After The Nightmare Fair Big Finish had the initial plan of adapting Waly K. Daly’s The Ultimate Evil in the second slot for the Lost Stories. It was an obvious choice as like The Nightmare Fair it was novelized and the original scripts exist and Big Finish did hold one of their copies. Sadly negotiations with Daly fell through so the adaptation of The Ultimate Evil fell through as he asked far too much money for the rights to use the one story. So the original plans of doing the original Season 23 with of course the exception of Yellow Fever and How to Cure It as Holmes never got far enough to create even a storyline before his death as a seven story season had to be changed. They would of course rely on Point of Entry and The Macros to fill in the gaps left, but they decided to then move Mission to Magnus up in the release schedule. This is really where the Lost Stories hype lost momentum for a bit as it was the only other story to be novelized.
Mission to Magnus’s plot sees the Doctor and Peri trapped by a bully of the Doctor’s, Anzor played by Malcolm Rennie, in the orbit of the planet Magnus. On Magnus there are five real plots going on. Yes Philip Martin writes in five plots into his story. First, Anzor is on the titular mission for the Time Lords to try and investigate if the inhabitants of Magnus are getting out of hand. Second, Sil, again played by the brilliant Nabil Shaban, is trying to establish trade relations which is wrong, because greed is evil you guys. Third, the young males who are treated as sex slaves for the female population of Magnus are trying to start a revolution, even though they are just children as they fear the sun. Fourth, the female inhabitants led by the Rana played by Maggie Steed, are trying their hardest to discover the secrets of time travel because men are pigs and women deserve to rule, or so they believe. Fifth and finally, the Ice Warriors who now in the fortieth century, are dying out from the collapsing Federation and are on Magnus trying to find a new home. Martin fails to flesh out any of these plots except for two. The third plot about the young boys trying to have the revolution is fleshed out as it is the one that the Doctor and Peri follow for the first part of the story and the final plot about the Ice Warriors as that was the gimmick of the story, the returning of the Ice Warriors.
The three other plots while full of quite a few good things especially the Doctor and Anzor’s banter and the Doctor cowering in fear from Anzor, as well as Sil as Nabil Shaban as Sil is always great, but it really fails in about everything else. A big complaint about the plot is how sexist it is and well it is sexist, but that is balanced out as everyone is discriminated against at one point. Anzor represents the old order of men being dominant while women are submissive while the Rana has that statistic flipped. Everyone discriminates and it really feels that Martin is trying to say that sexism is actually dead and is slowly flipping against men, but it really doesn’t come through in the story.
Colin Baker as the Doctor, Nicola Bryant as Peri and Nabil Shaban as Sil are all great here. Sil especially considering after Part One he has extremely little to do. The Ice Warriors also get to have a good presence in Part Two which is great as the Ice Warriors until this point were still very underrated and not seen since The Monster of Peladon when the story was going to be in production. Nicholas Briggs is great in the story doing the Ice Warrior voices as he always does a good job with the voices. People often complain about the child actors in this story and to be honest yes they are both really awkward and I am taking points off for that problem, but they aren’t the worst actors in Doctor Who. Maggie Steed is also great as the Rana. Really the acting in this story is top notch, it’s just the overstuffing of the story that really lets it down.
To summarize, Mission to Magnus has a lot going for it, but it is a definite step down from Vengeance on Varos and Mindwarp. It isn’t a bad story, but as the plot is extremely overstuffed completely and totally so that any message it was trying to convey is completely mixed up in the five total plots. Anzor is at least an interesting idea as it sees Colin Baker cowering in fear which is just entertaining. 65/100