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Red: Made me see rrrrrred
on 18 February 2013
This is the eighty fifth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Sylvester McCoy as Seven, Bonnie Langford as Mel and Sandi Toksvig as the would be hedonist Vi Yulquen. There are 4 episodes, roughly 30-35 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.
Seven and Mel arrive in a society where everyone has a chip in their heads, controlled by a computer that removes their criminal impulses and creates a perfect society. So why are people being murdered? And why does no one know about it?
I have to confess that, despite popular opinion, I was underwhelmed by this story. The set up feels a little over familiar, The Doctor and Mel land in a towerblock where strange things are happening (a-la Paradise Towers), and other ideas feel recycled, for example the menace being locked in a mind and jumping from person to person was used very recently in Something Inside and the Doctor battling a supercomputer trying to outwit it goes back to the War Machines and William Hartnell. However, the series is 50 years old, and there are only so many ideas, so it is only to be expected that there will be some recycling. When this happens a bit of clever story telling is required to make it stand out rather than feel tired. Unfortunately that is not present here.
The script made little sense to me. I just didn't get what the menace was, or why it connected with the Doctor. In fact the script seemed little more than an excuse to get Sylvester McCoy to roll his r's a lot. None of the supporting characters were particularly well drawn, and apart from Sandi Toksvig all merged into a homogeneous `other character' in my mind. At a shade over two hours, like many of the contemporary Big Finish productions it just feels too long. Trimming 20 minutes from it would probably have improved it no end. It really didn't grip me. Some parts were fun, and hearing Seven in full on r rolling mode was entertaining, but there was little here that really interested me. 2 stars.