The Doctor brings Ace to a distant desert world called Duchamps 331 to look for a painting – Edvard Munch’s “Scream” – which he hears will be destroyed under mysterious circumstances. He hopes to rescue it from whatever fate awaits it, but a more serious event is already underway there. A murder has occurred on one of the planet’s refueling stations, and the dust seems to be coming to life. Ace is delighted to see an old friend there – Bev Tarrant, one of the survivors of the Doctor’s clash with the Daleks on Kar-Charrat – but the Doctor is more concerned when he autopsies the murder vicrim and finds no blood and no organs – only dust. In orbit, the patrons of a lavish spaceborne art gallery are unwittingly bringing an evil presence to Duchamps 331 to fulfill one of his most diabolical plans – a plan that can only be foiled by his arch enemy, the Doctor.
Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Caroline John (Madam Salvadori), Louise Falkner (Bev Tarrant), Mark Donovan (Klemp), Geoffrey Beevers (Mr. Seta), Johnson Willis (Damien Pierson), Ian Rickett (Guthrie), Gary Russell (Jay Binks), Jane Goddard (Maggie), Jez Fielder (Skredsvig), Alistair Lock (Albert Bootle)
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: After the bizarreness that was Loups-Garoux, Dust Breeding is a nice, palate-cleansing dose of old-school Doctor Who, sprinkled liberally with subtle continuity references to both televised and audio Who (the non-intrusive tips of the hat to The Keeper of Traken and City Of Death were rather nice), a star-studded cast (Caroline John, who played the third Doctor’s assistant Liz Shaw in the 1970 season, and her husband, Geoffrey Beevers, reprising a role he too once played in the TV series), and a refreshing lack of the “Doctor-has-it-all-worked-out-in-advance” trap into which far too many post-TV-series Doctor Who writers have fallen.
Though the seventh Doctor and Ace need to be the stars of this story (they had already battled the Krill in Tucker and Robert Perry’s novel Storm Harvest), this story is a nice dose of traditional Who storytelling that would’ve been a good ride for any of the Doctors – and the cliffhanger of part two is a joyous throwback straight from the Peter Davison era, though I won’t say more than that (the surprise was spoiled for me shortly before I listened to Dust Breeding, and it’s a great shocker). Very well done.