus Renwick), Jane Slavin (Peggy), Ewan Bailey (Davy McTavit), Kieran Bew (Murdo Jamieson), Chris Porter (Nardos), Fleur Hinchcliffe (Young Angus Renwick)

Producer David Richardson

Script Editor John Dorney

Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

9.7
Big Finish: Philip Hinchcliffe Presents Volume 3: The Helm of Awe
  • Story
    9.0
  • Performances
    10
  • Audio Production
    10

Raissa Devereux became a life-long genre fan at the age of four when she first saw The Wizard of Oz at a screening at Arizona State University. Years later, she graduated from A.S.U. as an English major, History minor, Whovian, and Trekkie. Now a Florida transplant, she loves the opportunity Sci-Fi Pulse has given her to further explore space travel, time travel, masked heroes, gothic castles, and good yarns.
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