The Seventh Doctor, Mags and their old friend Ace face a classic monster in the latest Doctor Who audio, An Alien Werewolf in London.
I’ve really been enjoying this year’s season of Doctor Who audio adventures with the Seventh Doctor, as portrayed by Sylvester McCoy. The overall arc of all three stories has been his new companion Mags, whom he originally met in The Greatest Show in the Galaxy. From the planet Vulpana, she’s essentially the Doctor Who equivalent of a werewolf.
Unsurprisingly, this year’s trilogy of stories has been heavily focused on monsters. The Monsters of Gokroth had a strong influence from Frankenstein; The Moons of Vulpana was basically “Planet of the Werewolves”, and the final story An Alien Werewolf in London gives us…well, I’d rather not say. It’s not a huge spoiler, but with Mags in the story, it gives us a clash of monsters that every horror fan loved to imagine as a kid.
At the same time, while writer Alan Barnes plays the combination of monsters straight, he also adds in a few little twists and tweaks. He gives us a rather interesting society of monsters with a fleshed out backstory.
Even better is that, as the story goes on, you gradually start to find out that not everything here is as it seems. Who are the real villains of the piece? Is everything black and white this time? Are the Doctor and his friends going to pull of a successful rescue mission, or are things considerably more complicated than that?
A minor reunion?
On top of this, we also have the “return” of much-loved Seventh Doctor companion Ace. I say “return” because this is only in terms of the series’s chronology, not the production of the story. Sophie Aldred has been playing Ace at Big Finish for a long time. In fact, she was in the last audio season of Seventh Doctor audios as one of the main companions!
But Big Finish loves to jump around the timeline a lot with their Doctors. So while last year’s season featured her as a “current” companion, this year’s is set considerably later, sometime after she left the Doctor.
It’s not a major reunion for her and the Doctor, though. It definitely doesn’t feel as major as Sarah Jane meeting the Doctor for the first time in decades in School Reunion. No, with these two, you get the sense that, while they don’t travel any more, they do keep in touch on a regular basis, and their travels together ended relatively well. As such, the reunion isn’t a major part of the story.
London in the Nineties
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However, what is focused on is the time and location: London in the Nineties. Alan Barnes does a great job of making this story truly feel like it was made in London, and considering this is audio, that’s definitely impressive.
As someone who grew up in the Nineties, I especially appreciated all the Nineties references. Well, most of them. Some of the pop culture references were a little too much at times, but overall, they didn’t get in the way of the story. And I’d be lying if I said that an extremely direct reference to a song by Primal Scream didn’t put a huge smile on this writer’s face.
An Alien Werewolf in London brings this year’s trilogy of the Seventh Doctor and Mags to a satisfying close. It’s another fresh take on a monster story, and features plenty of surprises, while still staying true to the genre’s roots. A very entertaining story to listen to.
Will you be listening to An Alien Werewolf in London? Have you been enjoying this year’s Seventh Doctor trilogy with Mags? Would you like to hear more from the character? Let us know in the comments below.