The TARDIS arrives aboard a starship carring Prince Kylo of the Sorsha family to his wedding with Princess Aliona, a union that promises to end war between the Sorsha and the rival Gadarel families. Contact has been lost with the ship carrying the princess, and Kylo is en route with a full military rescue detail to find her. But the mission isn’t going well, and the Doctor is quickly suspected to be a saboteur. Before long, problems both technical and otherwise – including a captive beast who breaks free and manages to eliminate much of the crew – force Kylo’s ship down on the same planet where contact was lost with the princess’ entourage. A number of close calls with death convince the Doctor that the real saboteur is still at large, and even the miraculous recovery of Princess Aliona only serves to intensify those suspicions. The Prince, believing his betrothed to be dead, reveals his true power as a psychokinetic who can light fires with his mind, particularly when under great stress. When Aliona reveals the true reason for the royal wedding, Kylo will have tremendous difficulty keeping his fiery temper under control.
Cast: Peter Davison (The Doctor), Caroline Langrishe (Shira), George Rainsford (Prince Kylo), Clive Mantle (Tuvold), Dominic Rowan (Corwyn), Derek Hutchinson (Altus), Caroline Keiff (Riga), Tim Treolar (Tyron), Kirsty Besterman (Princess Aliona)
Timeline: This story takes place during the TV story Arc Of Infinity, occurring after the audio story Omega (which takes place in the same interval).
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: With The Burning Prince, Big Finish is taking yet another swipe at the “story arc pitting multiple Doctors against the same threat” format, an idea first attempted with the Excelis trilogy in 2001 (a tetralogy if one counts the accompanying Bernice Summerfield audio). Oddly, this story is placed within the interval between the end of Omega, a previous Big Finish audio story, and the Doctor resuming his televised travels with Nyssa and Tegan at the end of Arc Of Infinity. This gives us a companion-less fifth Doctor wandering into a situation that’s even more dangerous than he imagines at first.
The cast makes this one come alive, as there’s a whole saga already in progress here before the Doctor wanders into it (and arguably, the Doctor is unable to slow down the body count by the end of the tale – he’s almost the only one left standing). It’s an epic of warring kingdoms, a prince and princess in love (or so we’re told), and thick political intrigue, and to this story the Doctor adds little more than a voice of reason to whom few are prepared to listen. (Oh, and he gets accused of being the saboteur/assassin at nearly every turn, but surely he’s used to that by now.)
But, of course, The Burning Prince is but the first part of a Big Finish triptych, and as such it’s hard to judge on its own merits. The relentless action and jeopardy, and some fairly weighty betrayals at the story winds down, make it a suspenseful listen.