Review – Big Finish Doctor Who #162: “Protect and Survive”
Protect and Survive is the beginning of the latest 7th Doctor Trilogy from Big Finish. Not only is this the start of a trilogy of adventures, but it answers the question, why there have been references to the TARDIS being White and then Black in various 7th Doctor Stories since #122 The Angel of Scutari. It also brings events to a head that started as far back as #23 Project: Twilight. I take that back this actually references events that happened in the 7th Doctor’s television episodes. This is not a series of stories for the faint of heart or the Big Finish Doctor Who uninitiated, as I said some of the threads in this overall story go back many years, and intertwine through many many stories. Admittedly some of the earlier stories are not needed to enjoy this trilogy, but if you have heard them all it has far more impact, which leads to a greater level of enjoyment.
If an attack with nuclear weapons is expected, you will hear the air attack warning. If you are not at home, but can get there within two minutes, do so. If you are in the open, take cover in the nearest building. If you cannot reach a building, lie flat on the ground and cover your head and your hands.
Arriving in the North of England in the late 1980s, Ace and Hex seek refuge at the home of Albert and Peggy Marsden… in the last few hours before the outbreak of World War Three.
Meanwhile, the Doctor is missing. Will there be anyone left for him to rescue, when the bombs begin to fall?
Written By: Jonathan Morris
Directed By: Ken Bentley
Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor)
Sophie Aldred (Ace)
Philip Olivier (Hex)
Ian Hogg (Albert)
Elizabeth Bennett (Peggy)
Peter Egan (Moloch/Announcer)
***** Minor Spoilers Ahead *****
Protect and Survive is what we have come to know as a Doctor Lite episode. It deals primarily with Ace and Hex being trapped in what at first they think is an alternate timeline/dimension Earth where World War III breaks out in 1988.
Ace and Hex find the home of a nice old couple (Albert & Peggy) that are preparing their basement to be a fallout shelter. There is a nuclear strike just a few miles off and all 4 hole up in the couple’s basement. It isn’t long before Peggy and Albert begin to suffer from Radiation sickness and eventually die. As Ace and Hex are preparing to bury the couple, there is a strange noise and time rolls back several days to when Ace and Hex showed up. It is at this point that Albert and Peggy explain that they are criminals that have been imprisoned in this pocket dimension that cycles through the same 2 weeks over and over again. They have been there for 100 years living the same 2 weeks of terror over and over. It doesn’t matter what they do, as soon as they both die the loop resets to just a few hours before the first nuclear attack.
Yeah, and that’s just the beginning of it, after that things start to get really twisted.
I really enjoyed Protect and Survive, it is a very dark and twisted prison that Ace and Hex find themselves trapped in with Peggy and Albert who are far more than they appear to be, and very deserving of their punishment. The Doctor has left Ace and Hex to their own devices and is working on his own project. We get a hint of what I like to call the Dark Doctor, which usually makes stories that little bit better. I have always enjoyed Big Finish’s work on Doctor Who, but with this trilogy it just seems to get better and better.