The TARDIS, still apparently bleached white, arrives on the Alaskan coastline in the 1930s, and the Doctor, Hex, and Ace encounter an explorer named Corbin who is in possession of a large crystalline key… and what little remains of his mental faculties. Before long, they encounter another party of explorers – disturbingly well-armed explorers led by Emerson Whitcrag III, who has no qualms about sacrificing Corbin or the time traveling interlopers to gain entry to what he describes as a vault of ancient, forbidden secrets. Ace and the Doctor run afoul of Whitecrag’s vicious temper, and Hex believes he has seen his fellow TARDIS travelers die. Held hostage along with the wounded Corbin, Hex has no choice but to be the “guinea pig” for Whitecrag’s attempts to enter the icy structure – a structure whose built-in defenses have killed several men already. The Doctor and Ace survive Whitecrag’s attempt to kill them, but find a mental institute in close proximity, one where famed horror author C.P. Doveday is kept sequestered away from the rest of the world. Dr. Gabriel, who runs the institute and seems deeply concerned for Doveday’s well being, is very worried that Doveday may be upset by the new arrivals – particularly when Ace escapes the institute with Doveday in tow. The truth is finally revealed to the Doctor: impossibly powerful ancient beings with nearly godlike powers slumber in the icy citadel currently being explored by Whitecrag and a terrified Hex. And the man Ace has just helped escape knows their secrets, making him the most dangerous man alive.
Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Michael Brandon (C.P. Doveday), Kate Terence (Dr. Freya Gabriel), Stuart Milligan (Emerson Whytecrag III), Alex Lowe (Professor August Corbin), Sam Clemens (Slade), Duncan Wisbey (Captain Akins)
Timeline: after A Death In The Family and before Robophobia
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: Doctor Who has dabbled in Lovecraftian horror before, but never quite so literally. Lurkers At Sunlight’s Edge not only tells a story of ancient horrors inspired by the Lovecraft canon, but it includes Lovecraft himself by proxy, in the character of horror author C.P. Doveday. Even without the similarities in the names involved, Lurkers revels in wearing its Lovecraftiness on its sleeve, from the repeated utterances of a lost language (one which the Doctor forebodingly warns should no longer exist, tantalizingly tying the Karnas’koi in with the gods of the previous universe as catalogued in the Missing Adventures novel “Twilight Of The Gods” – which also ties things in with the next trilogy of audios focusing on the seventh Doctor, Hex and Ace) to the notion that to meddle in the creatures’ affairs is to invite madness or death.
The cast is in top form here, with Michael Brandon (former star of the cop show Dempsey & Makepeace alongside Blake’s 7 alumnus Glynis Barber) stealing the show as Doveday. Sophie Aldred and Philip Olivier get the lion’s share of the action and carry it off skillfully, though Aldred also has to carry most of the story’s emotional weight as well. They’re still one of my favorite TARDIS teams in audio form. Stuart Milligan – who had yet to be cast as President Nixon in TV Doctor Who at the time this story was recorded – is vicious as Whytecrag.
Capping off a strong trilogy of seventh Doctor stories, Lurkers is the kind of story that you wouldn’t be able to put down if it was a book.