Exotron: The TARDIS arrives at a distant human colony, and the Doctor is ready to be off again, but Peri is still sampling the local flora. When they meet their first exotron, however, both of the time travelers are ready to go. The enormous, remotely-operated mechanical men – or at least whoever is controlling them – takes a keen interest in the Doctor’s scientific knowledge. An exotron snatches up the Doctor and simply walks away with him in hand, while Peri encounters some human colonists and barely survives a meeting with the local fauna. The Doctor finds that the exotrons are powered by telepathy, or in this case, the machine-enhanced telepathy of a man who seems to have something to hide. The Doctor decides to use his own mental powers to level the playing field, but doing so may put his own survival, and Peri’s, at risk.
Urban Myths: The Doctor and Peri discover, at an opulent restaurant, that the Celestial Intervention Agency’s shady Time Lord operatives and the truth seldom dine at the same table.
Exotron Cast: Peter Davison (The Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri), John Duttine (Hector), Isla Blair (Paula), Nick Brimble (Shreeni), Richard Earl (Corporal Mozz), Claire Wyatt (Weiss)
Urban Myths Cast: Peter Davison (The Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri), Steven Wickham (Harom), Douglas Hodge (Edge), Nicola Lloyd (Kettoo), Barry McCarthy (Palgrave), Clare Calbraith (Trooper)
Timeline: between The Bride Of Peladon and The Caves Of Androzani
LogBook entry & review by Earl Green
Review: Perhaps the most telling measurement of Exotron as an exercise in storytelling is that, 12 hours later while writing the summary of the story for this review, I really had to struggle to remember what it was all about. I remembered that there were large animals and, for lack of a better way to put it, mecha involved. It was all competently performed, to be sure, but just not the most memorable of stories that Big Finish has ever put on a couple of CDs.
And, perhaps, it’s just as well that, as one of an experimental handful of Big Finish releases from 2007, Exotron is only a three-parter, accompanied by the amusing single-part story Urban Myths. Though it’s a little silly and predictable in places, Myths at least made more of an impression, with its dramatization of a blown-out-of-proportion retelling of the Doctor and Peri’s exploits. It’s amusing to hear Peter Davison and Nicola Bryant adjust their characters a little bit to make them ruthless, and the story then snaps back into shape and we discover what’s really going on.
Exotron isn’t the most memorable of Big Finish’s fifth Doctor stories, though I will admit that it benefits from not being The Kingmaker (okay, maybe I’m being a bit harsh there).