The Doctor and Nyssa are trapped aboard the Rutan ship, which has been set to apply all available power to the task of leaving Earth. Engine overload is imminent, and the ship explodes with the time travelers aboard.
The Doctor awakens to find that, somewhat inexplicably, he’s still alive, and still in Stockbridge. The townsfolk consider him to be the local doctor, even though no one can remember how he got there or when he arrived. Nyssa is also still in Stockbridge, and no one remembers her arrival. Many of Stockbridge’s residents remember some of their most emotional or traumatic moments, though – time keeps repeating itself, and they keep reliving those events. Only Maxwell Edison, Stockbridge’s resident UFO enthusiast, realizes that anything is amiss. The Doctor is horrified when he discovers the identity of the beings who have trapped Stockbridge and its residents on repeat play.
Cast: Peter Davison (The Doctor), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Mark Williams (Maxwell Edison), Pam Ferris (Lizzie Corrigan), Roger Hammond (Harold Withers), Susan Brown (Alice Withers), Nick Brimble (Dudley Jackson), Abigail Hollick (Jane Potter), Barnaby Edwards (Vicar), Nicholas Briggs (Geoff)
Notes: UFO enthusiast Maxwell Edison first appeared in the Doctor Who Monthly comic “Stars Fell On Stockbridge”, appearing originally in issues 68 and 69 in 1982; he went on to appear in comic form with the eighth and tenth Doctors as well. In this, his first audio appearance, Max is played by actor Mark Williams, who would later appear on the revived Doctor Who TV series as Rory’s dad, Brian (The Power Of Three).
Timeline: between Castle Of Fear and Plague Of The Daleks
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: A disturbing little slice of mess-with-your-mind audio Who, The Eternal Summer is one of those stories that owes a little bit – well, maybe more than just a little bit – to the short-lived head-trip that was ITV’s Sapphire & Steel. This is also where, for Big Finish’s “Stockbridge trilogy”, the direct references to the town’s comic strip origins peak.
The constantly-relived scenarios of great emotional intensity are slightly reminiscent of another Davison audio, The Mind’s Eye, without necessarily feeling like a repeat (and in any case, The Eternal Summer occurs earlier in the fifth Doctor’s timeline than The Mind’s Eye).
A solid company of actors brings this one in for a landing, with Mark Williams a perfect choice as Maxwell Edison. The villains of the piece come across as truly sinister without some of the moustache-twirling that’s almost part of the job description for Doctor Who baddies. It all makes for one of Big Finish’s better mixes of surreal and relatable.