Storm of the Sea Devils

Posted in Audio by - March 07, 2024
Storm of the Sea Devils

Released March 2024


The dynamic pairing of Harry Sullivan and Naomi Cross has already made a strong impact alongside the Seventh Doctor and as part of Kate Stewart’s UNIT, but David K Barnes and The Fourth Doctor Adventures with ‘Storm of the Sea Devils’ finally reveal their first chance encounter as the Calcutta branch of UNIT intercepts Harry on his vacation. A businessman who has cancelled the opening of his new hotel while local reports of devils continue to emerge has called for medical aid, but Harry is not the first doctor to arrive on site to offer his help.

Both the Silurians and the Sea Devils have a long history in Doctor Who, and their shared backstory of the world they long ago ruled now being populated and dominated by the human race is a fascinating one that brings with it significant moral questions and ramifications. Unfortunately, precisely because that backstory is so strong, it more or less forms the core foundation of most all of their appearances as the Doctor repeatedly tries to broker a tenuous peace between the mammalian and reptilian species while certain individuals’ aggressive actions threaten everything. True to form, a businessman looking to capture and sell Sea Devils fits that aggressive mould here, holding one member captive and doing everything in his power to find their base of operations and acquire more. It’s a fairly standard setup, accordingly, but the very visual setting of the Indian swamps and the empty hotel within help to create a unique and atmospheric spin on this familiar tale that works quite well as one human looks to impose his unscrupulous will on all around him.

While the story itself does somewhat lack in originality, however, the performances are uniformly strong. Eleanor Crooks, in particular, shines as Naomi is thrust into the spotlight after UNIT has kept her on the sidelines for so long. She’s extremely capable and self-assured, but on her first true mission she can’t help but feel a certain sense of trepidation and nerves, especially as she confronts a prehistoric race she never knew existed. Still, her strong moral compass is evident from the start, and the Doctor’s implicit trust in this woman he has just met proves crucial to his attempts to prove here that humanity as a whole has a sense of honour and respect that can form the foundation of a lasting bond across species. Crooks has already developed a strong chemistry with Christopher Naylor who again reprises his role as Harry Sullivan, and after having his UNIT cover story instantly demolished by the Doctor, Harry likewise showcases his moral fortitude and determination as he puts his medical skills to the test and tries to traverse the increasing dangers and tensions of the rapidly rising emotions around him. Harry has always been a brilliant companion, and Naylor continues to impress while adding further nuance to Harry’s beliefs and convictions.

Of course, Tom Baker is the undoubted star of this story, and his performance here presents something of an amalgamation of his television performances from throughout his tenure. His sheer delight at crossing paths with Harry once more is fantastic, and the obvious affection he develops for Naomi is a genuine highlight as he does his best to help defuse the horrific situation and to find a common ground as pure greed comes into direct conflict with honour and the need for revenge. Silas Carson is suitably evil and self-centred as Ramesh Kamal who has unleashed such dangers around him and who values his own self-preservation above all else, and Nicholas Briggs as Taurix and Tracey Childs as the captive Shorak do well to present a layered element to the Sea Devil response that strays far from what the Doctor describes as an abdication of duty that has seen the ancient race waiting for so long for humans to die out and leave the world to their predecessors once more.

‘Storm of the Sea Devils’ is a story high on emotions that perhaps has to play it quite safe given the Sea Devils’ presence and the necessary introduction of Naomi to the world of the Doctor, but it’s an extremely confident and stylish tale filled with strong performances and a brilliant setting that make for a very engaging listen from beginning to end and a suitably strong start to this new era of the Fourth Doctor’s adventures that will come to influence many more ranges in Big Finish’s ever-growing catalogue.

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