Nyssa has fallen critically ill, and the Doctor has brought her to her home world of Traken 3,000 years before her birth (and its destruction), desperate to find someone who specializes in Traken medicine. Unaccustomed to visitors, the Consuls of Traken are alarmed by the presence of the Doctor and Nyssa, but as with virtually every decision in this era of their recent history, they defer to the wisdom of the Source…only it seems to refuse to render a decision for them. The Doctor is told to leave and take Nyssa with him, dying or not. Unable to appeal to the Consuls, the Doctor takes his plea for help to Kwundaar, a telepathic being who has been trying to take over the Union of Traken for centuries. But Kwundaar’s price for saving Nyssa’s life is steep – the Doctor must give him the means to invade Traken and enslave its people. Still certain he can find a way to save Nyssa without allowing Kwundaar and his fanatical pirates to overrun Traken, the Doctor tries to play both sides against the middle, unaware that Kwundaar has forseen his actions – and has taken full advantage of them.
Cast: Peter Davison (The Doctor), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Stephen Greif (Kwundaar), Susan Penhaligon (Shayla), Ian Hallard (Sabian), Billy Miller (Captain Narthex), Romy Tennant (Lt. Anona), Marc Woolgar (Hyrca), Rita Davies (Janneus), Alistair Lock (Foster Etrayk)
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: A surprisingly good fifth Doctor-era story, Primeval had me worried that it would be a bit of fanboyish fluff, replete with continuity references to The Keeper Of Traken. To some extent, it’s exactly that, but not so much so that anyone not familiar with the continuty will be completely lost. If anything, it’s more closely tied to other Audio Adventures, referencing Land Of The Dead and Winter For The Adept (and, into the bargain, TV episodes Kinda and Time-Flight).
Stephen Grief, also known as the original (and vastly superior) Travis of Blake’s 7 fame, provides a chilling voice characterization of Kwundaar, which is possibly the worthiest opponent for the Doctor that the audio plays have yet produced. Not only does he soundly beat the Doctor for most of the story, it makes the Doctor look no less valiant for his continued attempts to figure out who Kwundaar is and how to get rid of him. There’s also a revelation that Kwundaar has alerted other dark immortals to the Doctor’s presence, and the Doctor even mentions that he’s met some of them and defeated them as well – and this does much to explain the presence of the vast forces faced by the Doctor two incarnations later in such stories as The Greatest Show In The Galaxy and The Curse Of Fenric. Nice touch, and not too fanboyish.
Overall, this somewhat surprising return to Traken is a welcome one, though I think that setting should now be laid to rest. Revisiting it once is enough. Revisiting some of this story’s characters, however, might be nice – specifically Captain Narthex.