Greetings fellow travelers, and welcome back for another helping of Big Finishing Move. This is the place where I take a look at the audio output of Big Finish Productions and let you know if I think it is worthy of inputting into your ears. Today we have a real doozy on our hands (nobody uses the word “doozy” anymore, it’s a shame) as today’s story, the penultimate story of season three of the Fourth Doctor Adventures was co-written by Leela herself, Louise Jameson!
TARDIS Team: Fourth Doctor and Leela
The first thing about this story you’ll notice is the unique opening. Immediately upon its start, you hear desperate screaming followed by some unsettling childlike music. It puts you on edge and makes you think you’re now mentally prepared for what is going to be thrown at you. You’re not.
The Doctor is busy with one of his educational speeches to Leela about the nature of the universe and how time travel works. Then Leela hears screaming like we heard at the beginning of the story and the Doctor hears two parrots. Confused yet? Good. So on we go with the Doctor explaining there is a place where they must never go, even to write it down, speak its name, or think about it too hard is too much. This place is called the Point Of Still…SHH! Didn’t you hear me?! You can’t even mention it! It seems that somebody did travel to… that place, somebody who actions have had a profound effect on both the Doctor and Leela’s lives without them ever knowing it. Now that individual is going to break free, and woe be to our faithful duo as all of reality goes bonkers.
This is active listening here folks, you step out for a minute or get distracted you are going to lose your grip on what is going on and have to rewind. It may help to take notes just to keep everything straight, and oh my word is their a lot to get here. While things may seem totally random, downright disjointed really, there in fact is a great deal of careful construction going on. This puppy is full of word play and clever word imagery commenting on our characters and the way we perceive reality itself. Audio is very much a media of the mind’s eye so what better place to explore the dark side of imagination?!
All the cleverness and word imagery in the world doesn’t matter for squat if you can’t sell it to the audience. Thankfully Tom Baker and Louise Jameson prove once again to be up to the task. They sell the confusion and growing sense of desperation with each passing line. They are both brilliant on their own, but the real magic is when the story brings them together.
The one nagging flaw to this whole surreal experience is that there is no moment for the audience to catch a breather. The tension winds tighter and tighter while the nature of reality grows looser and looser. Without an anchor point for the audience to stop, take stock of what they’ve just experienced, and get ready for another bout of crazy, the whole exercise becomes rather exhausting. I don’t recommend listening to this one in one sitting, it’ll wear you out and you will miss so much.
Look, this one is an acquired taste. I’m not one for full on surrealism normally. However, I found enough wit and charm to make me want to see it through. Still, I had to work for it. If that isn’t something you’re willing to do, stay the hell away from this story as it will only piss you off.
Purchase Doctor Who: The Abandoned Here:
Remember good readers, we here at One of Us have our own audio drama series by the name of Infinite Variations. In addition, we are the home to Jason Neulander’s new spin-off series from The Intergalactic Nemesis entitled Salt. Go get yourself some glorious audio goodness!
Next time it is the Doctor vs the universe’s greatest identity thieves with:
Until then, happy listening!
Check out my previous reviews: