As the enjoyable-for-the-most-part Fourth Doctor Adventures Series Six draws to an end we are left with one final tale. A tale of a backwater planet whose inhabitants hold one of the many lost secrets that Gallifrey keeps quiet. It is a tale of lies and deception. It is a tale that appears to be more than what it seems, but knowing Doctor Who and how it usually works it probably isn’t. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my review of The Skin of the Sleek.
Marc Platt still manages to amaze me with the many twists and turns his stories take. I will say that this is another of those Gallifrey-lore based stories, and I wouldn’t blame you for rolling your eyes after reading that, even in the hands of Robert Shearman one of those could probably go wrong, but it doesn’t. The story slowly builds to the revelation that the actually really, really weird planet that the Doctor (Tom Baker) and Romana (Lalla Ward) have landed on has something to do with Gallifrey and then leaves you with a huge gut punch of a twist that’ll certainly make you want to buy The Thief Who Stole Time.
The characters of this story are all absolutely fantastic. In fact, I don’t think there’s a single one in this story that isn’t enjoyable. The supporting characters all have little problems they must face, possibly the most obvious example of this is Linnis’ (Alex Wyndham) subplot. Linnis goes through a bit of a mini-character arc with a tragic ending where he is exiled after failing in his lifelong task. The are other characters in this story, I won’t say who in this review at least, that you get to know really well and then you’re appalled to find out their true motives. Another thing I’d like to mention here is Marc Platt’s talent for leaving us on very character-driven cliffhangers, and this sets up what looks to be a very nice arc for Romana in The Thief Who Stole Time.
The acting here is phenomenal. Pretty much every actor is believable. The only actor who doesn’t seem to be giving his all in this story is Tom Baker himself. A problem that seems to keep resurfacing in the past couple reviews I’ve written seems to be that the actor playing the Doctor doesn’t seem to be as into what they’re doing as they usually are. However, lucky for us listeners Tom doesn’t know how to not act so it still comes across as a pretty decent performance.
In conclusion, this is a really nice setup for The Thief Who Stole Time and will end up having the listener hooked from start to finish. The characters are written beautifully and the performances from the actors are all outstanding while the plot itself takes many twists and turns and leaves you on a cliffhanger that’ll make you want more. While I can’t speak for The Thief Who Stole Time quite yet, The Skin of the Sleek is a release you won’t want to miss out on.
Doctor Who – The Fourth Doctor Adventures: The Skin of the Sleek is available to buy now on CD or Download from Big Finish for £10.99 and £8.99 respectively.