The Taste of Death by Helen Goldwyn
Alien holiday resort hides a rather inedible secret, that the Doctor and Rose discover that MXQ1 is offering more than relaxation and recuperation to it’s leisure seeking visitors. There is a wonderful smorgasbord of food constantly on offer, that is a never ending delight for the holidaymakers, to the extent they never really do anything other than constantly eat. But there is more to this than just good food, and more to the menu that something Jamie Oliver as knocked up. The Doctor this time with Rose have to investigate what exactly is making the occupants of MXQ1 so ravenous, and moreover, why are some of the chiefs employed there suddenly disappearing, what actually is going on in the depths of the kitchens at this resort. This is a blistering introduction in to the 10th Doctor release, and what is more it is stunning Jacob Dudman is amazing, he is not just doing an impersonation he has taken it to the next level. You just don’t question that you are not listening to Tennant. It is simply eye widening, mind blowing-ingly’ good. The mannerisms, the little inflections in his vocal traits it is all here, the fact that the man can do this and come across as the Doctor is simply stunning, he is a master, and Big Finish need to hold onto him, as there is huge potential here for more from a very young and immensely talented actor. The story is just pitched at the right level to draw you in and there you go… Four hours later and you have listened to the whole dam boxed set.
Backtrack by Matthew J Elliott
Backtrack is a holiday experience that makes even Ryan Air look like a good idea, if you where out for a rather different style of vacation than a holiday outright. We have a one tour ship company who are taking people back to see famous things from the past 1066, Battle of Britain that sort of thing. However, cutting corners can sometime lead to things going horribly wrong. Imagine this as a sort of science fiction version of the stories you hear year in year out of cruise ships being waylaid with their passenger falling ill to horrible stomach bugs and viral infections. This however is a million miles more fun to listen to as Dudman expertly delivers what is basically a flawless No.10 to the point where I forgot it was not David but Jacob, it simply that good. I do like that we also get Martha back into this episode and it really once again felt like we were picking up from where the TV left off and instead of standing still we had moved it along. Great stuff all around here. The acting and characterisation here is wonderful. It is simple story made beautiful by the love, care and attention to detail of telling it. What a rather wonderful way to spend a hour
Wild Pastures by James Goss
Old folks home with a grumpy relative of the enviable Donna Noble. This is her grandmother Sylvia a slightly unpleasant and more akin to being a pain in the arse individual whom finds herself in a care home, much to her disgust as well as we feel those around her. She is cantankerous to put it mildly in fact, for those familiar she seems to have the traits of Catherine Tate’s ever popular “grandmother” character, those familiar with British TV may pick up on the correlation of this. However, the Doctor is there as there is something not quite right with Wild Pastures, it’s not living up to it’s name or reputation in the slightest, and therefore, this requires investigation. There is of course a rather unpleasant alien thing going on in the background, and to say that they are harvesting the poor dears that are residents in this establishment is perhaps the best way of explaining their deeds.
A rather nice well written, stunningly acted on Dudman and King’s part with this episode, Goss as really captured the 10th Doctor character well, and I loved the miss mannered Sylvia character a treat, what an absolute darling, she added that sort of black sense of comedy that was apparent and acted as a foil for the over enthusiastic No.10 so well. This for me is a little gem of a story
Last Chance by Guy Adams
This story is more a narrative tale, with Dudman, doing a more a story telling role than an acting one, the whole piece is well written and wonderfully acted. It is one of those stories that sits well as the final play of the cards in this what I assume to be the first of maybe many boxed sets of the Doctor Adventures in the absence of Tennant. Last Chance re-introduces the character of Lady Christina de Souza a somewhat upper class crook. This time however, she is trying to steal the last examples of extinct creatures with the aid of the Doctor, away from a rather unpleasant individual whom collects and then kills for his own amusements the animals and then decorates his abode with their dead pelts, skulls and skins. This is a sort of Wildlife on One/David Attenborough morality tale with the Doctor and an old companion thrown in. The story itself is mainly narration but with Michelle Ryan reprising a role that I was shocked to hear is 20 year ago. Shows how time travel flies! Guy Adams as written a story with much love and attention to detail here, and I for one enjoyed this little outing as it was reminiscent of the TV run with No.10 in the driving seat and nice to hear that it sounded fresh and new. Great work Big Finish.