The Spectre of Lanyon Moor was the ninth story in Big Finish's monthly range. It was written by Nicholas Pegg and featured Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor, Maggie Stables as Evelyn Smythe and Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.
It was the first Doctor Who audio story to feature the Brigadier and the first "official" meeting of the Sixth Doctor and the Brigadier 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. Baker and Courtney had also briefly appeared in-character, alongside each other in Dimensions in Time.
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.
The Sixth Doctor and Evelyn land the TARDIS on Lanyon Moor. Evelyn complains about the location. The Doctor tells her that he did not choose to land there, but that an external force is interfering with the TARDIS's orientation circuits. Evelyn sarcastically says that it is an ideal place for the Doctor to recover from his cold, as it is wet and foggy. Evelyn questions whether they are on Earth, and the Doctor confirms that they are.
The Doctor and Evelyn hike through the moor in a random direction. Before long, the Doctor spots a church tower, which they head towards. As they head down the bridle path towards the village, they hear the barking and growling of dogs. These dogs are accompanied by a cheerful woman. She greets the Doctor and Evelyn and asks if they are there to see the fogou. Evelyn expresses confusion, but the Doctor pretends that she is correct. The woman continues on her walk after directing them towards the village.
The Doctor and Evelyn discuss the fogou, which the Doctor identified as "an underground passage built by iron-age man," and notes that they are unique to the far-west of Cornwall. They come upon a fork in the path; Evelyn wants to continue towards the village for breakfast, but the Doctor convinces her to take a look at the fogou first. Evelyn sees a raised mound in the hill and asks the Doctor if that is the fogou, which he denies. He spots the entrance to the fogou and leads Evelyn towards it.
In the village, Mr Ludgate uses a machine to detect electrical signals coming from the top of the hill. Professor Morgan dismisses his findings and inquires after the Brigadier. Ludgate requests permission to take some equipment up the hill to see if he can make sense of the readings, to which Morgan agrees. Ludgate promises to be back in twenty minutes.
The Doctor and Evelyn are impressed by the architecture and craftsmanship of the fogou. They discuss Celtic culture and the misconception that Celts were a primitive society. The Doctor tells Evelyn that nobody knows why the fogous were built, but that they were likely used to store grain or as defensive stockades, or possibly for religious purposes. He suggests that he might travel back in time to find out for himself. He and Evelyn decide to take a look inside the fogou.
Professor Morgan is approached at work by the Brigadier, who has been staying in the village. Morgan asks him to help with classification paperwork, as they are incredibly short-staffed. The Brigadier agrees and is assigned to the task of sorting pottery shards. He inquires after Mrs Moynihan, who is walking the dogs.
The Doctor and Evelyn explore the fogou, which seems to extend back fifty or sixty feet. It is very dark and they only have one torch, but the Doctor assures Evelyn that the floor is level, although the ceiling is low in places. Evelyn calls the Doctor over, saying that she has found a fossil. On examining it in the torchlight, Evelyn dismisses it as an oddly shaped rock, but the Doctor tells her to hold onto it as it seems unusual. She asks him what is at the end of the tunnel, to which he tells her there is a secondary passage leading in another direction. Evelyn notices a humanoid figure drawn on the wall, which the Doctor theorizes represents an ancient protection deity. Evelyn points out that the figure has a tail.
Ludgate hears the Doctor and Evelyn in the fogou and tells them to come out, as it is not safe. The Doctor claims that it's perfectly safe, but Evelyn convinces him to exit the fogou regardless. Ludgate greets them, but the Doctor is quickly distracted by the electrical readings on Ludgate's equipment. Ludgate invites them to the Lanyon Moor Archaeological Institute, where he works. The Doctor and Evelyn agree and follow him to the institute. Evelyn seems to recognize the name Lanyon Moor, but can't remember where she knows it from.
The Brigadier finishes sorting the pottery shards, and Morgan tells him that he now has bits of metal for the Brigadier to look at. Mrs Moynihan returns from her walk with the dogs. Morgan requests a cup of coffee and tells Mrs Moynihan that she needs to keep the dogs outside, as they could damage the specimens. She tells him that someone is there to see him. Sir Archibald Flint enters the room and inquires after "the spectre of Lanyon Moor," by which he means the electrical signals that Ludgate keeps finding.
After a short discussion, Ludgate returns with Evelyn and the Doctor. He starts to introduce them to everyone, but the Doctor cuts him off when he recognizes the Brigadier. Although the Brigadier has not met this version of the Doctor before, he is able to recognize him immediately based on his greeting, unexpected arrival, and bizarre clothing. After introductions have been made, Sir Archibald excuses himself and leaves. Morgan dismisses their archaeological findings as uninteresting, but the Doctor is surprised to see what appears to be the bronze head of an axe among their specimens. Upon questioning Morgan, he learns that there were also charred bones found nearby the axe, which he requests to see. Morgan refuses, as the survey is already behind schedule.
The Doctor tells Morgan that something on the hill is emitting phased electric pulses, as seen on Ludgate's equipment. He also says that the bronze axehead is actually a fragment of molectic bonded dissilum, and that what is happening on the hill could turn out to be incredibly dangerous. He asks again to see the charred bones, but Morgan dismisses his words as "ridiculous poppycock" and tells Ludgate to escort him out. The Brigadier intervenes by explaining that the Doctor is a highly respected government employee and that he would like the Doctor's help in his current work. Morgan acquiesces, but is annoyed and threatens to file an official complaint if either the Brigadier or the Doctor interferes in his work.
