on 15 April 2008
This is a smashing story and one of the best offerings from the Big Finish team since they started creating original `past Doctor' audio adventures. Colin Baker has yet again proved that without the garish costume and the upheavals that epitomised his tenure as the Sixth TV Doctor, he could have been the best Doctor of all. His sonorous tones and arrogant enthusiasm are perfect for audio and he is obviously enjoying himself here as the prime suspect in a murder in modern Manchester. Another bold (and if this is anything to go by, resoundingly successful) move was to bring the Eighth Doctor's audio only companion Charlotte `Charlie' Pollard into contact with his Sixth incarnation. India Fisher grabs the opportunity to remain in the role, with both hands, and her sly deceiving of The Doctor regarding her origins is absolutely delightful. Baker also sparks well off Anna Hope as hard-bitten DI Menzies and her gradual acceptance of him is well-crafted and sincere. The resolution, involving people being absorbed into the walls of a building, is almost a sidebar to the interplay between The Doctor and DI Menzies and Charlie's imprisonment by the mysterious `Maxine' adds little to the drama. To sum up: The quality here is in the relationships - both transient and more permanent - when Big Finish concentrates on this aspect of Doctor Who they inevitably meet with a high level of success.
This is the 105th release in the Main Release range by Big Finish, and follows on directly from the end of #103, The Girl Who Never Was. That story had featured the Eighth Doctor with Charley, and this story picks up Charley’s journeys now with the Sixth Doctor. Realising that the Doctor doesn’t know who she is, Charley tries to keep her identity and past secret. But when the Tardis lands in a run-down tower block in a flat with a dead body, both the Doctor and Charley have to answer some awkward questions. DI Patricia Menzies is open to new experiences, but the Doctor’s not sure how she’s going to take the truth, if he has to tell it to her. Meanwhile, Charley has been taken prisoner and is being held in one of the other flats; but can she help Sam, who keeps ringing her?
This story is notable for the introduction of the character of DI Patricia Menzies, a no-nonsense Mancunian policewoman who has, as is mentioned in one of the cd extras describing her, a “terminal case of sarcasm”. Her dry wit, one-liners, and putdowns make for a wonderful listening experience, but she is a woman who quickly finds common ground and respect for and from the Doctor, who finds in her an ally when he needs one. DI Menzies returns in a later story, The Raincloud Man, and I hope she returns in a whole lot more stories. The character is brilliant, and brilliantly played by Anna Hope.
Colin Baker is fantastic in this story as the Sixth Doctor, and it’s nice to see him establishing a relationship (of some mistrust and wonder, so far) with Charley. The police procedural aspect of this story (and indeed of The Raincloud Man), and the alien aspects which then unfold as the story progresses, go tremendously well together. Eddie Robson has written at atmospheric 1980’s style of story which just flows perfectly. The cast and storyline are brilliant. Thoroughly recommended.
This is the hundred and fifth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Colin Baker as Six and, in an inspired move, India Fisher as Charlie. 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.
At the end of `The Girl Who Never Was', it was hinted that Charlotte Pollard had been rescued by the Sixth rather than the Eighth Doctor. This release confirms that, and reveals it to have been an inspired decision by the Big Finish production team. It immediately sets up some questions and tension. Firstly, why, if Charlie travelled with his sixth incarnation did the Eighth Doc not remember her? And as Charlie believes she saw the Eighth Doc die, should she warn Six not to visit Singapore in his Eighth form? Charlie decides t hide things from Six, immediately arousing his suspicions, and Colin Baker's Six is at his best when he is being suspicious.
Apart from bringing together what will go down in Who History as one of the classic Doctor/companion partnerships, and setting up a story arc that has a lot of potential, this is also a great little story. The Doctor and Charlie land the TARDIS in a decrepit block of flats, and immediately find a dead body. Charlie is soon kidnapped while the Doctor is arrested in connection with the murder by DI Menzies, another inspired creation from Big Finish, and a character that I am glad to see will return in future releases. The Doctor gets out of his arrest by the most ingenious method (and allows Colin Baker a bit of fun with a funny accent) and soon he's plunged into an intriguing tale investigating an alien presence on earth and working out just why the interlopers are knocking each other off. The big reveal is a nice touch, and an excellent idea.
I loved this release, 5 stars. It is a shame that there are no cd extras with cast/production team interviews as are common on contemporary releases, as I think there would have been some interesting insights to be had with this landmark release.
The 6th Doctor is in his element in this story as, along with Charley (previously a companion of the 8th Doctor), he travels to Manchester - 2008. Thus, with this adventure taking place in contemporary times, and in the setting of a gritty council estate, this has a distinct feel of some of the 9th and 10th Doctors recent TV adventures. And thus, by inserting Colin Baker's 6th Doctor into this setting, you are presented with a fascinating blend of old and new.
The Doctor and Charley work brilliantly together here, Charley's uncertainty at this 'new Doctor' and unfamiliarity at the modern world throwing up some interesting scenarios. Special mention must also go to Anna Hope's brilliant portrayal of DI Menzies who's tough-talking attitude becomes a backbone to this story.
From by-the-book murder mystery 'Prime Suspect' stylings as the story kicks off, more mysterious elements slowly creep in, resulting in some genuinely unsettling moments as we encounter alien autopsies and a disembodied voice talking through telephones. And rather refreshingly, the 'villains' of the piece are aliens that seem to want to take the Earth by more subtle, stealthy means for a change instead of the 'all guns blazing' approach often favoured by the TV series.
All in all, this is an intensely gripping story, fantastic from start to finish and represents what looks to be a great dynamic between the 6th Doctor and Charley.
another audio adventure for colin baker's doctor who. as usual this comes in four twenty five minute long episodes, spread over two discs, and each disc ends with interviews with the cast and crew of the story.
A difficult one to review this without giving too much away, but since all the potential spoilers are detailed on the cd inlay anyway I might as well [so you may want to think before reading further]
charley pollard one time audio companion of the eighth doctor, was last heard at the end of the story the girl who never was, being rescued from a dead world by the arrival of the tardis. only it clearly wasn't her doctor at the controls...
we find from this that she's been rescued by the sixth doctor, at a time when he's travelling on his own. the resulting open scenes are great and highly entertaining because charley has to be careful about what she says since she thinks the eighth doctor died. thus for long term fans we have the bonus of a favourite character being taken in a new direction and for casual listeners the intriguing mystery of who this person the doctor has picked up is.
beyond that, the tardis comes to manchester in 2008, and the two quickly get separated when caught up in a murder mystery.
This is solved over the next four episodes, and whilst the plot isn't desperately special it's got some very nice ideas and some really creepy moments, and it's performed by a good guest cast who flesh out their characters well. the end promises more adventures for this tardis crew - charley has never been to modern earth before and she gets some great scenes as a result by virtue of her unfamiliarity with modern things - and I look forward to them.
A good little audio story.