This is the fifty first release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Colin Baker as Six and guests Katy Manning as Iris Wildthyme. There are 4 episodes, roughly 25-30 minutes each, complete with original theme music between each, and cliff hanger endings. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs, and a short booklet with some pictures of the cast and production notes.
Travelling alone after the events of Trial of a Time Lord, Six is looking for somewhere where he can relax for a bit, recover from his ordeal and reflect a little on the events. He winds up at Bianca's, a cabaret in 1930's Berlin. But his relaxation is soon shattered by the arrival of Iris Wildthyme, an old acquaintance of the Doctor's. There is something afoot, and it is not what you might expect in 1930's Berlin.
Released seemingly as a bit of light relief after the dark, marathon and complicated heavy going epic that was Zagreus, this is a real curate's egg of a story that has bits that work exceedingly well and bits that really don't.
The bits that work well are the framing device, the story unfolds as a series of tape recordings being played by one of the characters to a mysterious visitor, years after the events. Secondly is the idea of a broodier Six, with some of the bombast and ego knocked out of him and now with an edge of doubt and weariness. Colin Baker really does a superb job of portraying this slightly altered character, so affected by the confrontation with the Valyard.
The bits that don't work well are Iris Wildthyme (a shame, as the story revolves around her quite a lot) with her OTT drunken Northern lass persona. Katy Manning plays it well, but it's a badly conceived idea and doesn't really fit in well. I can see it's intended as light relief, but it annoys rather than amuses, and distracts from the exploration of Six's subdued personality. And the basic plot is not very interesting, the final twist being one that we have seen before, and not very long ago in terms of the Doctor's timeline. It lurches from feeling unoriginal to clunky and under explained.
All in all three stars for this story. Top marks for Baker and his new characterisation for Six, but the story is not worthy of his performance, and Iris is a real annoyance.