Mrs Moynihan returns with coffee for the five of them. She is leaving on holiday that day and has just finished saying goodbye to her dogs, who are being looked after by a neighbor. She notices the rock that Evelyn had found in the fogou, commenting on it's unusual shape. They all briefly discuss her plans for vacation in Greece, then Mrs Moynihan leaves to catch her taxi. The Doctor asks Ludgate for the bone samples, which he leaves to get; the Doctor then asks the Brigadier what he is doing on Lanyon Moor. The Brigadier tells him that, officially, he is on holiday, but unofficially he is doing undercover surveillance for UNIT. He explains that Lanyon Moor used to be occupied by the Royal Navy, but that it had to be abandoned because something there scrambled all of their radar equipment. At the same time, there had been a lot of men 'losing their marbles' and wandering off through the moor, including one who walked off a cliff and died. At the time, the Navy simply abandoned the site, but there is renewed interest in it after one of the members of the archaeological survey had a mental breakdown inside the fogou. The Brigadier was sent by UNIT to keep an eye on it.
Just as the Doctor and the Brigadier finish discussing the history of the site, Ludgate returns with the other objects found near the bronze axehead. They send Evelyn to research local history and folklore at Archibald Flint's manor house, which has an extensive library. She hurries out to catch a lift in Mrs Moynihan's taxi. Ludgate returns to his normal work while the Doctor and the Brigadier begin their investigation.
Evelyn arrives at Archibald's manor and he shows her to the library. Evelyn compliments the architecture of the house. They arrive at the library and Archibald warns Evelyn that the bookcases may be dusty. He excuses himself to rest, but not before inviting her to join him for afternoon tea later on. He has only just left the room when Evelyn realizes that she hasn't asked him where the history books are in the library. She tries to ask him, but he has already vanished from the hallway. She finds the local history section on her own and begins to read.
Back at the institute, the Brigadier asks the Doctor if he's found anything. The Doctor claims to have found "irrefutable evidence of imps and goblins," which surprises the Brigadier. Morgan tells them both that those are just local legends to impress the tourists, and that another name for the fogou is Pixie's Hole. Although Morgan does not believe the legends, the Doctor decides to return to the fogou with the Brigadier because there's something he wants to look at.
to be added
- 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 Brigadier is doing a little bit of undercover work for UNIT.
- Morgan and Ludgate have signed the Official Secrets Act.
- Sir Archibald speaks about the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
- Doris is visiting the in-laws in Devon while the Brigadier investigates here.
- Evelyn phones her friend Gareth, who lectures in history at Oxford, to confirm her suspicions about where she'd previously heard Lanyon Moor.
- Edward Hopkins fought with the Royalists in the Civil War. He wrote a diary regarding his own encounter with Sancreda.
- Sir Percival Flint is one of Sir Archibald's ancestors, who controlled the tin mining in the area at the end of the 18th century.
- Sir Archibald thinks that Aleister Crowley was a prophet.
- Evelyn mentions Bromsgrove.
- The Doctor recognizes that they are on Earth because "nowhere else in the cosmos has the same October mornings."
- Mrs Moynihan asks if Evelyn and the Doctor walked all the way to the village from Tremaine, which Ludgate later notes to be five miles away.
- Mrs Moynihan claims that she plans to spend a week in Athens, then tour the isles, on her vacation to Greece.
- The Doctor once visited the Parthenon in Athens while it was being built.
- The Brig is staying at the Pengriffen Arms.
- Pengriffen Manor, Sir Archibald's home, was built in 1571. The architect was Sir John Arundell.
- Evelyn says Sir Archibald is starting to sound like Doctor Faustus.
- The Doctor has a metadimensional rheostat in his pocket.
- Sancreda's menantolian induction loop is made of menantol bisilicate.
Foods and beverages
- Evelyn asks for hot chocolate from Ludgate.
- 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. It is now available as a download only.
- 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.
- Lanyon Moor was mentioned once in The Tomorrow People audio series.
- Lanyon Moor, and the historical events of this story, are often referred to in the Lethbridge-Stewart range, since the Brigadier and his family grew up in the nearby village of Bledoe.
- This story is set between The Trial of a Time Lord and Time and the Rani.
- 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 (to Doris) 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.
- Talking with the Brigadier about how common tales of fairies and the like are in Britain, the Doctor reminds the Brigadier that they both know from experience that there can sometimes be truth in such tales. (TV: The Dæmons)
- Mention is made of archaeologists Sir Percival Flint (TV: The Dæmons) and Leamington-Smith. (TV: The Stones of Blood)
- The Shlangiian are mentioned. (PROSE: Original Sin)
- The Brigadier is familiar with Cornwall, in particular Pengriffen, having grown up near there in Bledoe. (PROSE: The Forgotten Son, The Bledoe Cadets and the Bald Man of Pengriffen)
- Official The Spectre of Lanyon Moor page at bigfinish.com
- DisContinuity for The Spectre of Lanyon Moor at Tetrapyriarbus - The DisContinuity Guide