Sunday, January 27, 2013

Big Finish - The Wrong Doctors

Bang up to date with the latest Big Finish monthly release - The Wrong Doctors by Matt Fitton, directed by Nicholas Briggs (does he ever sleep?)

This adventure fits in somewhere after the Sixth Doctor has said his farewells to Evelyn Smythe and is moving on to his meeting with Mel Bush (Bonny Langford) in her village home Pease Pottage. Except there's something wrong with time, Dinosaurs roam the golf course and the Women's Institute are dealing with an invasion of alien business consultants. And into this mix comes another version of the Sixth Doctor and an older, wiser incarnation of Mel. Time is unravelling and it will need two Doctors and two companions to put it right again.

I know nothing of Bonny Langford's run on Doctor Who on television and I think I've only heard her in one previous Big Finish production, The Juggernauts. Somewhat like Tracey Childs in Unit: Dominion Langford comes with a slightly dodgy 80s reputation but actually she's fine on radio. I could have done without her singing but that's what she is best known for and it seems unlikely that Big Finish would pass up on the chance for her to stretch her vocal cords. Mel doesn't seem at all annoying and while I haven't warmed to her yet she certainly didn't bother me.

Colin Baker is hit and miss with me at the moment. Sometimes he is on imperious form and others times his Doctor just seems a bit of an obnoxious bumbler. He tries to give us both versions here but I confess I couldn't tell them apart and as often happens with a timey-wimey type story I got a bit lost in the twists and turns. I'm still waiting for a main range release that will match the frenetic heights of The Burning Prince.

The supporting cast are fine, I particularly enjoyed Patricia Leventon as the commanding leader of the WI. Matt Fitton's script tries for lots of verbal word-play and Spice Girls jokes about Mel A, Mel B & Mel C, but it all fell a bit flat for me. The sound design includes several strange background beeps and electronica which stood out to me for the wrong reasons. I wasn't sure what they represented and they distracted me from the story.

All in all a bit of a disappointment really. 2 out of 5 flowing cravats. Hopefully the rather marvellous titled Spaceport Fear will do better.

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