Thursday, 27 September 2012
Audio Play: Doctor Who - The One Doctor
Big Finish's first out and out comedy is a great success: an affectionate, witty and knowing confection from Gareth Roberts and Clayton Hickman that showcases Colin Baker and Bonnie Langford's comic talents while bringing in star names such as Christopher Biggins and Matt Lucas. It manages to be an adventure and a send up at the same time and has some genuinely classic laugh out loud moments.
The Sixth Doctor and Mel respond to a distress signal from the planet Generios only to arrive and find that 'the Doctor' has already repelled the alien invaders. The Doctor smells a rat and our travellers soon find their names are being taken in vain by con man Banto Zame and his girlfriend Sally-Anne (Christopher Biggins and Clare Buckfield). However, a real threat to Generios materialises, one that forces the two partnerships to join forces to hunt down the three greatest treasures of Generios as tributes to a powerful alien cylinder. This adventure will have the Doctor and Sally-Anne facing a robotic Anne Robinson, while Banto and Mel must assemble the 'Shelves of Infinity'. There is also the Jelloid to contend with...
The great thing about The One Doctor is that it works on several levels: for the more casual listener, there's much humour to be had from the Doctor being impersonated by Biggins who is having a great time. The two trade some tremendous insults with Banto accusing the rather verbose Doctor of having 'swallowed a thesaurus'. It's also a hoot to have the Doctor being chased by Sally-Anne who finds him rather sexy. The comic situtaions are ones we can recognise, from a set of flat packed shelves that can never be completed to a giant jelly that has been waiting centuries for a delivery only to miss it when he pops off for ten minutes to aid the Doctor. As the Jelloid (and the cylinder) Matt Lucas has a blast - how many different voices can this man do? The Assemblers, robots who work in the furniture factory and have created the Shelves of Infinity, are modelled on the Smash robots from the 1970s ads, complete with their distinctive laugh.
The One Doctor is also very funny for the uberfans too, with some wonderful little injokes, from the cheeky title to the Nationesque planet name to the use of the Carnival of Monsters alternative theme tune for episode three. The cylinder is a nod to rival Star Trek and the probe from the fourth movie. There's also a wonderfully knowing moment when the quartet debate whether audio is better than the visual, a reference to many debates about the merits of Doctor Who in this medium. Mel's feisty but rather dull character is also lampooned to great effect, Langford having a blast sending up Mel's rather limited character. Best of all is Banto's version of the Doctor's ship, the STARDIS, which the con man has incorrectly based on a portaloo. The sound effect of it dematerialising is tears in the eyes funny. This is great fun and Colin Baker and Bonnie Langford excel in this comedy setting. Hopefully this success will encourage further comic misadventures.
GK Rating: *****