The Spectre of Lanyon Moor was the first Big Finish Productions Doctor Who audio story to feature Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart and the first 'official' meeting of the characters with the actors playing their characters. Nicholas Courtney had previously played the Brigadier in audio form in the two audio radio plays The Paradise of Death and The Ghosts of N-Space opposite Jon Pertwee and Elisabeth Sladen.
Publisher's summary Edit
Teaming up with his old friend, the Doctor realises that an ancient conflict is nearing its conclusion — and Lanyon Moor is set to be the final battleground.
In the distant past, an alien being is conducting a survey on Earth when his ship—and partner—are called back to the fleet. It’s an automatic recall program, and can’t be overridden. The alien races back to the ship, but is attacked along the way, and forced to defend himself—and the ship leaves without him. Frustrated, and blaming his partner, he swears revenge.
Eighteen thousand years later, the TARDIS wheezes to a stop in the middle of a marsh. The Sixth Doctor and Evelyn Smythe emerge, arguing good-naturedly over why they are here—the Doctor insisting they were forced off course—before heading for the nearest buildings in the nearby valley. They determine they are in Cornwall, and their first contact with humans confirms they are in the late twentieth century—near Evelyn’s home time, in fact.
They meet a Mrs. Moynihan, out walking her dogs; she is the housekeeper for a local figure of minor note, Sir Archibald Flint. They also view a nearby fogou, a subterranean passage of Celtic origin, the like of which only exists in Cornwall. It sits near a tumulus, a stone age burial mound. Evelyn picks up a souvenir, a small stone of odd shape; then they are intercepted by Philip Ludgate, an archaeology student. He is using electrical equipment to take readings in the area; and the Doctor notices that the readings are oddly high. Ludgate takes them to his base of operations, the Lanyon Moor Archaeological Institute, which is located in Flint’s gameskeeper’s lodge. Evelyn finds the name familiar.
At the lodge, they meet the very traditional lead archaeologist, Professor Morgan, who is mildly antagonistic toward Ludgate, and more so toward the Doctor. They also meet Flint, who is the patron and benefactor of the enterprise, but not an archaeologist himself. One more guest is also apparent, and he comes as a welcome surprise to the Doctor; it is an old friend, Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, formerly of UNIT, now retired.
Over Morgan’s objections, the Brigadier takes the Doctor on to assist him, and admits that he is doing a bit of clandestine contract work for UNIT; he is investigating a history of odd occurrences on Lanyon Moor, which infringe on UNIT’s work in the area. He also mentions his wife, Doris, whom the Doctor has not yet met, and who is on vacation with family in Devon. Mrs. Moynihan excuses herself and leaves, ostensibly for a long vacation in Greece; this was her departure date prior to meeting the Doctor. The Doctor and the Brigadier go out to examine the fogou again, sending Evelyn to conduct some historical research in Flint’s library. Evelyn is warmly received, and quickly completes her overview. As she leaves, Flint and an unknown visitor conclude that she is too inquisitive, and must be dealt with. On the path back to the institute, Evelyn meets a hiker named Nikki; they begin to talk, but are cut short. A small creature leaps out of the fog, and attacks, killing Nikki. It flees when confronting Evelyn, however.
Ludgate finds Evelyn and gets her back to the instituted to rest. The Doctor and the Brigadier return as well, having discussed the local history of myths about imps and goblins, and the history of strange happenings. In the morning, the trio compare notes; the Doctor confirms that the imp on the path was unable to attack her due to the stone she carried, taken from the fogou. Morgan interferes, causing the Doctor to lash out at him; Evelyn agrees to rest, but only if the Doctor apologises. He does so, and enlists Morgan’s help, and then leaves to get equipment from the TARDIS. The TARDIS, however, is gone.
Ludgate and Evelyn conspire to break back into the mansion and investigate, as Evelyn believes something strange is happening there. Inside, they find a hidden lab full of equipment…and Flint catches her there, and locks her up.
The Doctor improvises a piece of equipment to track the alien energy readings. He concludes that the creature is dormant, but still aware, and can jam the signal; to overcome this, the Doctor will have to link his mind to the signal, which could be dangerous. He has the Brigadier switch on the machine, and warns him to leave it on no matter how much pain the Doctor appears to be in.
Flint tells Evelyn a bit of his plan to locate and use the powers on the moor; then he sets up a machine to destroy her eyes, as her eyes led her here. Before he can do it, however, the Brigadier switches on the Doctor’s machine, causing an outburst of power; as that power is also linked to Flint’s machine, the resulting feedback destroys Flint’s machine. He locks her in a study instead. As power lashes the institute, the Brigadier is forced to disobey and shut off the machine. The Doctor recovers, and reveals that he felt a second psychic field…in Greece. It seems Mrs. Moynihan is in on the plot. As it turns out, she has gone to recover an alien artefact, traded off by the Celts long ago and now residing in a museum in Athens. The Doctor and the Brigadier head for a nearby UNIT facility to obtain help in stopping her.
It is too late. She recovers the artefact and hops a plane to return home, bypassing the larger—and more secure—airports for a smaller one. The Doctor, meanwhile, has deduced the alien’s identity; it is a Tregannon, a very long-lived and hostile species which has the ability to use mental energy for many purposes. It even has the ability to discorporate into energy—its dormant form—and return, assuming it has a technological focus. The device that Mrs. Moynihan has retrieved will give it that focus, allowing it to return in the flesh. Evelyn breaks out by smashing—to her chagrin—a priceless old stained-glass window. However, she is intercepted by Ludgate, who forces her back to the manor. Flint locks her in the cellar this time, and reveals that Ludgate has been working with him.
