The Doctor brings the TARDIS to a landing at Blackpool in 1986, promising Peri a relaxing getaway for once. But other alien forces have different plans for Blackpool: the Celestial Toymaker is play-testing a new arcade game there, one which burns out the minds of those players who prove to be very good at it. The two time-travelers are separated, and the Toymaker intends to use Peri as a pawn to secure the Doctor’s cooperation in his scheme to take over the world.
Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri), David Bailie (Celestial Toymaker), Matthew Noble (Kevin), Andrew Fettes (Stefan), Louise Faulkner (Woman), William Whymper (Shardlow / Attendant), Toby Longworth (Yatsumoto/Truscott/Manager/Man), Duncan Wisbey (Humandroid/Security Man/Geoff/Guard)
Notes: This first entry in the Lost Stories range of sixth Doctor audios was originally written by former Doctor Who producer Graham Williams as the opening story of season 23; the last TV story of season 22, Revelation Of The Daleks, was actually intended to end with the Doctor promising to take Peri to Blackpool, as a lead-in to The Nightmare Fair. Of course, Doctor Who was taken off the air after season 22 by the then-controller of BBC1, Michael Grade, leading to one of the most controversial periods in the show’s history. The existing scripts for season 23 were scrapped and replaced by the Trial Of A Time Lord season. The Nightmare Fair joined two other abandoned season 23 scripts as novelizations, and was also adapted for audio as a charity fan-made project. David Bailie, who appeared in the classic Doctor Who story Robots Of Death, also plays the part of the Celestial Toymaker (originally played by the late Michael Gough) in the seventh Doctor audio story The Magic Mousetrap, as well as in a Companion Chronicles story featuring the eighth Doctor and Charley, Solitaire. The Nightmare Fair would have been a timely story in 1986, dealing with video games as a plot element, and several classic (if rather dated by 1986 standards) video game sounds are heard in the background of this story, most notably various Atari 2600 sound samples and, most prominently, the opening fanfare of Namco‘s Galaxian arcade game (1979). (The Doctor professes a liking for an even older game, Space Invaders, and who are we to argue?)
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green […]