Reunited with his old friends, theatre impresario Henry Gordon Jago and Professor George Litefoot, the sixth Doctor whisks them away in the TARDIS for a brief adventure, landing on the planet Venus in that world’s terraformed future. The Venusians – mostly women – who inhabit the second planet of the solar system are distant descendants of humanity, having fled ecological disaster on Earth. The Venusians are in turmoil, their chief scientist having died under mysterious circumstances. When her replacement continues her work, she too finds herself in the crosshairs of the Venusian Empress, Vulpina. The Doctor discovers that the future of the Venusian transplants from Earth is in peril, and offers his help, only to find that anyone who has discovered this secret is marked for death.
Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Christopher Benjamin (Henry Gordon Jago), Trevor Baxter (Professor George Litefoot), Juliet Aubrey (Vulpina), Catherine Harvey (Felina), Charlie Norfolk (Ursina), Hugh Ross (Vepaja)
Notes: “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” is revealed to be the musical inspiration for a Venusian lullabye (sung by the third Doctor to Aggedor in The Curse Of Peladon). The Doctor says that he learned Venusiain Aikido – a martial art that was a trademark of his third incarnation – toward the end of his second incarnation. A Venusian crystal pocketed by Jago becomes instrumental in the fifth Jago & Litefoot box set.
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: Though branded and presented as an hour-long Doctor Who story, it’s a coin toss as to whether Voyage To Venus is a Doctor Who story featuring Jago & Litefoot (who had starred in four box sets’ worth of their own TARDIS-less audio adventures by this point), or a Jago & Litefoot story featuring the Doctor. (Big Finish seems to sense this as well – the CD booklet and insert are reversible if you wish to put these CDs with your Jago & Litefoot box sets instead of your Doctor Who audio dramas.) It’s a delightful reunion with a perfect choice of “new Doctor” for the Victorian adventurers to meet (the subtler Peter Davison or Paul McGann, or the more mercurial Sylvester McCoy, might have been overpowered in attempting to share the “stage” with Jago & Litefoot). Of the surviving classic Doctors, only Colin Baker can manage the sheer bluster necessary to avoid being upstaged.
It’s hard to avoid mentally rendering the Venusian setting and guest characters in shades of of the obscure cheese-and-cheesecake-coated ’70s sci-fi series Star Maidens (or the sketch that lends its name to John Landis’ ’80s sci-fi spoof Amazon Women On The Moon), thanks to a somewhat similar setup (including the fact that the men of Venus live in servitude to the women and are finally consumed by them). The cast delivers the goods to make the fantastical tale as palatable as possible, but it’s a Doctor Who tale that barely has one foot planted on the ground – surely a fitting voyage for the Doctor’s boisterous temporary companions.