Three's a Crowd was the sixty-ninth story in Big Finish's monthly range. It was written by Colin Brake and featured Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor, Nicola Bryant as Peri Brown and Caroline Morris as Erimem.
It sits almost exactly in the middle of the run of stories featuring the former Pharaoh Erimem. Released in May 2005, it was the first audio written by Brake, who had authored several Doctor Who novels. It featured 1960s television regular Deborah Watling in a new role.
Crowd explores the Orwellian theme of individuality and conformity. Indeed it can be viewed as a pastiche of Nineteen Eighty-Four, in the same way that The Brain of Morbius is an homage to Frankenstein and Robot evokes King Kong.
A major subplot is of Erimem recovering from the unpleasant experiences of The Roof of the World. Indeed, the opening TARDIS interior scenes share some common beats with Tegan's opening scenes in both The Visitation and Mawdryn Undead as she struggled to deal with Mara encounters in the previous stories. Erimem's disquiet, however, isn't just mentioned in the opening episode and then forgotten; rather it's a comparatively more complex part of Crowd's narrative. It also reaches all the way back to The Eye of the Scorpion, and at last addresses the way in which Peri effectively forced Erimem into the TARDIS and onto an apparently unenthused Doctor.
As the title suggests, the story is in some ways about whether the Doctor and Erimem really want to travel together and Peri's struggle to stabilise them all into a coherent, three-person "TARDIS team". However, the title has a double meaning. It also refers to the people whom the Doctor and his friends meet. Made acutely agoraphobic by the rules of their society, it's intensely difficult for even two of them to physically meet. For them, three is very definitely a crowd.
On an almost lifeless planet in a remote star system, Earth Colony Phoenix is struggling to survive. The colonists, utterly dependent on transmat technology and unable to leave the security of their Habitat Domes, have developed severe agoraphobia... not to mention an inability to deal with visitors...
Something inhuman is stalking the colony...
...and it's hungry!
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- The Doctor - Peter Davison
- Peri Brown - Nicola Bryant
- Erimem - Caroline Morris
- Auntie - Deborah Watling
- General Makra'Thon - Richard Gauntlett
- Butler - Charles Pemberton
- Bellip - Lucy Beresford
- Vidler - Richard Unwin
- Laroq - Daniel Hogarth
- Khellian Queen - Sara Carver
- This audio drama was recorded on 26 January and 3 March 2005 at The Moat Studios.
- The sound effects used for the teleport are those previously used in Blake's 7.
- Behind the scenes footage of the production of this story was featured in episode 1x12 of Doctor Who Confidential.
- This story was originally released on CD and download. It is now available as a download only.
- The TARDIS' pool is still frozen over. (AUDIO: The Roof of the World)
- Since The Axis of Insanity, Erimem has received a TARDIS key and begun to wear it, as she says, "around her neck, as usual". It was a central plot point of Axis that she did not then have a TARDIS key.
- Peri refers to her mother. (AUDIO: The Reaping)
- Official Three's a Crowd page at bigfinish.com
- DisContinuity for Three's a Crowd at Tetrapyriarbus - The DisContinuity Guide