Hexagora, by Hazel Adair, Peter Ling and Paul Finch
The Lost Stories continue with an adventure that leaps from modern Australia to… um, Tudor-stylee not-quite-England, as Tegan goes in search of an old friend who has inexplicably gone missing. And, since Jacqueline Pearce and Dan Starkey are involved along the way, there’s bound to be some rum shenanigans to contend with…
Well, these Lost Stories were originally written in the 80s, and even though they’ve been updated and transformed for Big Finish they are still sometimes mired in that era. This works better for some plays than it does for others – The Elite, referencing Ender’s Game and fascistic tendencies in a time when Britain had gone to war over the Falklands and the Milksnatcher was rampant, would have been particularly interesting to watch on TV.
Hexagora, on the other hand, doesn’t fare quite so well and comes across as a much more generic Dr Who adventure, with the added burden of more than one Australian accent¹. The sudden change from Earth to a different world is jarring, and the explanation for this second world being faux-Tudor is sufficiently convoluted that it drew me out of the story for a moment. Not even
Servalan’s Ms Pearce’s dramatic demands for a new husband could pull me back in after that, and I started thinking about the other characters too.
Nyssa doesn’t have a lot to do here, except be noble and pretty, and sit on the very edges of a conspiracy (that eventually amounts to bugger all). Tegan has a lot more to do, but since much of that involves being disgusted over the way her fellow ‘Strine has been transformed into a giant insect and trying to climb over high gates in a short skirt, most of the actual plot is left to the Doctor. And the plot, unlike many of the earlier plays I’ve listened to, doesn’t really stretch out over four episodes.
I realise I’m probably not being very charitable here, but Hexagora is a big let-down after the high quality of The Elite. I can only hope that Children of Seth rescues this trilogy of plays.
¹Look, I don’t actually have anything against Australians. But, please! – everything in moderation!