Writer: Graham Williams
Director and Producer: John Ainsworth
Running Time: 2 hours, 14 minutes
Companion: Peri Brown (Nicola Bryant)
Summary: The Doctor and Peri travel to an amusement park in Blackpool in 1986. They discover an old enemy awaiting them: The Celestial Toymaker.
Review: When Doctor Who was put on hiatus before season 23, scripts were written but rejected in favor of the “Trial of a Time Lord” arc. These stories were later adapted in to Big Finish’s “Lost Stories” range.
The Celestial Toymaker’s sole appearance in Classic Who was in the missing episode that bears his name. Because of this, I had no idea what to expect before I listened. David Bailie plays him here (Michael Gough, the original actor, died in 2011.) and he’s great. In the accompanying interviews, Bailie said he pictured the Toymaker like a child, so he gave him the glee of one playing with toys and becoming bored or frustrated when the Doctor and Peri refused to cooperate. He reminded me of Q from Star Trek: The Next Generation. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing the Toymaker on the modern day version of Doctor Who.
Peri acts like a combination of her Classic Who character and the way Big Finish writes her, so she’s actually quite resourceful in this story. We also still get the usual banter I’ve come to expect between her and Colin Baker’s Doctor.
The Sixth Doctor was closer to his TV counterpart’s usual arrogance. He played off the Toymaker well.
The sound design makes it feel like an abandoned amusement park should feel. makes it feel like an abandoned park should feel. There’s eerie music throughout and some great animal noises.
Overall Review: 9/10
Continuity: Both the Seventh and Eighth Doctors have also encountered the Toymaker in The Magic Mousetrap and the Companion Chronicle Solitaire. The Doctor recalls the Peking Homunculus from “The Talons of Weng Chiang” and visiting Briton in “The Leisure Hive”. Peri finds a 5-pound note from Jamie in the TARDIS’s wardrobe. Peri met androids in “The Caves of Androzani”. The Doctor refers to Romulus and Remus, the twins he met in “The Twin Dilemma”.