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Doctor Who BF 8/3.5: Wirrn Dawn

December 13th, 2009 (02:14 am)

I'd dipped into the third season of Big Finish's eighth Doctor and Lucie stories earlier this year with Hothouse, and hadn't been impressed with its pop star-ecowarrior turning immigrant labour into Krynoids plot or its execution. The season's next attempt at reviving a Tom Baker-era monster, I'm happy to report, was one I found more successful. The Doctor and Lucie are plunged instantly into peril in the middle of a space battle and are soon hazardously jetpacking down to the nearest planet, Wirrn snapping at their heels. Nicholas Briggs's script is sometimes too dependent on terminology introduced by Robert Holmes in the Wirrn's sole television outing, The Ark in Space, and I winced when this story seemed to go down a similar route to The Ark in Space, with the parasitised human ranting about "the survival of our species"; but, taking its inspiration from a line the transformed Noah had in that influential story, that "senseless herbivores were the hosts for our hatchings", Wirrn Dawn takes a different route and depicts the Wirrn taking desperate measures to restore relations with humanity to a lost era of symbiosis. Paul McGann's Doctor takes a detached view of the morality of the situation; the production takes advantage of the audio medium to play down the body horror and instead (Lucie's response aside) invites the listener to regard the change from human being to giant insect as a strangely beautiful metamorphosis.