The Elysian Blade
Released February 7th 2019 by BBC Audio
When the second Doctor, Jamie and Victoria land on a distant planet and open the viewfinder of the TARDIS all they see is black. Jamie asks if they could have materialized inside of a wall and the Doctor explains that the TARDIS has a feature which causes it to materialize with the door facing outwards and that it is not supposed to do something of such. As it turns out they are in the basement of a building with no light as the room is sealed. They step out onto sand, inside of the basement and suddenly water starts to come in as they hear the sound of the rising tide. The door to the TARDIS slams shut as it protects itself from flooding and they are trapped. Due to Jamie's strength he is able to open the door and they escape via a stairwell. They emerge on an orange beach full of sandstone two story homes which appear to still be inhabited even with the rising tides, a nod to global warming and the rising seas in our own modern world.
On this beach where the majority of this adventure takes place, they are passed by hundreds of people whom appear to be blind and/or otherwise disabled. Then a black cloud forms and races directly towards them moving as if it is a life form. It sprinkles what appear to be tiny insects and each of them are bitten by one of these. The Doctor describes them as nanites, the same human invention that cured cancer on Earth many years ago.
Suddenly Jamie finds himself back in the Highlands in the middle of a portion of a war where there is a gunfight and his lead is killed. Shot to die bleeding in his arms. He is distraught and does not understand how he was transported him much less back in time. Vicki meanwhile finds herself at home with her father whom is supposed to be dead. Then they awake groggy to see the Doctor. The Doctor explains that they have been injected with a micro-dose of psychotropic hallucinogenic drugs.
A space ship arrives which the Doctor describes as a shuttle and out from it come Algos and Avriel whom are posing as doctors of the Elysian Fields traveling hospital. They offer the still drugged and hallucinating Vicki a chance to return to her father and she accepts saying that it was the only thing in life she ever wanted - to see her father again. The Doctor tells her not to enter the ship and it appears as if she would be able to avoid doing so as the fake doctors asked for money for service in advance. Vicki states that she does not use money and that the Doctor always seems to be able to take care of such matters. They then offer her a contract which she signs with a thumbprint, enters the ship and they cut her hand with the Elysian Blade known as the Blade of Longing. She spends time with her father and then exits the ship to return to the Doctor and Jamie. She then goes blind, and as they will discover she did not lose her eyesight but rather her sense of vision. The fake doctors Algos and Avriel are actually trader con artists when are preying on the ill in order to extract and sell their senses.
Jamie takes his own trip so to speak by accepting the Angel of Forgetting. He proceeds in order to learn more of the ship as he and the Doctor try to heal Vicki's vision. In what he describes as the most beautiful woman he has ever seen walking up and kissing him in the treatment room, his memory of the war and deaths at Highlands are erased. Yet is will always remember that kiss.
This story has a concept which is similar to that of the March 25th 2019 Big Finish Short Trips release Loud and Proud where human emotions are being harvested and sold, showing that anything can be a commodity.
This story by David Bishop is narrated / performed by Frazer Hines perhaps the most masterful actor ever to emulate the second Doctor. Frazer does a lot of work for Big Finish and his quality of performance here is just as amazing and polished on BBC Audio. We are all lucky to have Frazer Hines able to take us back to what feel like authentic second Doctor era stories, especially considering how many of them were lost / destroyed by the BBC. This is a fantastic story which would have likely been very expensive to produce as a TV set of episodes and to me it felt exactly like the late 1960's stories with a spot on portrayal of #2 by Frazer Hines. I will keep my eyes peeled for the next 2019 releases by BBC Audio coming out this November as this and The Winged Coven has shown BBC to be producing some totally outstanding quality audio adventures for Doctor Who in 2019.