You Are the Doctor by John Dorney
YOU are the Doctor, a mysterious traveller in time and space. Will YOU succeed in foiling the ghastly plans of the horrible Porcians, the most inept invaders in all the cosmos? Or will you get yourself killed, over and over again?
Come Die With Me by Jamie Anderson
A spooky old house. A body in the library. A killer on the loose. The Doctor accepts the challenge laid down by the sinister Mr Norris: to solve a murder mystery that’s defeated 1,868 of the greatest intellects in the universe… and counting.
The Grand Betelgeuse Hotel by Christopher Cooper
The TARDIS brings the Doctor and Ace to the most opulent casino hotel in the cosmos – a haunt of the rich, the famous and the unutterably corrupt. There’s a robbery in progress – but is the Doctor really in on the plan?
Dead to the World by Matthew Elliott
Tourist spaceship the Daedalus hangs suspended in space, all but three of its passengers having fallen victim to a bizarre infection. But if the Doctor saves those last survivors, he risks destroying the entire human race.
Do you remember the Choose Your Own Adventures series from your childhood? or even the 1980s Find Your Fate/Make Your Own Adventure With the Doctor? We were big fans of both here at DWW Towers (that’s a place, honest) and remember many an idle day sat cheating at the Fighting Fantasy novels between bouts of Tintin and Target’s finest, Vault of the Vampire being our fondest memory of the range. So this months release from Big Finish comes at something of an advantage as their very own take on the genre, the format lending itself readily to CD/download.
The first story for the reasons above is our personal standout of this four story collection that sees Ace slowly (but not very surely) learning to pilot the TARDIS. Played with humour throughout, You Are the Doctor has something of a comicbook quality to it and with the “choose a path” format, has immediate longevity as you uncover all the possible outcomes. Tremendous fun and we can’t help hoping for a longer release using the same premise. Go on Big Finish, adapt Mission to Venus and Crisis in Space, you know you want to! That said, having killed the Seventh Doctor and Ace by plunging them down to a planet, we can’t help but feel guilty and that their blood is on our hands! And as for the continuity issues…
The second story of the collection also feels a treat as Jamie Anderson provides an excellent Agatha Christie pastiche with Come Die With Me. Ignoring the pun, Come Die With Me feels suitably Christiesque, complete with manor house and servants straight out of the murder fiction of the era. With the suitably enigmatic Mr Norris on hand, the listeners are kept guessing and re-guessing both the guests and situation throughout as with any truly great murder mystery. With Ace the next potential victim, there’s a real sense of danger here and the only “fault” that could possibly be highlighted with the episode is that the idea has the potential for a full episodic release.
Taking the darkest turn of the release, The Grand Betelgeuse Hotel sees Ace standing trial for crimes she (presumably) didn’t commit. Mixing a casino/hotel with uprising and a robbery attempt that fails miserably, the influences on the third episode are proudly on show. A strong outing from Christopher Cooper, he successfully manages to convey both a sense of a real and living world with all the cruelty and oppression it entails, and equally a sense of urgency at events, no small task in the short time provided. With some topical social commentary, it is again a shame the story was not given longer as a regular series release and we hope Cooper is given a crack of the bigger whip soon.
Finally, Dead to the World, sees Ace again landing where she didn’t intend, the spaceship Daedalus. Possibly the most traditional fare of the audio as an alien menace threatens Earth and with people dying of a mysterious and very nasty plague, Dead to the World is very much in the mould of the classic base under siege formula, all be it with a unique villain. The play mixes elements found throughout the entire four episodes, with humour at the nature of the threat mixing somewhat uncomfortably with darker material than that found in the opening two instalments, complete with added commentary on the nature of capitalism.
Overall, a very worthwhile release from Big Finish without a poor episode amongst the four. The unique You Are The Doctor was a personal highlight, but there is something for every fan of the McCoy era here. With humour, darkness and social commentary at varying levels through the differing episodes, You Are The Doctor and Other Stories both reaffirms the best of McCoy and takes us in experimental new directions.
Written By: John Dorney, Jamie Anderson, Christopher Cooper, Matthew Elliott
Directed By: Ken Bentley
Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Jon Culshaw (Keith/Guard/Chafal), Kim Wall (Chimbly), Nadine Marshall (Katrice/Kordel), Amrita Acharia (The Resurrectionist/Clerk), Juliet Cowan (Bryer/Adriana Beauvais), Oliver Dimsdale (Morecombe/Mervyn Garvey), George Potts (Ruben/Guard), Vinette Robinson (Cynthia Quince)