What a stunning first episode!
I listen to all Big Finish Audio stories, regardless of whether they pull me in, or not. But if you want a classic example of how to construct the perfect 1st episode - one full of mystery, one where you are desperate to see how all this fits together - then this is it. I seriously cannot recall being pulled in so completely by a story - and it was inevitable after listening to it, that the whole play would be listened to rather quickly (I actually listened to the first 2 together, then the last 2 a couple of hours later).
David McIntee is one of the stalwarts of 1990s Doctor Who. Responsible for more novels than I can remember in this short review, he was one of those that pushed the DW universe forward, when all we had was the books. This is only his second Audio - the relatively disappointing middle Excelis being his only other contribution. His books were consistently pretty good, with no real clunkers amongst them, so Excelis rather surprised me in its averageness. Thankfully Unregenerate shows his skills do transfer to other mediums - and he seems to have mastered Audio here, at least that was the initial thought anyway.
The script initially reminded me of the new TV Series - a big compliment.. It's all rather modern and up-to-date. Clever current affairs comments are riddled throughout - and this listener was smiling in acknowledgement at yet another wry observation. But the story begins smart in its own right too. It takes the Alien at the End of the Lane premise that DW so often portrays - and gives us a rollicking good promise of a mystery.
Time Travellers are present in modern day, but what is their purpose? Why did they go back in time to the 50s and enlist someone 50 years early? What's behind the Façade of the Institute? Whys the Doctor there, and is he really as Mad as a Hatter? Questions, questions, questions - I wondered if they could be answered imaginatively and comprehensively by the end of Part Four.
Mel is superb in Audios - that is beyond any reasonable doubt now. Big Finish have featured her a lot recently, and I am not complaining one bit. With the Doctor acting rather oddly, Mel is our touchstone with reality - and she does it rather well. She is aided by a glorious character who remains nameless throughout (he's just down as Cabbie in the credits) - a taxi driver played by the ever dependable Toby Longworth. He gets roped into Mels investigations, and emerges as arguably one of the most rounded supporting characters Big Finish have produced in recent times. My father is a Taxi Driver, maybe I am biased, but I really liked him. It was an unlikely combination - Mel and Taxi Driver - one that worked a treat.
The 7th Doctor here is early in his regeneration. Ironic thing is that you can hardly tell, as he is so manic for so much of the play - and therefore not himself at any time at all. Sylvester McCoy isn't exactly known for his strong emotion acting - but it funnily enough works here, as his personality is so extreme - he can really get away with any excesses and instability he wants. There's rather a little too many rolling of the Rs for my tastes though, and even when he is supposed to be back to normal I couldn't help but feel there was a great deal of overacting going on.
I'm not going to give away too much of what happens later on, but the change of environment is rather startling - and I don't think the story really benefits as a result. Mel and nameless Cabbie get shifted to the side as the rest of the cast take centre stage. The Klyst , Rigan and Louis story reminded me of those old additional Comic Strips written by Alan Moore in DWM. As the story developed the antagonists were pretty plain to see - but the audio didn't really take off as I hoped it might.
Klyst is nicely played by Jennie Linden. Big Finish have got this Doctor Who guest star from the past just right I feel. It's always nice to hear a familiar voice - and the roles that these old companions are given are usually very good. The listener is intelligent enough to distinguish between the old and new character - and Big Finish are not recreating the same character, with a different name, if you know what I mean. Only Daphne Ashbrook has played a similar role to the one she played before.
Klysts working colleagues fare less well. Louis is excellent in his 1st form, but is atrocious in his 2nd. I wish a bit of Unregenerating could go on there, so the original Louis re-emerged. Rigan was a tiresome character. All bluster, with no charm, Mel picked her off brilliantly - but hardly the stuff of great villains.
There's the small matter of the Doctor too. As he becomes more and more himself, so the focus inevitably falls on him. One of my niggles about so many New Adventures, and some books since, was the lack of Doctor. Here I hold my hand up, and admit some stories are better with him on the periphery. Maybe this is because of McCoys excesses, but more likely it was because Mel and nameless Cabbie were great together.
