Tuesday, September 12, 2006

McGann Returns

Paul McGann is back as the Doctor (in more radio drama only sadly), but this time it's being exclusively put on BBC 7 rather than available on CD first.

It's due to be broadcast on BBC 7 at Christmas. McGann's new companion is Lucie Miller played by Sheridan Smith. Guest stars included Kenneth Cranham, Anita Dobson, Una Stubbs, Bernard Cribbins, Stephen Gately, Clare Buckfield, Ian McNeice, Elspet Gray, Timothy West, Nerys Hughes, Nigel Havers, Julia McKenzie, Tom Chadbon, Roy Marsden and Nickolas Grace. There seems to be a further recurring character called Headhunter played by Katarina Olssen (who occasionally doubles with another role, suggesting something a bit Sirens of Time.

There are six stories - two 2-parters, four 1 part, all 50 minutes. The first is a Steve Lyons Dalek tale - Blood of the Daleks, great title. 2 parts. The end is a 2 part Cyber story by Eddie Robson. Other plays by Paul Magrs (with the wonderful title Horror of Glam Fock) Jonathan Clements and Paul Sutton.

Paul McGann vs Angie from Eastenders and the Sheriff from Robin of Sherwood? You can bet your fern I'll be listening again (or trying to record the mp3s).

The original McGann run was fantastic but the posh companion began to grate after 3 seasons (ironic given my complaining about dat Rose chav innit?). It held my interest until they did the 40th anniversary special, Zagreus, which was incoherent to say the least. Then they picked up the most dull lifeless second companion ever - C'Rizz, a chameleonic humanoid (how great it was to have a character who could change colour on a radio drama).


Doctor Sordid said...

I've listened to a few of these dramas, and what little I've heard of Paul McGann has been pretty decent. I'm not as keen on him as you, but he's growing on me, and I've nearly forgotten all about that bloody movie thanks to his radio performances.

Quite liked C'Rizz (odd way of spelling Cerys, if you ask me) in the only story I've encountered him - "Terror Firma" - he appears to be a bit crazy, which lifts him out of dull and lifeless in my book.

Stuart said...

I highly recommend the first couple of seasons of the audio - apart from Invaders of Mars (which I need to listen to again to be fair but I couldn't tell the Yank character apart) and Minuet in Hell (which seemed like a Buffy fanfic and has the worst American accents outside of a Yosemite Sam cartoon, but I listened to again and wasn't that bad but was nearly 3 hours long!) they're all gems. I especially recommend the Chimes of Midnight, and Embrace the Darkness.

I've not heard Terra Firma yet, in fact I stopped listening to the audios not long after the 40th anniversary one, Zagreus, went all Twin Peaks weird (without any of the charm) and fanwanky - it tried to explain how the book and audio continuities for the 8th doctor could exist together. Which is a shame because the prequel to Zagreus was an amazingly good story.

After Zagreus they went into a weird anti-time universe, where time is not supposed to exist but clearly does otherwise you couldn't tell stories in it. Then they picked up C'Rizz, did some bizarre 1984esque story which I struggled to follow only to find out none of the main characters were in it at the end. It's just been a case of me being too lazy to put the CDs on my mp3 player after that - or slowly losing the will to live, you choose.

After season 2 ending with the anti-time universe the problem was the companion (again), poshy old Charley, who to be fair had a fine arc in the first two seasons but after that has little reason to hang around, a bit like Rose after Season 1.

Plus after they picked up C'Rizz the next episode of the arc was the 1984esque one, and didn't develop him. He just doesn't sound alien to me though, he sounds like a whiny bloke in the pub after work.

Anyway, the reason, IMHO why they're "rebooting" the 8th doctor audios to include a new companion is that everything after Chimes of Midnight is unbroadcastable on BBC7 - Neverland, though awesome, is to be continued in Zagreus - which was 3 CDs long and utterly impossible to understand. And since everything after that until Terra Firma is one big arc (they truncated the anti-time arc when the new Dr. Who came out to try to return it to the mainstream) it ain't what Joe Public wants. I expect these will be more like the new TV show. The chick from Two Pints pretty much confirms that for me :)

Crikey - this was a long comment.

Doctor Sordid said...

You're not kidding!

I've heard quite a few of the Colin Baker audios (most recently, The Juggernauts, once again featuring a Davros who's a lot more engaging than he was on t'elly), and by goodness, he isn't half bad in them. He really did get the rough end of the pineapple back in the day, didn't he?

The Sly McCoy ones I've heard have been OK, but he's just as gurning and annoying as he was on the tv. Geoffrey Beevers plays a good Master, if you've heard any of his stories.

I'm endevouring to track down the early McGann tales (having failed to catch them on the radio), and will report back on my findings. Thanks for the comments!

Stuart said...

Since posting this I finally put a couple more on the old walkman-i-pod thing. I still can't bring myself to listen to anymore anti-time universe McGann stories, so I thought I'd give a couple of the other Drs a try. Peter Davidson doesn't float my boat, so I listened to Sylv.

The Harvest, which I listened to a couple of months ago in the car, is pretty good - essentially it begins another "season" after the last McCoy episode where he picks up the guy from Hollyoaks as a companion to join him and Ace.

Recently I listened to Night Thoughts - bunch of academics on a dreary Scottish island with no radio, phone etc. but it was much more spooky as I expected, though by Episode 1 I was wondering how they'd spin it out to 4 episodes. They did it admirably.

I hated the 6th Doctor with a passion, watching all his TV stories except the Dalek one with an eye on the clock to indicate when they'd end.

However the Spectre of Lanyon Moore seems a lot better than his usual fare, and the old deary companion (you'd never get that on TV unless she was some sort of cannabis growing rebel pensioner) Evelyn seems like a perfect foil to him. She handbags him into Sylvester McCoy when he starts acting all arrogant and bombastic. On TV all Peri and Mel could do was whimper and scream.