According to the interview with the director of this Big Finish audio, it has been almost a year since The Demons of Red Lodge. Doesn’t seem like it! In fact, if I was a lesser man, I would do a Who related joke like ‘time flies’ or something, so be thankful that I’m better than that.
As with the aforementioned Demons of Red Lodge, this is a collection of four short stories, each in a slightly different genre and has a different Doctor and companion- this time we have the Sixth Doctor and Peri.
The first, Recorded Time, is an historical Who. I’m always surprised when I find an historical story like this, because I find it incredible that Who has not visited this time already. You’d have thought that Henry VIII would have been an obvious one to have been done before, but not so.
This is a good story with a good cast. It revolves around a clever plot idea and does not outstay its welcome. My only complaint is the same one I have with all ‘modern’ Who historicals: I would like to see an historical adventure every now and then it is just an historical, with no sci-fi elements thrown in.
Next up is Paradoxicde. As the name suggests, this one has a lot of fun with the idea of time travel and paradoxes, something which is strangely rare in Who. There is also a really nice full-blown sci-fi feel to this story, and we get to see the darker, more ruthless side of the Sixth Doctor, something that Baker does very well.
These two were good, but they have saved the best for last and second last.
A Most Excellent Match should, in theory be really stupid. It should be a mess of cliché and lazy jokes, being that it pastiches 19th century literature by way of a dangerously tired sci-fi plot device.
But it is so well written and so well performed that it easily rises above any danger of being rubbish. Baker and Bryant seem to be having an absolute ball in this one, and if I had to pick one of these shorts that I would like to see expanded into a full length adventure, it would be this one.
The collection ends with Question Marks. Again, this one starts with cliché: the cast, the Doctor and Peri included, begin the story suffering from amnesia. As one would expect, intrigue ensues as suspicions and paranoia grows.
What wasn’t expected, by me at least, was the gut punch of a twist at the end.
All in all, this is a great collection, better, I think, that Red Lodge, and that’s saying something.