My second video in less than a week (curse these Doctor's who don't hang around long enough), looks at the lengthy period when Doctor Who spent his brief screen-time snogging girls and hanging around Albert Square. Marvel at my inability to tell the difference between Comic Relief and Children in Need. No wonder YouTube just advised me my videos are shit. Huzzah!
Even as recently as a month ago I was pretty much resigned to the fact that the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who was going to wind up being a bit rubbish. Despite initially being promised “More Who that ever” the Beeb had shown themselves to not actually being very good at making the show resulting in a rather limp half season that seemed to shuffle onto screen in a slightly embarrassed fashion.
Of course, if it had been any good the drastic reduction in the number of episodes wouldn’t have mattered. But whilst it would be unfair to call it a terrible run, and there was only one episode in the Rings of Padding Out The Short Running Time With Endless Singing and Flashbacks to Things That Happened 30 Seconds Ago that I thought was really piss poor, equally there tended to be an distinctly average feeling about the whole thing.
_ In keeping with the previous two plays in the Mary Shelley trilogy the conclusion to 2011's main range releases plays with horror tropes in an every so forced ironic “Look, it's Mary Shelley! The inventor of horror fiction! In a scary story!” way. By this time the skit is wearing a bit thin, but there's other problems with Jason Arnopp's script that make it a slightly underwhelming end to Mary's time in the Tardis (if that's what it is, more on that later...).
As with the Klein trilogy from two years ago the play is keen to emphasise that Mary and the Doctor have had other adventures than those we've seen, at least creating missing stories for the pair Big Finish can go back and visit later. But as with Klein, it means we end up being denied the new companion's first visit to another planet, which is something of a shame, especially as the new series has tended to make a Big Deal of this.
_ Considering riffing on old horror films is a long and noble Doctor Who tradition it's actually surprising that up till now there's never been a proper Witchfinder General “homage”. The closest being Steve Lyons excellent The Witch Hunters novel back in 1999, but that deals very much with the real life history of the Salem trials rather than being evocative of Vincent Price and Ian Ogilvy. The November main range release sees author Rick Briggs (previously a winner of a competition to write a one part story for the 2010 anthology release) correct this regrettable oversight, coupling some good old fashioned “Get thee behind me Satan!” bodice ripping action with a centuries straddling time paradox. One of these plots works better than the other, but it still manages to be on balance a superior adventure for the 8th Doctor and Mary.
__ The October 2011 main range release is something of a landmark one. The first Paul McGann four part story since The Girl Who Never Was back in 2007, the first such release not to feature Charley Pollard, the first for a new companion and the launch of the first McGann “trilogy”. This effectively relaunches the 8th Doctor after several years in his own, separate series of CD's. It also sees the highly regarded Marc Platt write once more for the original Mondas Cybermen for the first time since he produced their origin story in Spare Parts, s a strong contender for the best Big Finish release of all time.
All this became something of a moot point however as pretty much everything anyone could talk about when it was released was the new arrangement of the theme tune. Intended to be evocative of the version used on McGann's one TV showing it sounds like the composer was having an epileptic fit over the keyboard and is the only version of the theme to date to make use of air guitar. I can't quite decide myself if it's delightfully bonkers or deeply irritating, but it has somewhat unfairly distracted from the story itself. Which is something of a shame as it's a good'un.
Stuart Webb. Who knows everything about nothing and not a lot about that.