Writer: Steve Lyons
Director: John Ainsworth
Companions: Tegan Jovanka (Janet Fielding, narrator), Nyssa, and Adric
Running Time: 1 hour, 7 minutes
Summary: The Doctor receives a psionic message and takes his companions to a circus in the 1920’s. There, they meet Harry Houdini, who happens to be an old friend of the Doctor’s. But an old foe is waiting for them.
Review: This was a treat. The story had all the trappings of the best Fifth Doctor stories. I liked that it seemed as though there were off-screen adventures with Houdini that we were unaware of, and with previous Doctors to boot! Janet’s impression of the Master was spot on. I also liked that the story was also part of Big Finish’s attempts to “fix” unfavorable companions. Adric was actually put in a situation that played to his strengths, and he didn’t come across nearly as smug as he would on TV. Tegan didn’t seem as crass or complaining in this one, even though this was before she was eventually fired from her job in “Time-Flight”. She actually seemed like she was having fun. If this was the version we saw on TV, I might’ve believed her more in “Resurrection of the Daleks” when she said she wanted to leave because “it wasn’t fun anymore.” This story, like many of the others in this series, is a true tribute to the Davison era.
Continuity: Tegan once again fails to reach Heathrow, which was her main concern early in Davison’s era. The Doctor mentions that his sonic screwdriver was destroyed, which happened in “The Visitation.” The Eleventh Doctor actually uses River Song’s “spoilers” catch phrase. The Master taunts both Nyssa and Tegan about destroying Traken and killing Tegan’s aunt. Houdini mentions that the Doctor and the Master were at the academy together. Apparently, Houdini has met both the Second and Third Doctors, as he makes allusions to them and even name-drops Jo Grant.