Unregenerate started magnificently - with an opening episode that can stand alongside the greats, But the rest of the story doesn't remotely measure up the same. Thanks to it's strong beginning I rate it - but I can't really endorse the rest that much. 7/10
Losing one’s sanity is a terrifying concept, so an asylum where mysterious experiments are being performed upon the inmates is a natural Doctor Who setting. Once revealed, the reasons behind these experiments turn out to be intriguing in terms of Doctor Who mythology, but somewhere along the line this play manages to lose any real drama concerning the fate of the humans (and aliens) involved. Partly this is due to the modus operandi of the bad guys, as they are considerate enough to only experiment upon those who have signed Faustian pacts to give their bodies up on the day before they would have died naturally in return for the life of their dreams. As they were due to die anyway it’s hard for the listener to summon much moral outrage at this part of the experimenters plans – hell, I think I’d sign away the last day of my life in exchange for the rest of it being a success – which leads to an ending with much moral discussion but no real clear enemy for the Doctor.
Sylvester McCoy came in for a huge amount of stick from fans for his performance in his first television season, and while he would go on to produce some superior restrained performances in his final two seasons, it’s hard not to wince at the likes of Time and the Rani. Sadly then, Unregenerate! gives McCoy carte blanche to overact by having the Doctor effectively insane for the first two episodes. The result is almost unlistenable, with McCoy gibbering like a loon through an over the top “I’m MAD!” routine that makes his performance in Time and the Rani (which this story is set immediately after) seem positively restrained. I’m by no means one of those so-called ‘McCoy haters’, but his performance here is truly risible, and should have been reined in by director John Ainsworth.
Elsewhere the characters are mostly competent if unspectacular – Bonnie Langford turns in a decent performance as Mel without her character ever really providing any standout moments, similarly big screen Doctor Who companion Jennie Linden (another in a recent line of inspired old-Who stars casting by Big Finish) turns in a sold performance as Professor Klyst. There is only one real stinker amongst the supporting cast, and that’s in the form of the usually reliable Toby Longworth’s character ‘The Cabbie’. The Cabbie is a walking cartoon-ish caricature in a play of realistic characters and sticks out like a sore thumb, and Longworth’s hammy over the top comedy voice performance just adds to the misery.
Unregenerate! has some interesting ideas at it’s core, but the play just doesn’t work as a piece of entertaining drama, and all the tricks of telling the story in multiple flashbacks fails to add any real depth to the proceedings. Not a total misfire, but with a pair of over the top performances dragging the story down Unregenerate! ranks as an interesting, but not particularly pleasurable listening experience.
Hm. The Doctor is in an insane asylum, babbling away. Sounds a bit like "Minuet in Hell." Meanwhile, Melanie is on her own, separated from him at the start of the story. That sounds a bit like "The Juggernauts." But you know what? I didn't make these connections until just now, on my second listen-through to this story. There's something about the combination of the two and the general atmosphere of the people running the asylum that made me just sit back and enjoy it the first time through. Also, what rule is there that says if at first Big Finish don't succeed, they can't try and successfully execute a promising idea that didn't go well on the first tries again?
Now, about that general atmosphere of the asylum, if that's what it really is (the listener isn't sure at this point). I think what I like about is how cool and professional and smooth everyone working there is. Gail Clayton as Rigan, John Aston as Louis, and Jennie Linden as Prof. Klyst all have the perfect sort of voices for this, and they all project an aura of "I know exactly what I'm doing at every moment" effortlessly with every line. Louis stands out a bit more than the others in this particular episode, since he has all that "I might be the devil" deal-making to make with the destiny of Mr. Rausch, but the others shine with their material too.
Going back to our regulars for a moment, it's perhaps a bit of an obvious choice to have Sylvester McCoy do a "madness" turn here... but I suppose we've heard all the others except Davison do it already, it really was just his turn in the rotation. He's very good at it... I love the way he takes a word in a sentence that someone says to him and just quietly repeats it back in between the words in the rest of their sentence.
Melanie is being nice and competent too, as we've come to expect from the BF version of her character, though it's perhaps a bit of a stretch that she'd choose to rope in her taxi driver into being her de facto companion in the story. I can buy that the cabbie would do this for all the money she offered him, but I think I would've liked a bit more from her saying why she's involving someone else in what she knows will be an incredible story that he's not likely to believe, especially as he doesn't seem all that trustworthy what with his admitted criminal record and all.
