Fourth Doctor Audio Drama: Destination Nerva

nerva

Writer/Director/Producer: Nicholas Briggs

Running Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes (note: includes interviews with cast and crew)

Companion: Leela (Louise Jameson)

Summary: This story continues right from where the classic serial “Talons of Weng-Chiang” left off. After saying their good-byes to Jago and Litefoot, the Doctor and Leela return to the TARDIS and find a distress call from Nerva, the space station the Doctor, Sarah Jane, and Harry Sullivan travelled to twice in the show, in The Ark in Space and “Revenge of the Cybermen”. What they discover is an alien who could destroy the project before it even begins.

Review: When I learned that Tom Baker had finally joined Big Finish, I was excited. I’d already listened to stories featuring the 8th and 5th Doctors, and came away enjoying them.  And “The Ark in Space” is one of the true gems of the Fourth Doctor’s era. I actually had high expectations.

The story did have good points. I was able to immerse myself in the Nerva Station. The sound and music brought me into the story well, and I think it’s one of the best soundtracks I’ve heard. This is why I keep listening to Big Finish. The absence of being able to see allows my imagination to bring me into the story and I feel as if I am there with the Doctor and his companion. Tom Baker has not lost his step at all as the Doctor, bringing his delightful humor and quirks that made him my number one favorite. Louise Jameson is great again as Leela. I like how she seems wiser than she did in the show, as if she is finally realizing the potential the Doctor saw in her. The Doctor is now her mentor, and it was great to see them back together.

And yet…the story felt too familiar. As I stated in the summary, this is now the third story set on Nerva. This story is actually set before the episodes on the show.  I almost wondered if the story was even necessary, especially since the second Nerva story, “Revenge of the Cybermen” goes wibbly-wobbly and places the Doctor, Sarah, and Harry earlier than the events in “The Ark in Space”. And now we’re even more wibbly-wobbly because Leela is here and the setting is earlier than “Revenge”! I don’t mind the idea of revisiting old locales. After all, “Spare Parts” does this well.  But this didn’t feel as if it added anything new to the Nerva mythos. I didn’t feel much tension because I knew that no matter what happened, the events in the TV episodes would still occur. I’m not saying I wasn’t entertained, but this story felt a wee bit over-ambitious.

Overall Review: 4.5/10

Continuity: This story is set before “Revenge of the Cybermen”, as stated above. Jago and Litefoot make cameos in the prologue.

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