STORY PLACEMENT

 THIS STORY TAKES

 PLACE BETWEEN THE

 BIG FINISH AUDIO

 DRAMAS "THE SONG

 OF MEGAPTERA" AND

 "WHISPERS OF TERROR."

 

 PRODUCTION CODE

 6Y/A/H

 

 WRITTEN BY

 INGRID PITT &

 TONY RUDLIN

 

 DIRECTED BY

 JOHN AINSWORTH

 

 WORKING TITLE

 THE MACROMEN

 

 RECOMMENDED 

 PURCHASE

 BIG FINISH 'LOST

 STORIES' CD#1.8

 (ISBN 1-84435-451-1)

 RELEASED IN JUNE 2010.

 

 BLURB  

 The TARDIS LANDS

 ON BOARD the USS

 Eldridge after

 the Philadelphia

 Experiment has gone

 disastrously wrong.

 

 Most of the crew are

 dead and the Doctor

 soon realiSes that

 the problem comes

 from a DIFFERENT

 dimension…

 

 As they attempt to

 find a way to get the

 ship home, the Doctor

 and Peri visit Capron

 and meet Osloo, its

 tyrannical ruler.

 

 But the search for a

 solution only creates

 increasingly TERRIBLE

 problems. Osloo's

 horizons have been

 widened – and space

 and time are hers for

 the taking…

 

 

 PREVIOUS                                                                                  NEXT

 

The Macros

JUNE 2010

(2 55-MINUTE EPISODES)

 

 

                                                       

 

 

The last of Old Sixy’s Lost Stories comes from the pens of buxom horror star Ingrid Pitt and her partner Tony Rudlin. After appearing in the fifth Doctor serial Warriors of the Deep, the seductive Queen of Horror quickly put pen to paper and submitted a number of story ideas to the production office, one of which - The Macromen – was commissioned for Season 22 before eventually being dropped, for what this release suggests might have been budgetary reasons. But more than twenty-five years and two hard drive crashes later, the late withdrawal of Michael Feeney Callan and his Children of January from Big Finish’s inaugural Lost Stories run finally offered The Macros a chance to see daylight.

 

Like many of Doctor Who’s most memorable stories, Pitt and Rudlin’s adventure offers a science fiction explanation for a real life mystery – in this case, the disappearance of the American naval destroyer, the USS Eldridge, which was lost during the Second World War in what conspiracy theorists claim was an “invisibility experiment” gone awry. However, as fascinating a starting point as this “Philadelphia Experiment” is, The Macros never really gets out of first gear. The opening scenes set on board the Eldridge are suitably spooky

and evocative, but once the story’s extra-dimensional antagonists are introduced, matters are soon drawn into a quite mechanical and unsurprising rut. This is a real shame, as the fate of the Eldridge is wonderful Who fodder, as is the great idea of microscopic humanoid creatures from an infinitesimal universe encroaching upon ours. Regrettably though, there is something lacking in the execution - something nebulous, but nonetheless something key.

 

© Big Finish Productions 2010. No copyright infringement is intended.

 Above: A wonderful catalyst for the mind’s eye... the striking graphic design of Alex Mallinson

 

It doesn’t take long for the Doctor to work out that the Eldridge’s power is being inadvertently drained by a microscopic universe and make his over way there to ask them nicely to stop. But when he arrives, he isn’t a giant – a ‘Macro’, as it were - he just fiddles with the TARDIS controls and alters his and Peri’s dimensions to suit the divergent universe. And whilst this admittedly leads to a dramatic cliffhanger and even rather a neat climax, I couldn’t help but feel that one of the story’s chief opportunities had been missed.

 

With no discernable size difference

between the humans and the people

of the microscopic universe, there is

nothing to set them apart beyond the

audible fact that one lot speak with

Baltimore accents, and the other in

the Queen’s English. The characters

on the Eldridge’s side of the rift are little more convincing than their miniature counterparts,

who for the most part comprise a generic bunch of despots and would-be rebels. The only

‘Micro’ to really stand out is Linda Marlowe’s Presidenta Osloo, and that’s only because her

outrageously hammy traits completely overwhelm all opposition.

 

For their part, Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant acquit

themselves admirably, although the script isn’t kind

to their characters at all. Sixy is unusually meek, not

to mention ineffectual. In The Macros, the Doctor has

the knowledge, but doesn’t seem to be able to put it

to good use – he’s too busy getting himself locked up

or trying to rely on hand-written notes to save the day.

And Peri fares worse still: at times, the young botanist

is portrayed as being painfully naïve – her degradation

before Osloo stands out in particular – whilst at others

she’s pushy and gung-ho, be it through marching up to

the Presidenta’s guard demanding entry to the palace

or racing straight out of the TARDIS before the Doctor               Above: Ingrid Pitt, the original Vamp

has re-stabilised her dimensions.

 

The production itself, however, is another matter. Richard Fox and Lauren Yason’s sound design is one of The Macros greatest triumphs - the electro-score is 1980s Who though

and through, and the effects themselves do a magnificent job of helping to create stunning images in the listener’s mind. They are aided in doing so, as ever, by the striking graphic design of Alex Mallinson, whose CD booklet centrefold once again serves as a wonderful catalyst for the mind’s eye.

 

In the end though, the sixth Doctor’s Lost Stories season has saved one if its worst offerings for last, serving up an audio that, whilst far from being poor, leaves an awful lot to be desired – rather like many 1980s Doctor Who serials. There’s an irony there, somewhere.

 

Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2010

 

E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

Unless otherwise stated, all images on this site are copyrighted to the BBC and are used solely for promotional purposes.

Doctor Who is copyright © by the BBC. No copyright infringement is intended.