I think that's about my only complaint with the script, which I otherwise found to be intriguing and involving in a way so many of the others this year haven't been. On first listen, I couldn't quite work out who these asylum-running people were, though looking back now it seems so obvious. I think perhaps it's because they're doing something their people weren't quite seen to be doing before this that threw me... not so much with the time meddling, but how smoothly they're doing everything. Apart from one of their number, these people never came across as "smooth" before now.
I also quite like the cliffhanger of the building that isn't really a building... more a sort of elaborate "set." Given all the time travel that was going on, I instantly thought of the set-up to "The Wormery," where likewise the entrance to a building went elsewhere in space and time, but again, it's this unique combination of interesting things that's letting me sit back and relax with it all.
I have some problems with the plot developments in the first half of today's episode. First... is Melanie seeing "Bad Wolf" written everywhere too? The TARDIS seems to be helping her to a ridiculous degree, where it just suddenly follows her, scans the wall of the building for her, and tells her how to get past the hologram that's concealing the door. I kept expecting some explanation later on of how the Doctor pre-programmed it or something, but as far as I can recall from my first listen-through, there never was one. This is left hanging as a great big "Huh?!?" moment, and it's got the smell of some more elaborate sequence that was substituted for to conserve time, unfortunately at the expense of credulity. Second... the cabbie is swallowing Mel's story about the TARDIS and everything else far too easily. It would've been far more believable and potentially a lot more funny if he kept trying to escape the mad situation confronting him only to keep getting sucked back into it; something more like how Richard Mace in "The Visitation" behaved.
Things settle down quite a lot and the second half of the episode is much better. I thought from the start that I could hear Sylvester McCoy's voice in amongst those in the gestalt Fedorin (sp?) creature... he's just too distinctive to hide amongst other voices, but I still didn't mind this particular stumble as it's just a really neat idea of putting his mind in amongst all these others in this group mind thing. The reason for it being there is still a mystery at this point though, but one has to suspect the institution people had something to do with it.
There is a nice sly little clue about who the institution people are in the sound design, where the alarm noise that's going off is borrowed from "The Invasion of Time." The "Victorian hospital" motif of the place also suggests certain things about that story. I never thought we'd get a story that made me think fondly of one of my least favorites from the TV series, but these little touches somehow managed it.
The cliffhanger is one we've heard before, but it's another one of those old classics that never quite goes out of fashion... being trapped in an airlock with the air escaping. Ah, bless. And the Doctor's still nutty as a fruitcake, so he's not going to be of any help. And it was a bit of a surprise that the institution was somewhere in space... I had suspected it wasn't back on Earth, but quite where it was, we had no clue.
So, some stumbles at the start of part two, but things picked up in the second half. Part Three tomorrow.
I've been talking a lot about ideas that have been cropping up that we've seen or heard before in other stories. Today we get to one that I can't recall ever hearing before... I'm sure some hard-edge s.f. story or novel has done it somewhere, but if they have, I've not heard of it. This is the rather ingenious idea of taking an artificial intelligence and implanting it into a human body. Usually it's the other way around in these shows. The reasons why are only partly revealed today, but as I recall, the rest of the explanations are more than satisfactory. This is the business of this institute, and it's telling that the AI's don't do very well inside humanoid bodies which they find very limiting.
It's much more telling that it is revealed at the end of this episode that this is a Time Lord facility. (well, by inference anyway... we know for sure Louis is one; they won't tell us until tomorrow about everyone else but it's a decent guess at this point given all the other sly Gallifreyan references that have been cropping up, especially here in part three) This begs the question of what sort of AIs the Time Lords would be making, and why they seem to be missing dimensions... hmmm. Yet another interesting development.
The set pieces that get us to these revelations are all nicely handled as well. It was perhaps a bit of a cop out that last episode's cliffhanger was solved simply by the characters putting on some emergency spacesuits that we couldn't tell were there all the time, but we've seen and heard much worse ways out of cliffhangers than this. The thought of Melanie stuffing all of her hair inside a space helmet amuses me as well. The cabbie redeems himself a bit too in this section, when he tells everyone he thinks he's hallucinating it all, which suddenly brings him back into the realm of believability.
It was also nice to hear the Doctor become more lucid again, slowly at first as he's near to the creature that's absorbed his mind earlier on, and of course in all the flashback sequences where we get to hear all the stuff he did before Part One began. One could almost renumber this episode as Part One, One as Two, and Two as Three in fact. Still, I like doing it this way around; I'm a bit of a sucker for some non-linear storytelling.
