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100: I especially like the dum tiddly um tum bit in the middle,
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This review is from: Doctor Who: 100 (Dr Who Big Finish) (Audio CD)
This is the one hundredth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Colin Baker as old Sixie, Maggie Stables as Evelyn and has guest appearances from John Sessions and Frank Finlay. Episodes are roughly 25-30 minutes each, complete with original theme music between each. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs, and a short booklet with some pictures of the cast and production notes. There are interviews with cast and crew at the end of each disc.
As with Circular time, this is a portmanteau of single episode stories, this time for Six and Evelyn and with the aim of celebrating the 100th release in the Big Finish main range. All of the stories involve the number 100 somewhere.
100 BC is, for me, not only the weakest story on the anthology, but one of the weakest stories that Big Finish have done with Colin Baker. Six and Evelyn arrive in Rome, 100 BC and promptly start interfering with the birth of a certain high profile, history changing Roman. Trying to blend serious thoughts on the nature of history and responsibility with a bawdy humour it trips over it's toga and falls right on it's face. Some people will love it, but I am afraid that most of the `funny' parts were a style of humour that I find cringemaking, and so I tend to skip through this episode. The resolution is a bit daft as well. Would the TARDIS, a ship from a totally alien technology and society REALLY measure time in terms of BC and AD? There is a nice moment where Six berates Evelyn for an attempted subterfuge, but apart from that there is nothing in this episode I like.
The other three on the other hand are superb. A private Wolfgang of my own is an almost perfect example of what a single episode of Who can do. An idea that is worthwhile but could never ever be extended to 3 or 4 episodes, it works perfectly. It's a neat story, with a lot of humour and a perfect resolution. The final line, and Baker's delivery, is a delight. This story had me entertained and laughing for the most of its run time, and it is clear that John Sessions had an absolute hoot as Mozart.
Bed time stories is another excellent piece, but on the other end of the scale. Dark, brooding, moody, this is almost a slice of gothic horror. It has bags of atmosphere and a really disturbing concept at its heart. And the ending - it struck a chill right into me. Perfectly acted, especially by Maggie Stables who gets to play an interesting take on Evelyn (`It's time for beddie byes...') and Colin Baker, it is really superb.
100 days of the Doctor is another entertaining piece, and is the most traditional celebratory story here. It's a neat double hander with Baker and Stables, which explores their relationship quite nicely. It's a story with some problems though - I feel that a trick was missed in having the other incarnations of the Doctor only present though the medium of narration and not actually featuring the actors. And occasionally it feels a bit too much like a commercial for other Big Finish ranges, with shout outs for the Unbound, UNIT and the New Eighth Doctor adventures. But for all that the end result is still a delightful piece with a thoroughly satisfying ending.
These discs also contain interviews with cast and crew. It seems a shame that John Sessions and Frank Finlay were not included, though the other actors still provide some good insights, especially Baker who speaks frankly but without any rancour about his time as the TV doctor. There is also some interesting insight into the way BF releases are planned and why this was the way they chose to celebrate 100 releases.
All in all, 1 terrible story, 2 superb ones and one middling to good. 4 stars all round. I think there will be something here for everyone, and it is a great way of celebrating an important milestone.