Friday, August 10, 2012

Big Finish - Medicinal Purposes

Big Finish monthly release 60 - Medicinal Purposes from August 2004. Written by Robert Ross and directed by Gary Russell.

How is this for a list of ingredients? The Sixth Doctor, Evelyn Smythe, spooky Edinburgh, the body snatchers Burke and Hare, David Tennant, and the fabulous Leslie Philips. I was always going to enjoy this story. Not least because I was in Edinburgh earlier this year and visited the Greyfriars graveyard where the Doctor an Evelyn begin their investigations. I also looked round the Surgeon's Hall museum which includes a rather gruesome book bound in leather made from William Burke's skin

I am on record as not liking the Doctor Who historicals, but this story about the Doctor wanting to meet two minor figures whose criminality inspired medical breakthroughs is really rather good. Especially when the Doctor discovers that something is seriously wrong and that history is not unfolding in the way he expects. I bought this story in Big Finish's recent David Tennant sale but his character is a rather minor one. Far more interesting was the wonderful voice of Leslie Philips, and hearing his villainous Dr Knox go up against the Doctor.

Dr Smythe rather let me down in this adventure. There is one anachronistic clue which the Doctor (and myself) picked up on but Evelyn missed, which surprised me knowing that she is a historian. Maybe travelling in the Tardis has confused her perception of time. Strictly speaking it is not her area of expertise so I will let the writer off on that one. The other slight problem with this production was the background noises of the Edinburgh streets and the public house where much of the story takes place. I found the constant hubbub rather intrusive at times but again this is a minor quibble about an otherwise excellent, and rather spooky, Big Finish drama.

4 out of 5 bumps in the night I think. Next up the Sixth Doctor returns to Világ in Thicker than Water, but where is Evelyn?

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