Recap / Big Finish Doctor Who 044 Creatures Of Beauty

The Fifth Doctor and Nyssa arrive on the planet Veln, and Nyssa is promptly beaten up, arrested for murder, and interrogated.

The story unfolds entirely in Anachronic Order. It's revealed that the planet's atmosphere was completely ruined, four generations ago, by a race called the Koteem. The Veln are all grotesquely mutated by the resulting pollution, and see the Koteem as their mortal enemies, now shrouded in fearful legend. Only the Koteem, and those rich Velm who can affort reconstructive surgery, are able to look like The Beautiful Elite.

This got the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa into trouble as soon as they landed on the planet, following an unexpected crash in space (a few centuries earlier for the planet, a few minutes earlier for Team TARDIS) with an unexpected spaceship. The Doctor is really quite confused about the whole thing, and especially about being mistaken for an interstellar agent at first and for a Koteem soon afterwards. Mostly because he knows that Koteem are all (a) spider-shaped and (b) extinct. He quickly shuts up once he realises that the whole "extinct" thing hasn't happened yet.

As it turns out, the ship that the TARDIS crashed into was a Koteem waste disposal mission, and the crash caused the pollution to spread into the planet's atmosphere and mutate its inhabitants. The Koteem, wrecked with guilt over having accidentally committed slow-burn genocide, have decided to commit a species-wide Heroic Sacrifice. They plan to secretly merge their bodies with cooperative members of the Veln elite, granting them their own Koteem immune system and allowing the Veln to live on beyond this generation, at the expense of the entire Koteem population. When one of their experiments went wrong, the poor victim ran into Nyssa and killed herself out of fear, which is what got Nyssa arrested in the first place.

Once all the confusion is sorted out, the Doctor eventually just leaves, blissfully unaware of how the pollution was spilled and never realising that he's accidentally committed genocide.