The story is set in Kenya in 1950 during the time of the Mau Mau uprising. Not a particular moment in history that I am familiar with but as it isn’t instrumental in the plot of the story it didn’t detract from my enjoyment. The story revolves around a house in the jungle, they are cut of from civilisation and are under attack from a strange creature. The first strange thing is the discovery of a double jointed creature found near the house and being unable to speak is the first person to be blamed when something happens.
The character of Abraham is quite a strange one. He doesn’t say anything until Part four and nothing is really learnt about him. He is naked when he is found and it’s not until the flock cover him that we understand how important the character is. Abraham sacrifices himself to try and stop the control that the flock have had on him. The flock that have been heard throughout were trying to find Abraham because he is the host that they feed off. They are conducting a research about the Earth with perhaps the intention of invading. They in fact want to creature diseases so that they sell it to other civilisations that are involved in war. In the process they become wealthy.
The banter between the Doctor and Klein was enjoyable. There was a nice battle of morals as Klein tries to justify what she was doing in Colditz and what she was trying to do. She wants to set up a Fourth Reich which is ambitious. Even when Klein is on the verge of death, the Doctor still wants to help Klein and Klein is not thankful. Though the Doctor is quite willing to get in verbal attacks on Klein which I got the distinct feeling he was enjoying. But he is still willing to make sure that Klein survives being poisoned.
All the characters in this are very good and feel like they have come straight out of the 1950’s. Mrs O’Donnell made some comments that are a stark reminder how ignorant people were with their comments especially how they thought that Britain had a right to rule over others. They were gushing over Ann Bell in the extras but I had never heard of her before. That said she was very good and stood out as the matriarch of the group. Not being trusting of the Doctor and Joshua. My favourite character was actually Joshua Sembeke as played by Chuk Iwuji. I thought that he would make a very good companion for the Doctor but then the character turns in part four when it turns out he is actually working for the Mau Mau. He is angry at the way the British have treated the Mau Mau.
It’s not very often that I give credit to the music and sound effects in these stories which is something that I should start to redress but in this story I found the sound effects to be brilliant. The sound effects give the impression of being in the jungle. Richard Fox & Lauren Yason have contributed on countless stories but this time they have excelled.
Just Mrs O’Donnell is left at the end of the story. She is more sensitive than she has been after seeing Lucy attack Joshua before collapsing and dyeing. I had the feeling that this story was going to be Horror of Fang Rock on radio but thankfully Lane didn’t do that and decided to give her a change of heart. Despite what Klein has planned, the Doctor does an unusual thing and allow Klein to travel with him. I can only assume that this is reverse psychology. By spending some time with him, he can get Klein to change her ways and stop her plans for a Fourth Reich.
I’m developing a new found respect for the Seventh Doctor. After his series last year it’s great that the good stories have continued in this series. My concerns that I had about how Klein and the Doctor were going to work out disappeared after listening to this story. The next two stories are ones that I am looking forward to now. Andy Lane has written a superb story with great characters, a great setting and Lisa Bowerman directed her best story to date. A Thousand Tiny Wings is the perfect start to the new year.