So, things have really perked up here in Part Three, with some nice set pieces and a really good idea I've not heard of before. I can't wait for Part Four tomorrow.
This is a mostly satisfying conclusion to quite a good story. That it turned out to have been a CIA Time Lord operation wasn't all that surprising. What they were up to wasn't foreseeable, I don't think. Implanting TARDIS minds into people's minds and then "seeding" societies with those minds so that they can switch off those races' time travel capabilities (when they get them) is rather ingenious. I suppose it's a bit like how Rassilon seeded the DNA of many worlds in "Zagreus" so that humanoids would predominate, only more direct. What I like most about the set-up is the Doctor's observation of which species they've chosen to pick on: the ones to whom it was safe to try this on. We hear of an attempt to do this to Daleks, the ones the Time Lords really should be worried about, and how that didn't go well and so all experimentation on them has been banned. It's a nice parallel to the way leading world governments (like mine) have behaved down the years and still are doing today. One could say that Iran or North Korea or parts of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are the real sources of trouble in the world, but each is too dangerous to invade for its own reasons, so we took on Iraq instead, out of the feeling that we had to do something. That seems to be the same situation the Time Lord CIA is in here. One might also see this as a possible link into the Dalek vs. Time Lord Time War of the new TV series, and there's nothing in this to say that it isn't, but thinking about it now, I suspect it was meant more as a link into the Dalek vs. Time Lord stuff we've already heard in the other Big Finish audios, or perhaps also into the shenanigans the Time Lords get up to in the "Gallifrey" standalones. (I'm also reminded of a joke from "Yes, Prime Minister," where PM Hacker is going on about how they should always be defending the weaker countries from the bully ones, and Sir Humphrey ticks off a list of conflicts around the world, and when he gets to Afghanistan vs. Russia, Hacker answers quickly, "the Soviets are too strong.")
The ultimate solution is quite a good one as well, that the TARDIS mind transplantation finally only works with the Doctor's mind's help (and that of Shokhra), and more importantly, his TARDIS' help, which possibly explains its strange behavior back in Part Two (though I still wish it had been more explicitly explained). And I like that this new TARDIS Pilot creature sneaks back into the institute in the Doctor's TARDIS and takes control without Rigan and her heavies noticing, while the rest of our heroes have been debating what they should do.
If I have one complaint about the final episode, I suppose it's that Rigan doesn't behave quite as quick and ruthlessly as she sounds like she is. Sure, she assumes authority, but instead of just locking people up or shooting them, she stops to explain herself to people and so on. "Get on with it," I heard myself muttering once or twice. I'm also sensing a bit of a plot hole on this notion of how she wants to interrogate the intruder humans before editing their memories and putting them back where they belong... sure Time Lords can do that... we saw it in "The War Games," but surely if they can just edit memories, why do they need to bother with interrogation? Indeed, there's reference to a mind probe later on (and if anyone makes that joke yet again, I will scream), so why didn't Rigen just think to use that? The very end of the solution is a bit iffy too... they talk about how the Institute itself, into which the TARDIS minds will be placed, doesn't have a time engine, but they'll be able to put a spatial drive on it at least. Um, where are they suddenly whipping this spatial drive up from? Earlier on they're telling us about other equipment they haven't got (like TARDIS berthing cradles or a time engine), so it seems peculiar that they can just conjure up a space drive when they can't conjure up the other things either.
Oh, and why was this called "Unregenerate!" anyway??
Overall... 7.5 out of 10 for "Unregenerate!"
It's been nearly two years since the last Seventh Doctor/Mel audio release from Big Finish (Flip-Flop), and despite the two previous Mel releases this year, it's testament to Langford’s Colin-Baker-like reinterpretation of the role that my heart didn't sink when Unregenerate! hit the door mat.
The first thing that catches one's eye is the excellent cover by Lee Binding. His use of contrast and the striking image of McCoy restrained in a straight-jacket while lightning forks down the other side is instantly appealing. It's odd that the cover image does seem to make a significant difference in how I approach an audio - perhaps those marketing chaps with their brand-and-package fixation are on to something!
