The Monsters of Gokroth

Posted in Audio by - April 19, 2019
The Monsters of Gokroth

Released April 2019

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

Few supporting characters came to life in the classic run of Doctor Who so instantly and dynamically as Jessica Martin’s Mags, the werewolf from Vulpana who feared her own transformations and whom the Doctor tried to teach to control her feral instincts at the Psychic Circus in ‘The Greatest Show in the Galaxy.’ As a more seasoned Seventh Doctor looks to tie up loose ends in Matt Fitton’s ‘The Monsters of Gokroth,’ he once more crosses paths with Mags on the planet of Gokroth ominously situated behind a broadcasted warning of the monsters on its surface.

The first three episodes of ‘The Monsters of Gokroth’ present Doctor Who at its most traditional, easily blending several monster genre tropes to craft an uneasy tension to the simmering mystery behind the village and its people who live in such fear of the monsters surrounding them. There’s nothing particularly new or revelatory here, but Jeremy Hitchen perfectly exudes the smarmy bravado of his showman Varron who is looking to exploit these fears to add to his own purse and collection of monsters for his traveling show. The warning about Gokroth serves as a beacon for him, and he is not above essentially holding the village hostage with his demands to employ his monster-capturing services that feature supremely advanced- if wholly unethical- technology. Naturally, this draws him into conflict with the Doctor who is more than willing to explore the creatures and help the villagers at no cost, but fear proves to be the strongest motivator as time continues to pass with little gain, and Varron quickly proves just how ruthless and efficient he can be with the creatures under his control when he stands to gain.

Varron is not the only prominent figure with questionable ethics on this world, however, as rumours swirl around the actions of the mysterious Doctor Maleeva within her castle situated high in the mountains. It’s her work on creatures of all sorts that has drawn Mags to Maleeva’s laboratory, looking at the possibility of changing her very being to eliminate the fear resulting from her increasing transformations, but the unkind visuals of successes and failures alike prove that the overabundant references to Doctor Frankenstein are more than apt. Gothic imagery pervades this world and its constituent parts, but just as the monsters themselves are seen to be anything but when a semblance of culture and communication is discovered, the stereotypical stylings of Maleeva are offered a suitable twist when she finally reveals her backstory to help stop the brutality of Varron’s techniques. Although the narrative flow is structured a bit strangely given how much the final episode upends the traditional and straightforward path of the preceding three, the context of Maleeva’s actions given her past association with other xenobiologists looking for fame shows that her actions on this world have been misconstrued and that there are more noble intentions residing beneath the grand gestures that have given her such a dark reputation.

The themes running throughout about identity and accepting the truths within add a nice element to ‘The Monsters of Gokroth,’ and Jessica Martin gives a wonderful performance as a woman trying to find her place in a universe that does not accept her while also not being allowed back home. She may not necessarily have been a character expected to make a return to the TARDIS after so long away, but her charisma and unique set of circumstances and outlook on life open the doors to many more fascinating and dramatic adventures now that the Doctor has returned and taken her under his wing. While ‘The Monsters of Gokroth’ is more of a traditional monster story despite some much-needed swerves, it’s a perfectly enjoyable reintroduction story for Mags filled with engaging and memorable characters and performances that capably sets the scene for what is to come.

  • Release Date: 4/2019
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