Greetings all and welcome to Big Finishing Move. For the uninitiated, this is the place where I get to look at the various releases from the champs of audio drama, Big Finish, and give you, the reader, the skinny (never get tired of using that phrase) on if it worth spending that hard-earned dime picking up or money is better served getting the jumbo popcorn the next time you find yourself at the theater.
As I promised last time, this begins my look at saga of Elizabeth Klein. I hope to cover the entire Klein trilogy before the summer is out. Before we can get to all of that though we need to go back to 2001 and Klein’s introduction in only the 25th entry in their Doctor Who Monthly Range. Today our sights are set firmly on Colditz.
TARDIS Team: The Seventh Doctor and Ace
The TARDIS is acting up again and the Doctor and Ace land without any knowledge of where or when they are. As if the TARDIS was set to find and drop our pair off in the worst case scenario possible they work out that they’ve landed smack dab in Nazi Germany inside Colditz Castle, a famous castle converted into a prisoner-of-war camp just seconds before getting captured. Things are bad enough dealing with the guards, especially the irrational, paranoid, opportunistic, ambitious, and power hungry Feldwebel Kurtz, but things get even more complicated and dangerous with the introduction of the mysterious Elizabeth Klein, a woman that knows way more about the Doctor, Ace, and the TARDIS then she should. Can the Doctor and Ace escape Colditz and stop whatever scheme Klein is plotting as well?
My knowledge of World War II is not nearly as extensive as I would like, thus I didn’t know about Colditz until this story. Like when I reviewed The Peterloo Massacre last year, I’m always happy when Doctor Who can expose me to areas of history I didn’t know about. It made me want to learn more about the real place and events, which is always a good thing in my book.
This story marks the beginning of Ace growing and maturing in Big Finish. Ace has to learn what she’s made of without the Doctor to back her up and how her impulsive nature and lack of forethought almost get a man beaten to death and nearly causing massive harm to the timeline. Ace was never meant to be a stagnant character, her learning how to adult was a big part of her arc ever since her introduction. This was a welcome change and almost everything worked, except for Ace deciding to go by her birth name Dorothy McShane (although still preferring people only use her last name). Nobody wanted Ace to be “McShane”. Ace wasn’t just some silly nickname, it was a reflection of herself and who she wanted to be. Giving up the name felt false and thankfully after another story or two the idea was dropped and she went back to calling herself Ace, a name the Doctor had never stopped calling her anyways.
Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred as always are on point in their performances. The supporting cast is also really great and the characters all have more than one layer to them. The standout however has to be David Tennant as Kurtz. In just a few scant years Tennant would go from playing alongside the Doctor to being cast as the Doctor. Colditz marks the first time Tennant would ever collaborate with Big Finish. It is just a bit of happy happenstance that this happened this way since their is no way Big Finish could’ve known this would happen, but it does make Colditz all the more special and significant in the Doctor Who mythos.
The weirdest part of Colditz is how non-essential the Klein character is to the main story. By that I mean you could remove the Klein plot from Colditz and the story would work just fine. True, adding the Klein plot adds a good dose of the ol’ timey-wimey stuff we all love, but it doesn’t need to be there. Goes to show what a good script and an actor that gets the character from the very first syllable like Tracey Childs can do. It would be nearly a decade before we heard from Klein again with A Thousand Tiny Wings, but the fact that people were still excited to get back to this character is a testament to how good Klein was in this story.
There is no good reason not to pick up Colditz. Not only is a a terribly entertaining tale and a must listen for any hardcore Who fan, but its currently priced at a measly $2.99 US! You’ve probably bought fancy cups of coffee that have cost more than that! I mean, what more motivation does a person need to buy a solid 120 minutes of golden entertainment? Even if you somehow find yourself not liking this story, at $2.99 it’s hard to say you were overcharged or ripped-off. If you have a few dollars to spare go get yourself this story, NOW!
Purchase Doctor Who: Colditz Here:
Allow me take a brief moment to say we really are glad you stopped by. I think you might find value in checking out the rest of One Of Us for all the other neat (yes, I just used the word ‘neat’) things we have available. We have reviews, podcasts, and even some audio dramas available, including the sci-fi survival series called The Orphans. Take a second to look around and see if you fancy our other stuff.
Next time, we continue our look at Klein with:
Check out my introduction to this series as well as all my previous reviews. Links are below:
Big Finishing Move Special Edition: An Introduction To The Series
Phantasmagoria, The Fearmonger, The Light At The End, The Spectre of Lanyon Moor, Storm Warning, Blood of the Daleks, The Chimes of Midnight, Seasons of Fear, The King of Sontar, White Ghosts, Dark Eyes II, The Crooked Man, Project: Twilight, The Evil One, The Harvest, The Last Of The Colophon, The Council Of Nicaea, Destroy The Infinite, Afterlife, The Abandoned, Zygon Hunt, Revenge Of The Swarm, Philip Hinchcliffe Presents Box Set, Dark Eyes 3, Mask of Tragedy, The Fourth Doctor By Gareth Roberts, The Exxilions, The Darkness of Glass, Dark Eyes IV, Requiem for the Rocket Men, Signs And Wonders, Death Match, Suburban Hell, The Burning Prince, The Cloisters of Terror, The Acheron Pulse, The Fate of Krelos, The Shadow Heart, Return to Telos, The Sixth Doctor – The Last Adventure, Doom Collation I, The Yes Men, The War Doctor: Only The Monstrous, Wave of Destruction, The Labyrinth of Buda Castle, The War Doctor Volume 02: Infernal Devices, Doom Coalition 2, The Paradox Planet, Legacy of Death, The Tenth Doctor Adventures: Volume 1, Gallery of Ghouls, The Trouble with Drax, The Pursuit of History And Casualties of Time (dual review), Aquitaine, The Peterloo Massacre, Doom Coalition 3, The War Doctor Volume 03: Agents of Chaos, The Beast of Kravenos