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Moonflesh was the one hundred and eighty-fifth story in Big Finish's monthly range. It was written by Mark Morris and featured Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor, Sarah Sutton as Nyssa and introduced Francesca Hunt as Hannah Bartholemew.

Publisher's summary[]

One wouldn't normally expect to find elephants, gorillas and rhinoceroses roaming free in Suffolk in the year 1911. One wouldn't normally expect to find an extra-dimensional police box at the same time/space location either. Two aliens, named the Doctor and Nyssa, exit said box, only to find themselves pursued by a hungry lioness – for they've landed in the private hunting grounds of the famous explorer Nathaniel Whitlock, who's brought together a motley group of friends and acquaintances for a weekend's shooting.

But one of Whitlock's guests isn't all they seem. One of them wants the secrets of the Moonflesh, the mystic mineral looked after by Whitlock's retainer, a Native American known as Silver Crow. Because the Moonflesh is reputed to have the power to call down spirits from another realm...

...and soon, the hunters will become the hunted.


Part one[]

The TARDIS brings the Doctor and Nyssa to the private hunting grounds of Nathaniel Whitlock, in Sussex, 1911. Confronted by a lioness, they are rescued by Whitlock's friend and retainer, Silver Crow, a Sioux bowman. Together, they join Whitlock, his daughter Phoebe, and fellow guests Hannah Bartholemew, Edwin Tremayne and his son Hector, at Whitlock's residence. Bartholemew and the Tremaynes have been invited to the estate for a weekend's shooting.

Bartholemew shows an unusual fascination with an item in Whitlock's collection - a red, crystalline rock. The Doctor implies it could be extra-terrestrial. Silver Crow calls it "moonflesh," and says it was given to him while in a trance, by the great spirit Wakan Tanka.

Later that night, Nyssa, the Doctor and Silver Crow are awakened by a cry coming from Bartholemew's room. They find her in thrall to a red, glowing ball of energy in corporeal form, which Silver Crow seems to recognise. Seemingly agitated, the energy being makes an attack.

Part two[]

Whitlock enters the room, firing upon the energy being, which retreats up the chimney. Whitlock is rattled and seems disbelieving at what has just occurred.

Alerted by the commotion, Hector checks on Phoebe. They witness the energy being outside Phoebe’s window, disappearing into the grounds.

Bartholemew admits to being a member of The Order of the Crescent Moon, a spiritual society that believes the Moonflesh to be a sacred gift from the spirit world. The Doctor deduces that it was Bartholemew’s attempt to scrape crystal samples from the rock that unleashed the energy being concealed within.

At first light a search party comprising the Doctor, Whitlock, Silver Crow, Bartholemew and the Tremaynes, ventures into the estate to search for the creature. A gorilla, controlled by the energy creature, attacks and wounds Edwin Tremayne. The gorilla is brought down by Whitlock and Hector, releasing the creature which escapes into the wilderness. The Doctor, accompanied by Silver Crow, returns to the TARDIS to analyse the crystal samples from the Moonflesh.

The Doctor’s analysis confirms the energy being to be an entity that has the ability to inhabit other objects and control host lifeforms. Silver Crow reveals his people may have encountered these creatures before, a legend hinting at how one was nearly defeated before being rescued by a storm.

Back at the house, Nyssa and Phoebe have become convinced something from outside is roaming around indoors. They encounter one of Whitlock’s dogs, possessed by the energy creature. The creature pursues them through the house and they barricade themselves in a room, but the creature starts to enter the room under the door, in the form of red mist.

En route back to the hunting party, the Doctor and Silver Crow witness what looks like a meteorite striking the earth. They observe a red mist rising from the crater, as more meteorites begin to rain down from above.

Part three[]

The hunting party succeeds in bringing the injured Tremayne back to the house, setting him up in the drawing room. He and Whitlock clash over Tremayne’s demands of immediate medical attention, while outside the meteorites continue to fall. Nyssa joins them as the Doctor arrives, imploring the Doctor to check on Phoebe at once. 

The energy creature has possessed Phoebe, putting her in a trance, but otherwise rendering her unharmed. Through Phoebe, the creature names itself Vatuus, informing the Doctor and Nyssa that the meteorites are are an assassination squad sent to destroy him.

While Hector, Silver Crow and Bartholemew attempt to fortify the house, the Doctor and Nyssa confront Whitlock with the fact that his daughter has been possessed by the Vatuus, who pleads for sanctuary from his assassins. 

The Doctor plans to rescue Vatuus using the TARDIS, and offers himself up as a vessel to transport him safely through the estate. The Doctor’s mind rejects the creature, so Nyssa offers up hers instead. 

Upstairs, Phoebe and Whitlock investigate strange scuttling sounds coming from Silver Crow's room. Phoebe sees something move under the bed, and Whitlock is attacked by screeching shadows.

Meanwhile, Tremayne has bribed Bartholemew to help him escape the estate in Whitlock’s carriage. Despite the screaming coming from upstairs, including from his own son, Tremayne insists they leave immediately.

On horseback, the Doctor, Silver Crow, and Vatuus, using Nyssa as a host, make it to the TARDIS safely, where the creature attempts to take full possession of the TARDIS. The Doctor, one step ahead, traps the entity in a conduit, but can’t prevent it escaping again using one of the horses outside.

The Doctor materialises the TARDIS back at the house. The Doctor intends to keep everyone safe in the TARDIS ... but instead they find Whitlock, Hector and Phoebe waiting for them, possessed by the other energy creatures.

Part four[]

The creatures say they mean the Doctor, Nyssa and Silver Crow no harm, and as a sign of good faith relinquish control over Hector and Phoebe. The creatures say they are trackers sent to locate Vatuus, a rogue element from their dimension, and that they intend to reabsorb him back into their Prime Cluster. If Vatuus isn’t located before midnight, an entire cluster of a billion energy creatures will descend on the earth. 

Bartholemew and Tremayne, making their escape through the grounds, are attacked by an elephant possessed by Vatuus. Tremayne is killed.

The Doctor deduces that while on the run, Vatuus was forced into the form of the Moonflesh rock by Silver Crow during the Ghost Dance, after Vatuus unsuccessfully tried to take over his mind.

The Doctor and Silver Crow perform the Ghost Dance ritual, hoping to find a way to render Vatuus dormant again, while Nyssa, Phoebe, Hector and Whitlock keep guard. Vatuus attacks in the form of the elephant, and when Whitlock brings the beast down, they realise Vatuus had already left the elephant and is possessing one of their group. 

Inside the dreamscape, the Doctor and Silver Crow locate another Moonflesh rock, housed in the eye of a water spirit. Returning to the real world with the new avatar, Silver Crow manages to draw Vatuus out of his new host, Whitlock, and trap him once again in the Moonflesh. Meanwhile, Bartholomew has mysteriously disappeared. 

Hector decides to stay on at Whitlock’s estate, and the Doctor and Nyssa prepare to return Vatuus to the Prime Cluster.




Textless cover art.

  • This story was recorded on 22 and 23 November 2012 at The Moat Studios.
  • This story was partly recorded on Doctor Who's 49th anniversary.
  • This story was originally recorded on CD and download.


External links[]