Saturday, 30 January 2016

4th Doctor 5.1 - Wave Of Destruction

What type of Doctor Who fan are you? An odd question maybe to the ‘not we” but very pertinent to us fans. Long, long before the “Classic” v “New” debates that seem to plague fandom (solution – there is no classic or new its all called “Doctor Who”) there was the Tom Baker era. There was only one Tom Baker era wasn’t there? To the untrained “not we” eye the answer is yes – but us fans know differently. There are two Tom Baker eras the Hinchcliffe era and the Williams era. I could spend pages and pages discussing the relative merits of each particular producer (but I won’t) because I can categorically state Williams was better. Anyone who wants to argue can contact me via Twitter…
Where Hinchcliffe had “gravitas” (one of my least favourite words – it means a sort of pompous superiority if the internet is to be believed, Williams had joy in abundance – a sort of intelligent, knowing, delightfully silly joy – and this was honed to perfection in Season 17, once seen as the nadir of all Who is now revered as the classic it was.
Which brings me to the latest release from Big Finish in their Fourth Doctor range – Wave of Destruction, set during season 17 it has the classic combination of Tom Baker and Lalla Ward as The Doctor and Romana and as with the era it is a pastiche of the story is delightful, silly, pithy and yes, joyful.
With several nods to Douglas Adams and not a hint of “gravitas” in sight (or sound) the Doctor and Romana investigate a modulated frequency wave cancellation signal which really shouldn’t be on Earth in England in 1964.
During the course of the investigation Romana goes shopping for shoes and a handbag (a plastic one if you were wondering), the Doctor meets a detective who’s name is a fantastic in joke to fans of Broadchurch and Midsomer Murders, an old (and rubbish) enemy makes a reappearance and K9 gets to DJ on a Pirate Radio station called Radio Frantic who have some very addictive jingles, and last but not least breadcrumbs are used as an offensive weapon.
The story is a riot – a rollercoaster ride of jolly japes from beginning almost to end – in fact the end sees a somewhat darker tone to the story made all the more shocking after all the jollity and silliness that precedes it.
A great start to the series from one of my very favourite Doctor/Companion pairings and a great antidote to the dark January evenings.
8/10.