Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Dr. Stu on Dr. Who Triumphantly Returns

Yes, it's been a while. I'm not going to blog about the new series, or the improved but still excessively-mincy 2nd season of Torchwood. I've listened to a lot of Big Finish over the summer and winter and as you know I like the Eighth Doctor.

The Girl Who Never Was didn't quite get rid of Charley "Good God You've Been in 112 episodes – Call It A Day" Pollard, a companion who had lately begun to get very stale and rather annoying. Ironically it was her posh manner and voice that was beginning to grate. Anyroads the play, which is very good and harks back to the excellent 2nd season of McGann & Charley audios, ends with Charley marooned in the distant future and the Eighth Doctor suffering from amnesia, forgetting all but the first five minutes of the play and assuming that Charley has buggered off and left him. Sadly the play ends with Charley being rescued by...

Colin Baker's Doctor.

Yup – somehow Miss Pollard now travels with the Sixth Doctor, trying to pretend she's never seen a TARDIS or travelled in time with such great bluffs as "Why don't you use the scanner or... err..."

Somehow the Sixth Doctor (whose TV persona I loathe, though in all fairness his audios are very, very good) is going to forget this Miss Pollard, making it a bit pointless. I'm personally not in favour of diluting McGann's seasons by moving his companion into Colin Baker's era. It seems a little fanwanky. However Big Finish seem to be very loathe to let the actress who plays Charley go. I guess they like her a lot. Despite listening to and enjoying Baker and Pollard's first outing I think they're eeking the Pollard character too much. There's even a near identical sister in one of the spinoffs for frick's sake!

Meanwhile it's time for a new season of Eighth Doctor adventures. Not with Charley Pollard (thank gawd) but with brash Blackpool lass Lucie Miller, played by Sheridan Smith (that girl off Two Pints of Lager).

Dead London is an interesting idea – a maze of interlocked chunks of London (where else) from various time periods – Roman, Blitz and of course 2008. This is something the new series has not done yet – an episode that spans multiple time periods in any great depth. It features the bloke who plays Lord Ashfordly from Heartbeat playing many many characters. It's pretty good.

It's not as good as Max Warp though. It's a Top Gear rip-off, with Max Warp being a suspiciously similar show presented by a Clarksonesque misogonist, "Timbo the Ferret" who is no way a riff on Hammond the Hamster, and the boring third guy who is voiced by the guy off the old Rory Bremner show that wasn't Bremner or the one with the goggle eyes. While showing off the new Kith spaceship, Hammond – sorry Timbo has a terrible accident that is a little close to the knuckle and appears to have died. This is bad as the Kith and humans have recently been at war and one side is keen to accuse the other of starting trouble. The Kith are a sponge like race with Somerset accents voiced by the guy who was Little John in that classic movie Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. Add in a president advised by a spin-droid, an Agatha Christie style murder mystery and some good one-liners and it is quite fun.

As you might have guessed it's not the most serious Doctor Who story.

Brave New Town is an interesting idea – a village of Auton people being used by the Soviets during the Cold War to train for infiltrating the UK. Only it's 2008 and no-one's told the Autons that are trapped in 1991 listening to Bryan Ferry. Sadly not as fun as the previous two it does however feature the image of the Eighth Doctor rescuing people in a double decker bus.

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