Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Big Finish - The Condemned

From 2008 The Condemned by Eddie Robson, directed by Nicholas Briggs.

It's Charlie Pollard's first encounter with the Sixth Doctor. He doesn't know her yet and her answers to his questions are somewhat evasive. Meanwhile they have bigger problems when they land in a Manchester tower block right in the middle of a murder scene. Soon the Doctor is down at the police station helping Detective Inspector Menzies with her enquiries, and Charlie has been captured by less legal forces and is being held prisoner somewhere in the tower. Can she free herself and the mysterious Sam who speaks to her on the telephone?

Good stuff first. D.I. Menzies is a tough, no-nonsense police officer played with Mancunian relish by Anna Hope. She's not quite as enjoyable as she was in The Raincloud Man, possibly because she initially suspects the Doctor is the murderer, and it takes some time before they are working together. Colin Baker and India Fisher are both on strong form in this one and their suspicious and strained relationship is evident right from the start. The Doctor knows there is something strange about Ms Pollard but she's not telling.

The twin mysteries of the murder and the strange goings on in the rest of the tower block play out nicely, although the conclusion was perhaps a bit obvious even to me. There are, of course, aliens involved and I would have been quite happy without them. A straightforward police procedural murder mystery for the Doctor and Menzies to solve would have been fun. Instead we get another new alien race, another new technology that we haven't seen before, and a plot that is too familiar from too many Doctor Who stories.

Still the rest of the cast, direction and the cover and sound design are all fine. I wasn't convinced by the Doctor's escape method, or taken in for that matter, but I can probably let that one slip by. About on a par with The Raincloud Man so 3 out of 5 DNA patches from me. More Menzies would be nice.

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