Hello boys and girls and everyone else, and welcome back to Big Finishing Move, where I have been given the honor to review Doctor Who audio dramas from (if you haven’t guessed from the title) Big Finish. On the docket today is an entry considered to be one of if not the first quintessential Doctor Who story Big Finish ever made, The Fearmonger. This was only the fifth outing in what would become Big Finish’s monthly range for Doctor Who and it was released way back in February of the year 2000, so does the story still hold up?
Set after Survival, which was the last story in the classic TV series, The Fearmonger finds the 7th Doctor and Ace (my favorite classic Who companion by the way) as they try to hunt down a creature hides inside people and feeds on fear. The Fearmonger is using the realm of politics to help stir the pot and make more food for itself, and sadly for everyone, it is quite good at it. One of the themes running through the piece is a lack of listening and the inability of many people to see past their own rhetoric to entertain anyone else’s point of view. The Doctor and Ace’s multiple appeals for honest talk and peaceful moderation fall on deaf ears as everyone around them becomes more and more polarized and violent with every new development. Many of the stories of 7th Doctor’s final season had an underlying leftest social and political undercurrent to them and while the political charge can be found in The Fearmonger it takes a slightly more moderate view attacking buzz words and extremism on both sides. The story is littered with horrible characters who do nasty things but Jonathan Blum (the writer) was clever enough to show that there is a person behind those acts to keep us forgetting just how easily we could become like them ourselves.
Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred slip back into their roles without the slightest hiccup, the pairs natural chemistry off screen has always made their on screen counterparts respect and affection for each other all the more believable. The script knows this relationship is where the magic is and gives both actors plenty to play with. The other actors do the best they can with what they have, but since this isn’t a piece that lends itself to them doing any sort standout performance you won’t find any of them overly memorable.
So does the story hold up? Hell yeah it does! The world has gotten even more divisive since this this story came out making its call for peace and sanity all the more needed. It keeps adding new twists and turns to keep the listener engaged and you feel the pressure growing every second so when everything go crazy at the end it feels justified. The lack of special features does kind of suck, but if that’s the best complaint I can come up with it should tell you something. You can pick this baby up for a cheap-as-hell $2.99 so get cracking and pick this one up if you haven’t already.
Next time we jump ahead to the most recent offerings and look at Big Finish’s multi-Doctor story released in celebration of Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary this November, The Light At The End.
Buy The Fearmonger Here