DW: The Creeping Death Review

DW The Creeping Death

We end our look at the third 10th Doctor Adventures set, and a mammoth two weeks of new Big Finish releases (though if you think it’s been bad now, wait until July!) with The Creeping Death. Set in early 50s during the very real Great Smog of London, though with a very unreal alien element, obviously! Let’s take a look…

Synopsis:

London, 1952, and a deadly smog envelops the capital.

But something even more dangerous – and alien – is hiding within the mists.

When the Doctor and Donna get lost in the fog, they find a motley group of Londoners trying to make their way home.

Very soon, the stakes are raised, as death creeps along fume-choked streets, and not everyone will make it out alive…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

The Doctor (David Tennant) – The Doctor is taking Donna to swinging 60s London, or so he thought. It turns out to be the very non-swinging 1952 Great Smog, and the smog is far more deadly than it should be…

Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) – Donna is excited to experience the summer of love and maybe “bag herself a Beatle”, but she is disappointed when the TARDIS lands them a good decade too early, and in immediate danger…

Ivy Clark (Lauren Cornelius) – Ivy Clark is an usherette at a local cinema who has just seen an entire cinema’s worth of people choke to death… she’s had better days at work.

Richard Cooper (Kieran Bew) – Richard is a mechanic who is secretly dating Terry, despite it being illegal. Still, getting caught as being gay would be better than choking to death of alien parasites, I guess!

Terry Hopkins (Theo Stevenson) – Terry is secretly seeing Richard, and is on his way to meet him when he bumps into a strange girl called Donna, well, strange, but not half as strange as some of the other things he’ll go on to see…

The Fumifugium (Helem Goldwyn) –   The Fumifugium are a race of parasitic specs that can be deadly if grouped together. They have been drawn to Earth, and to London, due to its polluted atmosphere being perfect for their needs…

Plus more!

The Good:

DW The Creeping Death Cover

I do like it when they add the guest cast to the cover. Helps sell the illusion more!

There is a lot to like about “The Creeping Death”, which is a weird sentence, but I think mostly its the cast of characters. Despite running shy of an hour, true to the time period of the show, it manages to establish Ivy, Richard and Terry as interesting characters who you care about. Instantly likeable and somewhat relatable, they mix well with The Doctor and Donna, who of course already mix so will with themselves.

Paracitic aliens living in a deadly fog is a good concept to run with for a Doctor Who story, nothing major (and I don’t know what possessed them to call the creatures “Fumifugium”) but it works well with the “must get to this location from this location, but the path is filled with danger” cliché. The finale at the Natural History Museum, which included the … Fumifugium… possessing the large dinosaur skeleton and chasing after everyone was a great laugh, especially Donna questioning how it roared with no lungs, which The Doctor simply replies “it’d take too long to explain, let’s go!” or something to that effect. I could easily picture the scene of the skeleton roaring being the final shot of the “Coming Soon” trailer that would have appeared at the end of the previous story, if it were televised.

While a few extra characters died during the story, the core trio of new characters survive and in fact head off to the seaside for a holiday, which The Doctor and Donna join in on. I don’t know why, but this was particularly nice to hear. I guess I really did end up liking the characters by the end of the story…

The Bad:

Not much to say. There was a posh actress who was obnoxious, but she was soon killed, so it wasn’t much of a downer.

The Continuity:

DW 10th Doc Ad Vol3 Cover

Wow, with the exception of the tower of London and some yellow fog to the left, you’ve never know this story was included!

Not much to say on this front. A few brief mentions of previous stories, but nothing beyond a one-sentence gag. Thematically it’s similar to a lot of stories, but only because “trapped in a hostile environment and have to make it to a safe place” is such a simple story structure!

Overall Thoughts:

The Creeping Death is a really good little story, full of fun characters, both new and old, and a simple but effective storyline based around survival. Add in a big finish (no pun intended!) and you’ve got a wholly satisfying story that may not bring anything new to the table, but what it does bring is of high quality, especially given the runtime.

5 Star Listen

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