The TARDIS lands the Doctor and Flip in a frozen wasteland near a hut containing a transmat pad and related equipment, where they meet Roger Buchman and his daughter, nicknamed Toasty. Flip is surprised to learn that this is Earth, Scotland to be precise, during a future ice age. Buchman and Toasty bring the time travelers back to their home, an isolated settlement near Loch Lomond. Decades after humanity took refuge aboard Nerva Beacon, Earth is being resettled by its heartiest occupants. But something is wrong: the Buchmans’ son has been missing for years, though memories of his disappearance (or death) cause wildly different reactions among the surviving family members. When the Doctor realizes that the Wirrn are still trying to overrun humanity, reaching the transmat hut becomes a priority, and Flip volunteers to pilot and ultralight plane to go there and make the necessary repairs, against the Doctor’s better judgement. Not only does her flight end prematurely, but she also discovers that everything she and the Doctor have heard about the fate of the Buchmans’ son is wrong.
Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Lisa Greenwood (Flip), Tim Bentinck (Roger Buchman), Jenny Funnell (Veronica Buchman), Tessa Nicholson (Toasty Buchman), Rikki Lawton (Iron), Dan Starkey (Sheer Jawn), Helen Goldwyn (Dare), Glynn Sweet (Paul Dessay)
Notes: This story takes place 40 years after The Ark In Space, the Doctor’s previous bruch with the Wirrn. The apparent capitol of the resettled Earth is named Nerva City in honor of Nerva Beacon, the space station in which humanity rode out a period of intense solar flares and fought off an attempted Wirrn invasion.
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: The Ark In Space is one of those stories that so much of Doctor Who fandom holds as sacrosanct that any attempt to follow up on it had better be a pretty good story in its own right. Wirrn Isle is no Ark In Space, but it may well edge out the original Wirrn tale in terms of its characters. Ark‘s highly evolved human crew, to put it mildly, was stiff; it took being infected by Wirrn larvae for one of them (Noah) to start showing any kind of identifiable characterization. Wirrn Isle deals with a deeply flawed human family with plenty of secrets, any one of which could shatter the domestic status quo: the Wirrn are almost the least of the Buchmans’ problems.
But the Wirrn are a problem, and here they have a human host/leader at least as terrifying as Noah, simply because the new host has the maturity and drive of a human teenager. Wirrn Isle starts out as a base-under-siege story and the canvas quickly widens to make it apparent that the Wirrn are once again making a play for the human race in its entirety – only now, that concept is dramatized in terms of relatable characters rather than a space station full of uniformed perfect people who make 24th century Starfleet look footloose and fancy free. It’s a worthwhile listen, though maddeningly, we’re no closer to why Flip feels the need to endanger herself at virtually every opportunity.