The Nightmare Fair was an adaptation of an unproduced Sixth Doctor story of the same name, which was originally intended for Season 23, but cancelled along with other planned stories when Doctor Who went on a production hiatus. It was the first story in the first series of The Lost Stories, produced by Big Finish Productions.
The TARDIS has been drawn to Blackpool in the year 1986, where the Doctor intends to investigate a dangerous space/time vortex... while enjoying some local attractions along the way. But an old enemy is watching from his base deep within the amusement park, a timeless being who craves revenge.
The Celestial Toymaker has returned. The game is on. And, should he lose, the Doctor will pay the ultimate forfeit...
The TARDIS falls through a time well, landing in modern-day Blackpool at an amusement fair. The Doctor and Peri, finding nothing else amiss, start to enjoy the fair's attractions. They are separated on an amusement ride; the Doctor's car is directed into the depths of the fair, while Peri encounters Kevin, a teenaged-boy looking for his brother who is missing but had last been seen at the fair weeks ago. The two are also eventually captured and brought to a prison where the Doctor has also been caged.
They discover their captor is the Celestial Toymaker, who has been stuck on Earth for several millennia, tricking a few unsuspecting humans into playing games with him and losing, become his perpetual servants. The Toymaker created the time well to bring the Doctor here, and added elements to the fair to help capture the Doctor. The Toymaker is on the verge of completing his "great work": an arcade game that feeds on the souls that lose to it, which then can generate powerful creatures with which the Toymaker plans to take over Earth. He is prepared to have the game mass-produced in America to complete his plan. The Doctor, who knows that the Time Lords do not fully know who or what the Toymaker is, learns that he is a powerful psychic being from another dimension where time moves much slower, giving him his seemingly immortality. Knowing that he cannot hurt the Toymaker physically, he works with Peri, Kevin, a Venusian engineer and a human android who is also one of the Toymaker's captives, to construct a device to disrupt the Toymaker's psychic field. The Doctor then traps him in a time field of his device that prevents the Toymaker from being able to control anyone outside of it and that will last forever. The other creatures captured by the Toymaker are freed, including Kevin's brother. The Doctor decides to return with Peri back to enjoy the fair a bit more.
- The Doctor – Colin Baker
- Peri Brown – Nicola Bryant
- The Celestial Toymaker - David Bailie
- Kevin - Matthew Noble
- Stefan - Andrew Fettes
- Woman - Louise Faulkner
- Shardlow/Attendant - William Whymper
- Yatsumoto/Truscott/Manager/Man - Toby Longworth
- Humandroid/Security Man/Geoff/Guard - Duncan Wisbey
- Peri suggests that the Doctor could have taken her to Disneyland, but he suggests that it needs another hundred years "to settle."
- The Toymaker operates outside of the Celestial Toyroom.
- The Toymaker can intensify the Time Vortex on occasion.
- The Toymaker refers to the Christmas Truce of 1914, where he says "During one of the Great Wars, they [the people of Earth] stopped fighting and played games."
- Truscott mentions Preston North End.
- This is actually the second audio adaptation of The Nightmare Fair (which was also adapted as a novelisation); in 2003 an unofficial adaptation, without any of the original cast, was produced for charity.
- Seven months before this audio was released, Big Finish Productions brought back the Celestial Toymaker in AUDIO: The Magic Mousetrap.
- As originally filmed, TV: Revelation of the Daleks, the final story of Season 22, ended with the Doctor telling Peri "All right, I'll take you to Blackpool." This reference was removed before broadcast, being replaced with a freeze-frame before the Doctor could name the intended destination, as the BBC had decided to take the series off the air for eighteen months. The reference to Blackpool would have originally led into The Nightmare Fair. Had it been produced, Michael Gough would have reprised his role as the title character from TV: The Celestial Toymaker.
- Doctor Who's audio series producer David Richardson briefed all the composers including Jamie Robertson to give the Lost Stories season an original but classic "80's Retro" feel.
- Robertsoton used various synths for the music soundtrack and sound design including an AKAI AX-80 and a Yamaha SY85.
- This audio drama was recorded on 9 and 10 March 2009.
- It was released on on 12 November 2009.
- Previously portrayed by Michael Gough in The Celestial Toymaker, the Celestial Toymaker is played by David Bailie (Taren Capel in The Robots of Death and Magic Bullet Productions' Kaldor City series).
- Interestingly, the Doctor would encounter the Toymaker's sister Hecuba in another Lost Stories adventure. (AUDIO: The Queen of Time)
- There is an old misconception Michael Gough was in fact still active when he declined to return, due to him appearing in Tim Burton's films Corpse Bride and Alice in Wonderland, both made before (2005) and after (2010) the story was produced. He had been retired since 1999, but appeared in those films as a favour to Burton, with them being roles requiring minimal dialogue.
- This story is set after Revelation of the Daleks.
- The First Doctor visited the Celestial Toyroom, the domain of the Celestial Toymaker, in the company of Steven Taylor and Dodo Chaplet. (TV: The Celestial Toymaker) He would later encounter the Toymaker again in Switzerland in 1926 during his seventh incarnation (AUDIO: The Magic Mousetrap) and Stockbridge during his eighth with Izzy Sinclair and Maxwell Edison, (COMIC: Endgame) before returning to the Toyroom in the company of Charlotte Pollard. (AUDIO: Solitaire)
- The Doctor recalls his encounters with Magnus Greel and the Peking Homunculus (TV: The Talons of Weng-Chiang, AUDIO: The Butcher of Brisbane) and his visit to Brighton during his fourth incarnation in the company of Romana and K9. (TV: The Leisure Hive)
- In the TARDIS wardrobe, Peri finds a sporran with a £5 note in it. The Doctor believes that it belonged to Jamie McCrimmon, noting that "He was always so careful with his cash."
- Peri is not surprised by the existence of androids. She previously met them on Androzani Minor. (TV: The Caves of Androzani)
- The Doctor tells Kevin that he knew a man who was always hitting things in Paris. (TV: City of Death)
- The Doctor refers to Romulus and Remus. (TV: The Twin Dilemma)
- The Toymaker refers to the 1914 Christmas Truce. The First and Twelfth Doctors were present at this event before their respective regenerations. (TV: Twice Upon a Time)