Mrs. Moynihan arrives, causing the death of a soldier en route. She has fallen in with the Tregannon, Sancreda, as a means of restoring her honour and getting respect after her husband left her, and is quite blinded to anything else that may come of it. She places the device on the tumulus…and Sancreda is restored to life.
Sancreda examines the device, and determines that a component—the induction loop—is missing from it; Mrs. Moynihan identifies it as the stone that Evelyn is carrying. She goes to get it. The Doctor has recognised it as well, and realised the connection, and determines to use it as a bargaining tool Meanwhile, UNIT has detected Sancreda’s Tregannon ship entering the solar system. The ship blinds UNIT’s satellite surveillance in the area.
Moynihan intercepts the Doctor and returns him to the institute, where the Brigadier waits; Morgan has gone to find Evelyn. Meanwhile, Sancreda arrives at the manor and kills Ludgate. Flint confronts him, thinking he can control him, but Sancreda kills him as well, and destroys the laboratory. Morgan arrives thereafter and frees Evelyn and takes her back to the institute to get the induction loop. A confrontation ensues, and Morgan is revealed to be Sancreda; the real Morgan was killed immediately after Sancreda arose from the tumulus. Sancreda causes Moynihan’s dogs to kill her, leaving only the Brigadier, the Doctor, Evelyn, and himself. He takes the three of them, with the induction loop, to meet his ship on the moor, and reveals he plans to punish his old partner—his brother Scryfan--for leaving him behind.
Sancreda finds that the ship is empty. The Doctor reveals the truth: Scryfan had long ago come out of the ship to help Sancreda, and was killed by Sancreda’s errant firing of his weapon. He has been dead for eighteen thousand years. Sancreda decides to use the ship’s psychic weapons to take revenge on Earth instead, and forces the trio out. However, as the ship rises into the sky, it explodes. The Brigadier reveals that while Sancreda was enraged—and distracted—he switched the focusing device for a roll of wire from the Doctor’s pocket. This caused the ship’s weapon to discharge inside the hull rather than outside, destroying the ship.
With the threat neutralised, the TARDIS rematerialises—it had vanished at the prompt of one of its security systems. The Doctor, the Brigadier, and Evelyn take this opportunity for a well-deserved break, a meal at a pub, and talk of old times.
- The Doctor - Colin Baker
- Dr. Evelyn Smythe - Maggie Stables
- The Brigadier - Nicholas Courtney
- Mrs. Moynihan - Susan Jameson
- Philip Ludgate/Scryfan - Barnaby Edwards
- Professor Morgan/Sancreda/UNIT Sentry - Toby Longworth
- Sir Archibald Flint - James Bolam
- Nikki Hunter/Pelagia Stamatis/Corporal Croft - Helen Goldwyn
- Captain Ashforde - Nicholas Pegg
The Doctor Edit
- The Brigadier recognises the Doctor by how outrageously he is dressed and the manner in which the Doctor greets him.
- The poem quoted by the Doctor is The Fairies by William Allingham.
Human organisations Edit
- The Brigadier is doing a little bit of undercover work for UNIT.
- The Doctor once visited the Parthenon in Athens while it was being built.
- The Doctor has a metadimensional rheostat in his pocket.
- Sancreda's menantolian induction loop is made of menantol bisilicate.
- This is Nicholas Courtney's first appearance as the Brigadier in a Big Finish Productions audio drama. He had previously appeared as Wolsey the cat in AUDIO: Oh No It Isn't!. He returned to again to play the character of the Brigadier alongside the Eighth Doctor in Minuet in Hell and Zagreus, and solo in U.N.I.T. and Old Soldiers.
- This is however the second story to feature actors Colin Baker and Nicholas Courtney together, the first being NOTVALID: Dimensions in Time.
- This story was featured in Doctor Who Magazine issue 292 with an illustration by Lee Sullivan.
- This story was originally released on both CD and cassette.
- The moorland picture used on the background on the CD cover, which also appears reversed and substantially tinted on the cover of Red Dawn, is a photograph of Dartmoor in Devon. The rocky outcrop just visible on the horizon beside the Brigadier's cap is Hound Tor, the location used for The Sontaran Experiment.
- This audio drama was recorded on 5 and 6 February 2000 at The Moat Studios.
- The Brigadier mentions that the TARDIS became invisible another time before. (TV:The Invasion)
- From the Doctor's perspective, this is the first time that he has met the Brigadier during his sixth incarnation; however, the Brigadier met the Sixth Doctor for the first time in 1989. (PROSE: Business Unusual)
- The Doctor finds out that the Brigadier is married for the first time in this story. He had previously learned this for the first time in PROSE: The King of Terror and would learn this for the first time again in TV: Battlefield.
- The Brigadier is still doing occasional UNIT undercover work, as he continues to do in AUDIO: The Wasting.
- Mention is made of archaeologists Sir Percival Flint (TV: The Dæmons) and Leamington-Smith (TV: The Stones of Blood).
- The Shlangiian (PROSE: Original Sin) are mentioned.
- Official The Spectre of Lanyon Moor page at bigfinish.com; note that it is out of print and is available as download only.
- DisContinuity for The Spectre of Lanyon Moor at Tetrapyriarbus - The DisContinuity Guide