David A McIntee's previous Big Finish work was the shorter-length play Excelis Rising, which, whilst enjoyable, didn't quite hit the mark well enough to demand a re-listen from me. Part one of "Unregenerate!" however, was instantly intriguing and soon sunk its hooks into me. In 1957, as Russia launches Sputnik, a man named Johannes Raush (Hugh Hemmings) is approached by a mysterious figure, calling himself Louis (Jamie Sandford). Louis offers him a deal - his dream life, in exchange for going with Louis the day before he dies. Fast forward to 2005, and Louis - apparently unchanged - returns to claim his part of the deal from Rausch, now a successful sculptor. The car that Louis takes Rausch away in is being followed, albeit inexpertly, by Mel. Where is the Doctor? And what does Louis want with an old man?
The instantly intriguing premise comes with a price, however. Part two, while moving along very swiftly, has some fairly clunky mechanics. At one point, Mel says "I wonder where the Doctor is...?", segueing into a scene shift in the same way my car segues into first if I don't use the clutch. Later, there are a couple of equally awkward flashbacks, and a pressure-suited expedition that stretches the audio medium beyond breaking point. There's also a scene where Mel and the Cabbie investigate the outside of the building that Louis has entered which, although entertaining, seems ultimately pointless, and contains a completely unnecessary intervention by the TARDIS.
When the action shifts away from Earth, to the secret Klyst institute, another problem becomes apparent. For most of part two and three, I found it quite hard to distinguish between Rigan (Gail Clayton) and Klyst (Jennie Linden - returning to Doctor Who forty years after "Dr Who And The Daleks") - in any audio play, that's unforgivable.
Unlike some more recent Big Finish releases, where "Unregenerate!" scores very highly is in its ability to retain interest. The plot is excellent, and ends up just about making sense (which seems unlikely, about half-way through). McCoy is better in this than he has been for some time, and Langford continues to make Mel a likeable, humane and interesting character - something that she never managed on screen at all. Also worthy of note is Toby Longworth as "The Cabbie" who despite vanishing a bit through much of part four, manages to provide a different portrayal of "common man sees aliens" which makes a welcome departure from the usual variation on slack-jawed incomprehension or hostility.
Ainsworth does a good job of both building atmosphere and (the Klyst/Rigan issue aside) keeping all the sequences clear - there's a couple of really messy fights that could have been incomprehensible, but are held together well. Overall, solid performances and the strength and pacing of the story make this into a quality release (if not 'best of the best' material), despite some of the story mechanics being a little too intrusive.
How David A McIntee who gave us the simple and atmospheric Excelis Rising could write such a confusing and thoroughly unrewarding mess like this is beyond me. It is the absolute antithesis of his debut audio, dealing with a messy storyline, frustratingly vague throughout and featuring a Doctor who fails even the basic quota as an engaging character. This is a total mess, it gave me a big fat headache and I was forced to replay explanations over and over to try and make some sense of the thing.
If there was ever an argument for never writing a story around Gallifrey (that isn’t a part of the fabulous Gallifrey series) this is it. What is it about the Time Lords that encourages writers to try and make things as complicated as possible? Why are they so obsessed with complicating the relationship between the Doctor and his people? Why are they always perceived as xenophobes, frightened of other races and their time travel ability? Why can’t they just be left alone…?
Unregenerate! is based around a decent idea but rather than explore it adequately we are treated to a four episode mystery, trying to find out what the hell is going on rather than exploiting the potentially interesting concepts. Or maybe not…is it ever a good idea to write a story around a technobabblish idea? Planting the minds of TARDISes inside people’s heads is certainly interesting enough to investigate but a bit of a no brainer. There surely must be easier ways for the Time Lords to keep track on time travelling races? Surveillance devices perhaps? How about cloning a Time Lord and and sending one copy to inveigle his way to a powerful position in the scientific circles of every civilised world so he can divert them away from Time Travel? If that sounds mind bogglingly extreme just try penetrating this audio and understanding the unethical lengths these silly scientists go to. David McIntee seems to have taken a huge dose of Lawrence Miles pills and the ideas get grander and less believable as the story progresses until the story climaxes on scenes with a character (with the brain of a TARDIS in his head) calling the TARDIS (that is the Doctor’s TARDIS) his sister!
