...a blog by Richard Flowers

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day 2942: Doctor Who 45th Anniversary – Why Was 2003 Brilliant?

It's the beginning of the end for the BBC books, as Sabbath blows the universe to smithereens and the Doctor, Fitz and Anji go galumphing through the alternatives, while the Past Doctor range takes to crossing over Doctors and slaughtering companions, though none of it will count after "Someplot Never" timewipes the lot.

Fortunately the DVD range gets into its stride, with ace releases for "Fenric", "Talons" and, best of all, the stunning CGI Dalek saucers in "The Dalek Invasion of Earth".

But the one Daddy's NEVER going to pick is…

Doctor Who – Zagreus

"Ugh! It looks like Wales!"
Bloated, self-indulgent, canon obsessed, stuffed with in-jokes (yes, like that one about Wales) and, yes, yet another attempt to "explain" the self-destruction of 1990's Doctor Who's continuity (without admitting it's because they couldn't bring themselves to play together nicely)… all these things can be fairly said of the show's Fortieth Anniversary story.

And yet, it's also rather magnificent.

Made to wait eighteen months after the apocalyptic cliff-hanger ending to the awesome "Neverland", and at the end of Big Finish's widely praised "villains" quadrille ("Omega", "Davros", "Master"…), fans' expectations could not have been higher. So OBVIOUSLY it's the JAR JAR BINKS.

But there's still much to love here: no fewer than five (yes FIVE) former Dr Whos, with they and their companions all in tumbled jumbled-up roles: Mr Dr Colin as a vampire, Mr Dr Peter as a vicar, Mr Dr Sylv as Walt Disney(!) Winkle, Ms Nicola Bryant as a mad professor, Ms Bonnie Langford as Goldilocks (with Ms Sophie Aldred and Ms Lisa "Benny" Bowerman as the animatronic animals) and an almighty villainous turn from Mr Nick "the Brigadier" Courtney.

And it may be a total fanboy moment… but the cliff-hanger ending to Part Two is just brilliant, the discordant horns of the Dark Tower telling we are returned to the realm of "The Five Doctors"…

We're on Gallifrey for one last time (well, barring the eighteen-part spin off series with Ms Lalla and Ms Louise, of course) so OBVIOUSLY there's a traitor in the Time Lords' ranks who's behind it all, but never mind that. In fact, never mind that the plot makes little or no sense whatsoever. This isn't, for once, about the story, it's about getting all these people who we know together because we love their company. And funnily enough, after Mr Dr Paul spends ages shouting away all on his own, it's only when he meets up with all the others that he realises that being Dr Who can be FUN!

Zagreus is available to buy on CD or to download as a podcast direct from Big Finish.

If you've never listened to a Big Finish adventure before… for goddess' sake don't start here; get "Jubilee" instead!

And then, in September, there is THAT news from BBC Death Zone Wales…


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