I had high hopes for The Silurian Candidate, one of two Main Range audio releases this month, but sadly it was far too concerned with lampooning Donald Trump than it was telling a new or interesting story with the Silurians. Sadly that’s another 7th Doctor / Ace / Mel trilogy in the Main Range that just hasn’t worked, although at least this time the lead trio weren’t really the problem… let’s take a closer look…
The year is 2085, and planet Earth remains on the edge of a nuclear precipice. At any moment, either of two vast rival power blocs, to the West and the East, might unleash a torrent of missiles, bringing about the terrible certainty of Mutual Assured Destruction.
But there is another way – or so Professor Ruth Drexler believes. Hence her secret mission deep in Eastern bloc territory, to uncover a hidden city, never before glimpsed by human eyes: the Parliament of the Silurians, the lizard people who ruled the Earth before humankind.
There, she’ll encounter a time-travelling Doctor, who knows the Silurians well. A Doctor on a secret mission of his own.
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
Cast of Characters:
The Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) – The Doctor has suddenly remembered about the Silurians and how his Fifth self managed to narrowly prevent mass global nuclear war by killing them, so now he returns to just a year after that incident in an effort to put things right once again…
Ace (Sophie Aldred) – Ace, who’s going through a mental regression, and acting like her old younger self (complete with exclaiming “ace!” in excitement), is trying her best to fill Mel in on the fact that The Doctor isn’t always honest with them…
Mel (Bonnie Langford) – Mel is beginning to catch on to the fact that The Doctor can be a bit schemey and sly when it comes to… pretty much everything, but then realises she doesn’t really care and wants to learn Spanish. Hooray!
Professor Ruth Drexler (Fiona Sheehan) – Ruth believes that the world is doomed and the only way for humanity to survive is to take the leap into space. To do this she wants to get her hands on Silurian hibernation technology…
Chairman Bart Falco (Nicholas Asbury) – Oh look, it’s someone who is supposed to be like Donald Trump. You see, his hair isn’t real! Hahahaha… *sigh*
The Silurian Triad – Three Silurians who once ruled over the majority of the rest through their Parliament in the capital city now located in modern China. One is harsh and wishes to get rid of the humans, one is more understanding, and the other is the scientist.
Well, the story was poor, but the cover art is brilliant!
There are a few bits of interesting conversation between Mel and Ace, where Mel wonders if Ace has “gone too far” with The Doctor and is now as bad as he is, and so she wonders if she was brought back to help be their moral compass, but it of course goes nowhere… and Ace goes straight back to acting like her early TV self…
I do like the idea of a follow up to Warriors of the Deep, I didn’t need it to be this… dull. Instead of coming up with something new, or even replaying an old Silurian story type but with the Seventh Doctor and co., instead we get a bad political satire that’s about as clever and subtle as a brick to face. The actual Silurians barely do anything! They observe for the first two episodes, then interact with Mel for a bit, then appear at the very end to get defeated. It’s two episodes of the characters walking around a technically irrelevant Silurian city talking about the Silurians and the current (in relation to the story) political landscape before heading off to the poor Australian Donald Trump stuff and then it ends on a flat note. That’s not a good story!
Seriously, the first two episodes are pointless. Yes, they establish Ruth and what she does, but that’s it… and what she wants is irrelevant because the story soon becomes about something else. There are two scenes, TWO, of someone explaining the Silurians and their backstory. Just one would have been fine.
I think I was supposed to suspect Director Shen, the stereo-typical sounding Chinese leader opposite to Aussie Trump when she mysteriously goes to her ship, but not once did I think it was anyone else but “Chairman Falco”. It was like a red herring, but one that went wrong and only reinforced how obvious the actual reveal was…
Also there were some female androids that… well, then weren’t good or bad, really. Oh and Nicholas Briggs doing a bad French accent, which was… bad.
This is a direct sequel to Fifth Doctor TV story “Warriors of the Deep”, and the original TV story to feature Silurians, Third Doctor story “Doctor Who and the Silurians”, also gets a mention or two. Also Silurian Sixth Doctor audio story “Bloodtide” gets mentioned a few times, plus Mel mentions her and the Doctor’s adventures in Pompeii, which is a reference to audio story “The Fires of Vulcan”.
There were also several other allusions and mentions (I believe Ace mention’s The Doctor’s hiding of the Hand of Omega from TV Story “Remembrance of the Daleks”, though she gets the name wrong), but I’ve forgotten them. They weren’t relevant to the story, though… just thrown in there for the hell of it.
Not great! It feels like Matthew Elliott wrote a 2-part Donald Trump parody story, threw the Silurians in because the title “The Silurian Candidate” was funny and clever (which, to be fair, is sort of true… it made me laugh when I first read it, anyway…) and had to tack on two extra episodes suddenly. It’s… just not fun, the political “satire” is just so on-the-nose that it seems like it was written by an early teen or something, and the Silurians may as well have not been in it… Ah well.