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100 not out!,
This review is from: Doctor Who: 100 (Dr Who Big Finish) (Audio CD)
While Big Finish have produced a mass of specials and spin-off series, having reached the 100th release in their main range of original Doctor Who audio dramas is quite an achievement, and certainly one worth celebrating. The result of that celebration is this double CD set containing four seperate stories based around the number 100, all featuring Colin Baker's 6th Doctor alongside audio companion Evelyn Smythe. With four stories to go round one might suspect that including Davison, McCoy and McGann might be a more inclusive gesture, but some variety at least is achieved by dividing the tales between four of Big Finish's most important authors.
In Jacqueline Rayner's '100BC' the Doctor and Evelyn take a trip back to ancient Rome and find themselves unwittingly interfering in the birth of Julius Ceasar, with implications that may prove catastrophic for the timelines. The whole 'Doctor teaches companion how history cannot be altered' angle is very old hat by now, but the central premise is striking with a satisfyingly clever resolution. The clash between the Doctor and Evelyn is also the source of some good comedy between Baker and Maggie Stables.
Robert Shearman is undoubtedly Big Finish's greatest writer, so his return with 'My Own Private Wolfgang' should be the releases highlight, but this tale doesn't quite scale the dizzy hights of the authors best work. The idea, with a long-lived Mozart drifting from genius into mediocrity is inspired, but the sheer mass of multiple time-travelling Wolfgangs on display here ensure the story ends in a bewildering tangled ball of confusion. Shearman comments in the behind the scenes extras about wanting to ensure the story remained a comedy rather than drifting into more morbid territory, but to be honest a little darkness may have given this amusing but minor piece a little more impact.
Joseph Lidster's 'Bedtime Story' is a more moody tale, being a horror tale concerning a family curse where the birth of a new child signals the death of an earlier generation. Maggie Stables gets to have fun as an evil witch, but ultimately this variation on 'Sleeping Beauty' strays a little too far into the realms of melodrama, a problem that often afflicts Lidster's work.
Finally Paul Cornell's '100 Days of the Doctor' has the Doctor tracking down an assassin who has infected him with a slow-acting deadly virus. This story has it's moments of charm between the 6th Doctor and Evelyn, but it's ultimately a fairly hollow exercise in nostalgia, as the pair visit other Big Finish Doctors (and Bernice Summerfield) and wax lyrical about them.
'100' is a varied and interesting release, but it doesn't quite impress as much as it should. The situation isn't helped by the stories thunder having been stolen somewhat by 'Circular Time', a similar four x one-part story release which if anything was slightly superior.
Good, but not great.
3.5 out of 5
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Initial post: 1 Nov 2013 09:58:05 GMT
Timelord - 007 says:
Very very good review by this reviewer.
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