The Doctor and Lucie travel to 1984 to pay another visit to Lucie’s Aunty Pat, and Lucie discovers that Pat’s married to a former folk singer and running a secluded hotel – a marriage that Lucie’s never heard of before. Two other visitors to the hotel also catch the Doctor’s eye; Lucie tries to spy on them, and discovers that they’re Zygons – aliens who can shapeshift to resemble any human that they kidnap and put into their equipment… a fate that Pat’s husband Trevor has suffered, and a fate that now awaits Lucie. The duplicated Lucie tries to throw the Doctor off-course, but even with her interference, he soon discovers that Lucie’s Uncle Trevor is a Zygon warlord who has defected to Earth, taking with him the secrets needed to launch a terrifying new Zygon invasion. Trevor’s fellow Zygons want those secrets, and they’ll do anything, from exposing Trevor’s true identity to killing the human woman he has fallen in love with, to get them.
Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Steven Pacey (Trevor), Malcolm Stoddard (Urtak), Tim Brooke-Taylor (Mims), Lynsey Hardwick (Aunty Pat), Katarina Olsson (Grakus)
Notes: This is the first Big Finish audio appearance for the Zygons, who made their TV debut in the Tom Baker four-parter Terror Of The Zygons (which established the ground rules involving Zygon shape-shifting and the Zygon’s monstrous pet Skarasen creatures). Guest star Steven Pacey has had a long career on the musical stage in Britain, but he also has a science fiction pedigree as well, having starred as the impetuous Del Tarrant in the third and fourth seasons of the BBC space opera Blake’s 7.
Timeline: after Grand Theft Cosmos and before Sisters Of The Flame
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: Doctor Who doesn’t do too many stories of doomed love, but The Zygon Who Fell To Earth is a good one, with one of the best casts Big Finish has assembled for an eighth Doctor / Lucie story and an exciting pace that doesn’t let down the emotional turning points of the story. There’s also a humdinger of a twist at the end.
Steven Pacey is an inspired casting choice, though Blake’s 7 fans may have a hard time recognizing him through a heavy accent (the clear, clipped voice of Tarrant, it ain’t). When required, however, Pacey slips into the guttural rasping voice of a Zygon, effectively turning in two good performances for the price of one. The other big dual performance here is Sheridan Smith, playing both Lucie and “Zygon Lucie,” though the latter’s blatantly obvious out-of-character dialogue is perhaps the story’s sole letdown. Pacey gets a song in too – it’d be a disappointment if he didn’t – and increases the number of Blake’s 7 regulars who have appeared in Big Finish’s Doctor Who audios. (I think this leaves Jan Chappell, Josette Simon and Brian Croucher as the last surviving holdouts.)
The Zygon Who Fell To Earth also makes great use of the returning villains, sticking closely to their established traits and expanding upon them at the same time. They’re the perfect baddies to bring back here: if you’re going to have shapeshifters, why not make them Zygons when they fit the story so well? In this respect, the eighth Doctor / Lucie audios have really done well with their reuse of elements from Doctor Who’s past.
And the emotional story really does play out naturally, it does have consequences, and it does have a lot to do with the surprise at the end of the story – something which makes sense in the context of Lucie’s family background, and isn’t just thrown in for shock value. This really is one of the best eighth Doctor / Lucie audio episodes (a category that hasn’t really seen a lot of clunkers so far).