Audio Review: Doctor Who: Serpent Crest 3: Aladdin Time

(AudioGo �10.20)

WHEN last we encountered the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and his housekeeper Mrs Wibbsey (Susan Jameson) they had been sucked into another dimension within the confines of the mysterious alien artefact known as the serpent egg…

This latest instalment begins with the legendary Scheherazade recounting one of her stories from the 1,001 Arabian Nights, a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales which she recounted to her husband the king to hold off her execution at his hands.

The story she tells is that of Aladdin, the young ragamuffin enlisted by a mighty wizard to seek out a magic lamp within caves full of treasure buried beneath the desert. But the boy stumbles across two strangers who have no place in the original tale…

The Doctor, Wibbsey and Aladdin soon realise they are caught up in a realm where myth and fantasy are very much part of reality, and only by finding the lost lamp can they ever hope to escape back to our world…

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Writer Paul Magrs continues to deliver the goods with this third part of the ongoing Serpent Crest narrative, and although it lacks some of the bite of the previous release, he has obvious fun playing with the preconceptions that surround Arabian mythology, and also injects a rare degree of emotional depth into Wibbsey.

Maintaining the level of quality which stands this five-part series head and shoulders above Hornet’s Nest and Demon Quest has been is no small feat, but Magrs looks to have learned from his past mistakes by focusing on telling an ongoing story split across separate releases rather than bite-sized chunks with only tenuous links to an over-reaching arc.

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It will be interesting to see where he takes things in the concluding two episodes, and whether he will actually manage to deliver a finale which is worth the build-up…

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