The biggest disappointment is that McIntee has assembled some rather good elements such as a fake mental asylum on Earth, Mel and a taxi driver she happens to meet getting embroiled in the ghastly events, the Doctor going doo-lally-tat but wastes them on an inexplicable run-around. At times the story feels as though McIntee was making it up as he goes along and kept thinking up good ideas (such as the Victorian décor, the Doctor’s identity crisis and sudden appearance of the Time Lords) but fails to tie them all up into a coherent narrative. It feels totally disjointed, moving from one part of the plot to another with little warning, not sure whether the story is really about Mel and taxi mans adventures or the Doctor’s or the obscene experiments…and I felt as though my attention was being sliced up and tossed in too many directions. The plot kept heaping on more and more twists until I was totally lost and stopped paying attention.
The performances were extremely mixed but that followed the characterisation so I suppose that’s not a very fair comment. Gail Clayton was entirely the wrong person to play Rigan, a muscle brained xenophobe who thinks with her gun, because she is far too soft sounding. When she was issuing threats I couldn’t really take her seriously and in what should be a dramatic confrontation between the bully and Mel sounds more like a casual catfight. Some of her dialogue needed to be screamed and hissed but this performance was far too subdued. Jaime Sandford was similarly ineffective because he doesn’t have the splendour or richness to convince as a Time Lord scientist, he needed to be far more confident intelligent but he sounds very young and very inexperienced (that is as scientist, not an actor!). The only actor of the three Gallifreyans who stands out is Jennie Linden, flappy wristed Barbara from the first Dalek movie who gives a gravely, severe performance that struck the right balance between wisdom and uncertainty. It was her scenes that impressed me the most because she spat out the dialogue with a great degree of conviction and made Klyst a plausible, interesting character until the end.
Okay, kid gloves off. The potentially interesting idea of listening to Sylvester McCoy playing a jibbering idiot is sabotaged almost immediately when I realised that this was how he sounded much of the time anyway! Okay maybe not quite as incoherent and nutty but the way McCoy plays the spazzy Seventh Doctor is hardly that different from his regular performance, exemplified when he gets to act out a flashback scene before the Doctor lost his mind and he sounds just as hysterical and barmy! And besides listening to McCoy dribble nonsense might be interesting for the first episode but it continues into the second, and then the third and before long I was sighing and praying for some coherence from this maniacal madman. McCoy is NOT a reliable performer and perhaps getting him to stretch his wings in such a manner was not wise especially when he goes to such spazzy lengths to prove his madness. “WHEREVER YOU LAY YOUR HAT! THIS IS MY HAT! THERE! I’VE LAID IT!”
This is the fourth release to feature Bonnie Langford this year and it’s the fourth release where she threatens to be the best thing about it, giving a performance far superior to her Rrrrr rolling co-star. She strikes up a believable friendship with a nameless cabbie who, despite having some atrocious character building dialogue (and manages to take much of this incomprehensible tale in his stride), manages to be the one character who you really give a damn about. He’s a gentle giant and she’s a bubbly nerd, it sounds like a recipe for disaster but Bonnie Langford and Toby Longworth share some lovely scenes together and enjoy a relaxed chemistry that is sorely missing between the Doctor and Mel. It’s a shame Mel doesn’t really contribute much to the story besides uncovering the one hundred and seventy five mysteries, she’s really just there to mirror our reactions to the story (sheer horror!) but her presence softens the blow quite a bit. Amazing considering she used to be the worst thing about any story.
John Ainsworth is quickly becoming my favourite Big Finish director but I’m afraid he has let me down on this occasion and it is not from lack of trying. It feels as though he was really involved during the first episode but got bored (and a bit lost) after that, those first twenty five minutes are rather atmospheric (especially when the story switches from the past to the present brilliantly with contrasting music) and sets the scene well (deranged screams echo through what you think is the asylum). It all gets rather talky and static later on and there are a few moments of Gary Russell direction when the sound effects, performances and music all combine dramatically so the listener has little clue as to what is going on (the lead in to the cliffhanger of episode three is a good example). I felt little sense of scale or awe at the HUGE concepts David McIntee had thought up, as though just talking about them was impressive enough. Compare this to, say, Evelyn’s first view of the Clutch in The Sandman where there was a real sense of awe and magic and you might get what I mean.
All in all this is another uninspiring production from Big Finish. Believe it or not I was expecting great things of this audio, the cover alone got me pretty excited but after a promising first episode it descends into a tedious and confusing run-around. My patience can only stretch so far, Big Finish had better start delivering soon or I will have to sever my ties with them. And considering I am a rabidly anal collector of anything Doctor Who, no matter how unappealing, that might just show you how low this company has sunk of late.