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Flip-Flop - There are two sides to every story
on 19 November 2012
This is the forty sixth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Sylvester McCoy as Seven and Bonnie Langford as Mel. There are four 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.
This release is an interesting experiment in story telling. It's the story of a planet threatened by the obsequious and downright horrible Slithergee. There is a choice, defend themselves against the alien invader, or parley for peace. Each choice leads to a very different future for the planet. The story sees Mel and the Doctor arrive in one future, and in the `negative' of that story, we see the alternative timeline where they arrive in the other future. It's all rather complicated, as we see the two timelines interweave through the presence of the Doctor and his Tardis, and we see mirror images of the two futures tangle together.
It's a play all about symmetry, and as such it doesn't matter which disc you listen to as each start and end at the same place. Indeed there is no real start and end to the story, you could go round and round forever.
In its attempt to be clever the story does run the danger of vanishing up its own fundament. It is just about saved by the committed performances of McCoy and Langford, and the creation of the Slithergee, a great alien species who could do with another appearance. It's a bit dull by the end of the second disc, as you already know the story, just from another perspective. However, these experiments have to be made, its part of the fun of such a long running science fiction series with time travel that you can create all sorts of interesting paradoxes and story telling devices. There are alsoa few references to Frank Capra's Wonderful Life in some of the character names. It's an interesting idea, reasonably well executed, but its very nature means it drags a little on the second disc. 3 stars.