Sunday, 20 September 2015

198 - The Defectors

What ifs, crossovers, mash-ups. All very popular and the subject of much fan fiction. The Doctor meets Sherlock Holmes, The Doctor meets the crew of the Starship Enterprise, The Doctor aids Mulder and Scully – all fan fictions that exist in one form or another – and the great thing is that they DO exist. In the world of fandom these iconic shows fire the creativity of their legions of devoted fans, stories are written that could only be dreamed of by Studio Execs who have to take into account such real world problems as rights, actor availability, budget, scripting – and to be honest, knowing fans would the finished polished professional product ever be as good as the idea of it was? Maybe mash ups are best left to the fans, or maybe, just maybe there is a way that this could work…
Which brings me nicely to this months main range release “The Defectors”, the first in a new trilogy from Big Finish, a trilogy with a difference as it is a bit of a mash up trilogy. The Defectors sees Jo Grant (Katy Manning) paired up with Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy in a UNIT era story. There is a real air of mystery about this one, how has the Third Doctor been replaced by the Seventh, will Jo trust him and is there a deeper mystery behind proceedings?
The Seventh Doctor turns up at UNIT in the TARDIS, no explanation is given as to why he is there, the listener is in the same position as Jo and without having time to explain, they are evacuated by the regular army led by Captain Cornelius, taken away blindfolded in a helicopter due to a matter of “national security” and taken to the mysterious Delphin Island. Delphin is a remote island “somewhere off the coast” with very odd locals, in fact the story it is most remeniscent of in episode one is The Android Invasion “something” isn’t quite right. The beer is off, the food isn’t cooked properly in the pub, no one is giving any answers, and then the next morning all the residents of the island are found dead floating in the harbour…
Sylvester and Katy work very well together, McCoy is halfway between his bumbling Season 24 persona and his dark New Adventures persona, Katy is wonderful as the wide eyed innocent Jo – always comparing this Doctor to “her” Doctor – not quite trusting him to begin with, but forming a bond as the story progresses.
The story really is a great homage to the Pertwee era with a Cartmel twist – it is at its most basic a morality tale about the nature of monstrosity and humanity as were a lot of the Pertwee era, but many years of wisdom from the Doctor have been added to the situation and a resolution that may have been acceptable to Doctor number three is not acceptable to Doctor Number seven.
So, an intriguing beginning to the trilogy, I get the feeling from this one that there is a “Big Bad” just out of sight pulling the strings and causing the mismatched Doctors and companions, time will tell – definitely one to embrace and not to Defect from 8/10.