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Audio Drama Review
On the jungle planet Garros, Earth Forces Knight Commander-in-Chief Gregor Saraton and his team are hunting gigantic beasts – for sport. When the Doctor and Leela arrive on the scene, they are soon caught up in a web of intrigue where there is no clear friend or foe. What is Saraton’s vital connection with Earth’s Solar System’s Defence Shield? Why are the giant reptilian birds of Garros attacking? What terrible secret lurks deep within the trees? Before the truth can be revealed, a heavy price will be extracted and loyalties will be tested to the limit...
Another Fourth Doctor adventure, another coincidental similarity to The Day of the Doctor. In The Abandoned it was an escape route via a painting. Here it is the return of the Zygons. This is not the first time that these creatures have reappeared in licensed fiction since their television debut in Terror of the Zygons, but it is fitting that they should get a rematch with the Fourth Doctor, since they first appeared in his era.
However, writer / director Nicholas Briggs makes the curious decision to hold back the revelation of the monsters until quite some way into the drama. The reveal hardly comes as a surprise, though. Even if you had somehow managed to overlook the Zygon in the title and on the front cover illustration, sound designer Alistair Lock tips us off to their presence from the outset, with the familiar pulse of a Zygon homing signal and an authentic pastiche of Geoffrey Burgon’s incidental music from Terror. Despite the phoney secrecy, it is obvious that at least one of the guest characters is an alien in disguise. It did occur to me that the behaviour of one particular person might prove to be a red herring... but it was not to be. A double bluff by Mr Briggs?
There was one surprise, though. I was unaware that this was the season finale until after I had listened to it and heard the trailer for the upcoming Philip Hinchcliffe Presents box set. The story seems a little slight to be ending a series with, not being particularly earth-shattering or decisive – The Evil One or The Abandoned might have made for better conclusions on that score. The Doctor’s closing speech attempts to strike a note of finality, but it feels more like a tacked-on sentiment, a la the end of Survival, rather than the culmination of a master plan.
It’s good to hear from the Zygons again, though, and Tom Baker and Louise Jameson condemn injustice (against intelligent creatures and wild animals respectively) with their usual aplomb. Kudos also to Michael Maloney, who sounds completely different as the callous Gregor Saraton – unrecognisable, in fact – from other roles I have heard him in.
All in all, Zygon Hunt is undemanding entertainment, nothing more, nothing less.
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