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The Fearmonger was the fifth story in Big Finish's monthly range. It was written by Jonathan Blum and featured Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor and Sophie Aldred as Ace.

It was also the first time the two actors had been back together playing these parts since 1993's Dimensions in Time. This story continues Ace's continuity developed in other mediums such as her surname where here, like in the Virgin New Adventures novel Set Piece, it is stated to be McShane.

Publisher's summary[]

One would-be assassin is in a mental ward. Another's on the run. Their intended victim is stirring up the mobs. Terrorists are planning a strike of their own. A talk-radio host is loving every minute of it. A Whitehall insider whispers about a mysterious UN operative, with a hidden agenda. Everyone's got someone they want to be afraid of. It'll only take a little push for the situation to erupt — and something is doing the pushing. But you can trust the Doctor to put things right. Can't you?


Part one[]

Stephen Keyser and Walter Jacobs attempt and fail to assassinate Sherilyn Harper, the head of the right-wing New Brittania political party; Keyser encounters something strange as he attempts to flee the scene. Days later, the Seventh Doctor and Ace already on the scene, investigating the situation, which has taken a turn for the weird. In so doing, the Doctor uses—abuses, really—the radio show of Mick Thompson, a talk show host and humourist. He’s trying to flush a monster into view, but Thompson is having none of it. Ace, meanwhile, is working with an old friend from Perivale, Paul Tanner, who is something of a hacker. He’s happy to see her, as she’s been missing for fifteen years, but not so thrilled at what he’s dragging her into.

With Paul’s help, Ace locates Walter, and through him, Keyser, who is now hospitalised. She and the Doctor attempt to enlist them to stop the monster, which they call the Fearmonger. It’s incorporeal, and parasitic, and it feeds on fear and related emotions; and it lives inside Harper. Walter, in fact, can hear it in the tones of Harper’s voice. However, his fear is too powerful, and is even directed toward the Doctor, about whom he has been warned; and Keyser is completely broken. Meanwhile, Harper has also been warned about the Doctor, via her PR consultant, Roderick Allingham. He is a former Ministry employee, and is familiar with the Doctor’s file, including his time with UNIT. He lays plans to bring the Doctor in, suspecting him of terrorist ties.

Walter attempts again to kill Harper, this time with a bomb at a rally, but the Doctor and Ace intervene and stop him.

Part two[]

They are forced to flee to avoid arrest, and return to Paul’s apartment, only to hear a broadcast message from Karadjic, the leader of a terrorist group called the United Front, announcing strikes against New Brittania. They discuss the Fearmonger, which is the real enemy here; and the Doctor builds a force field generator that can contain and destroy the monster without harming the host. They go to New Brittania headquarters to confront Harper, but are intercepted by Allingham, and allowed to escape. Back at Paul’s apartment, they discover the disembodied Fearmonger waiting for them; the Doctor tries to reason with it, but fails, and is forced to ground it out with a metal frying pan, temporarily delaying it. Using Walter, the Doctor arranges a meeting with the United Front, and attends with Ace; but Karadjic proves to be under the influence of the Fearmonger, and shoots Ace in the shoulder.

Part three[]

The Doctor persuades Karadjic to let them go, and gets Ace to a hospital. While there, he is confronted by the Fearmonger again, but it cannot harm him; his one fear—for Ace’s safety—has already happened.

Three weeks pass while Ace recovers, with the Doctor trying—mostly unsuccessfully—to slow down the United Front. At last he gets an opportunity to confront Harper again, during a live broadcast of Thompson’s show; but it does not go as planned, and Ace and Walter are revealed to be at the hospital. Worse, Ace hears something terrible: She hears the Fearmonger in the Doctor’s voice. The monster has jumped hosts. A mob is on its way to the hospital for Walter, and he and Ace are forced to flee.

Part four[]

They meet up with the Doctor and Thompson as the mob turns to a riot; the Doctor prods Thompson to attempt to take some control of the situation. Meanwhile, it’s revealed that Allingham himself has ties to the United Front, though he has been using the situation in New Brittania’s favour. He arrives onscene as Thompson interviews Karadjic, not realising that they are broadcasting live; and the entire house of cards tumbles down around Allingham. However, he has the decency to make it clear that Harper was unaware of the deal with the United Front. Karadjic and Allingham are arrested, and Walter is taken in for psychiatric treatment.

However, the Fearmonger is still at large. Ace sends Paul to obtain the bomb left behind by Walter, and places it near the range of the force field generator built by the Doctor. She then traps the Doctor in the field, and threatens to detonate the bomb if it doesn’t leave him, even though it would kill her as well. Slowly and gently, the Doctor persuades her to listen to his words, not his voice; and he makes her understand that the Fearmonger is not in him, nor in Harper, but in her—just as it was in Walter. This is why they are the ones who heard the voice—it was the Fearmonger working from inside, not outside. She turns the forcefield on herself, and the creature is destroyed.



The Doctor[]

  • The Doctor muses at one point that he is so old he fears nothing now, apart from the fear of Ace's death — which nearly happens when she is shot by Alexsandr Karadjic of the United Front.





Original cover art

  • The cover of The Fearmonger was the first to be designed by future Doctor Who Magazine editor and DVD cover designer Clayton Hickman. The "fist" motif was inspired by Tom Robinson's 1978 album Power in the Darkness.

DWM illustration by Lee Sullivan.


External links[]