Review: #BigFinish Audio: #DoctorWho: Fourth Doctor Adventures: Suburban Hell

DW4D0405_suburbanhell_1417This adventure features Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor and Louise Jameson as Leela.

It’s a standalone story, which is welcome because I suffer from extreme fatigue with Big Finish’s predilection for overusing a setting or group of characters.

The basic plot is an homage / parody of Abigail’s Party, but this is very much equivalent to the way the Hinchcliffe stories borrowed from a classic monster movie or gothic trope.

The story has some good details and clever science fiction but it is also, in a way similar to City of Death, a late 70s gentle comedy married to a science fiction drama.

The performances are uniformly good with a welcome lack of scenery chewing and the infamous Big Finish LOUD VOICES.

Tom Baker is having a great time, and it seems Louise Jameson is as well, although Leela is a by the numbers character at the best of times. Nevertheless Jameson gets every little bit of performance she can out of the role.

I’d recommend this one, especially for the following reasons:

1. stand alone story – thank goodness

2. good plot and strong basis for the threat

3. science fiction elements are handled with a light touch

4. very little techno- or any other sort of -babble

5. leads are in fine form.

In a way this is a bit like the Fourth Doctor’s equivalent of Year of the Pig, much more so than the overtly silly and marmite Auntie Matter.

Review: #BigFinish Audio: #DoctorWho: Key2Time: Destroyer of Delights

DWMR118_destroyerofdelights_31525 Words or Less: Doctor Who does Arabian Nights, and does it pretty well.

The Fifth Doctor and new companion Amy go through the second part of the Key2Time trilogy, a retread of the Search for the Key To Time that the Fourth Doctor did on television. This time round the Key segments are causing the universe to undergo death by entropy, which also cuts down the Guardians in terms of power and gravitas. This is actually a good thing and gives some tremendous character moments and beats to the story.

The general setting is handled like a grownup version of a First Doctor historical, with a lampshaded version of a genie and cavern of wonders, which just works so well here.

The Fifth Doctor is given a real sparkle and energy too, in vast contrast to the diffident performance Peter Davison gave us onscreen. Here, as in the first part of this trilogy, he’s playful, in command, and dynamic – but still recognisable as the same character. It’s an enhanced performance, not a schizoid one.

Great entertainment, 8/10