Project: Lazarus

Doctor Who: Project LazarusThe Doctor returns to Norway, where he and Evelyn are eager to catch up with Cassie, who they left to fend for herself – away from other humans – after their horrific encounter with Nimrod, the Forge, and Project Twilight. The Doctor believes he has created a cure for the vampire virus that infected Cassie, and he even finds her soon enough – only to discover that she is now in Nimrod’s employ. Nimrod has been waiting close to Cassie, knowing that the Doctor would return to help her. Nimrod has obtained some top secret information regarding the Doctor, including UNIT records of his past regenerations – an ability Nimrod wants to study and harness for himself, even if it means forcing the Doctor to regenerate by torturing him. Evelyn, in the meantime, brings Cassie back to her senses and together they rescue the Doctor from Nimrod’s hideous experiment. As the three of them make a desperate dash to the TARDIS, which Nimrod has also brought to the Forge, Nimrod guns Cassie down…

Years later, in his seventh incarnation, the Doctor returns to the Forge, following telltale signs of dangerous disruption in the time vortex. He finds that the Forge is under attack by an alien race whose technology – and one of their travelers – has been stolen by Nimrod, who promptly dissected both the alien and his vehicle to uncover their secrets. The Doctor discovers something even more horrifying as well – his sixth self is still here, working for Nimrod, but with no sign of his TARDIS or Evelyn. The seventh Doctor is troubled by his inability to remember any of this, but when the aliens return in force, he may be in worse trouble than he thought when his sixth self is the first to die in the attack.

Order this CDwritten by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright
directed by Gary Russell
music by Andy Hardwick

Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Maggie Stables (Evelyn), Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Stephen Chance (Nimrod), Rosie Cavaliero (Cassie), Emma Collier (Oracle), Adam Woodroffe (Sgt. Frith), Ingrid Evans (Dr. Crumpton), Vidar Magnussen (Professor Harket)

Timeline: after Doctor Who and the Pirates and before Arrangements For War (Sixth Doctor); after The Harvest and before the 1996 TV movie (Seventh Doctor)

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green

Review: An interesting premise, to say the least, but we’ve already done the multiple-Doctors-against-a-common-foe gag (you may remember it; it was called Excelis). It’s interesting to follow up on Cassie, whose fate was left very much in the air at the end of Project Twilight, but to tell her whole story and wrap it up in just two episodes feels a bit rushed. The second half of Project Lazarus picks up the story with the seventh Doctor, and also unexpectedly brings back the sixth as well. It’s a mystery with some very interesting twists, and the seventh Doctor portions of the story do not feel rushed at two episodes. But ya know what? I wish the whole thing had been structured as a sixth Doctor story only, with the seventh Doctor’s arrival in part three coming without warning (as opposed to being announced on the cover artwork; speaking of which, what you see above is a special composite created for marketing purposes by Big Finish; the actual release was available in either a sixth Doctor or a seventh Doctor design only – but the composite was shown several months in advance of the story’s release).

Doctor Who: Project LazarusThere are tantalizing hints all the way through, however: Evelyn suffered a mild heart attack shortly before embarking on her time travels with the Doctor, and if he found out, she’s worried that he would leave her on Earth for her own safety. Very tantalizing – but you mean to tell me that Cyber-conversion, watching someone be killed by a malevolent imp on Lanyon Moor, chasing through the corridors of Gallifrey with the Daleks, her previous adventure involving the Forge, and her traumatic reaction to the events in Doctor Who and the Pirates somehow didn’t trigger another heart attack? As intriguing as it is – dropping a bit of a time bomb into her relationship with the Doctor – it seems like it’s obviously an afterthought, and perhaps not a well-thought-out one (and, given Evelyn’s age, perhaps a bit of a cliche as well). The seventh Doctor remembering that Evelyn never forgave him, “not even at the very end,” is another interesting hint.

A hint that struck me as perhaps a little less interesting is that Nimrod has once again escaped and is powering up another Forge complex to continue his ghastly experiments. I found it rather more interesting, at least on the implication level, that Nimrod apparently got hold of some top-secret UNIT files detailing the Doctor’s past regenerations – perhaps he’ll run up against UNIT and the Brigadier in the upcoming UNIT audio series. Whoever he faces off against next, Nimrod is a worthy enemy…but perhaps his next encounter with the Doctor should finish things off, given some of Project Lazarus‘ shortcomings. If nothing else, it’s a pretty daring experiment.