THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE BIG
FINISH AUDIO DRAMA
AND THE TELEVISION
STORY "DELTA AND
BIG FINISH CD#46
RELEASED IN JULY 2003.
Christmas Eve in the
year 3060, and the
planet Puxatornee is
home to a prosperous
Christmas Eve in the
year 3090, and the
has changed beyond
Flip-Flop is certainly innovative. One black disc housing two episodes, one white disc housing two episodes, and it doesn’t matter which way round they’re listened to – not just because they form a cohesive story either way around, but because both two-part tales are set in the same place at the same time, in two different time lines. Confused? You will
be – it’s one of those stories.
I’m a big fan of paradox stories, and Big Finish seem to do them better than the television series ever did. The Marian Conspiracy and The Fires of Vulcan were two of the most impressive early Big Finish releases, both of them fine examples of this type of story. Flip-Flop has all the cleverness of both these adventures, and on top of that a unique gimmick. Moreover, like all Jonathan Morris’ works, Flip-Flop is well-written and boasts well-defined, desperate characters living in a vividly depicted world. In this case, Morris presents us with Puxatornee, a world ablaze with racial tension as the humans and Slithergees – “a race of obsequious alien slugs” – live in anxious peace.
The story is ostensibly quite humorous, but the subject matter is very dark and contentious. The Slithergees using humans as guide dogs may sound a little silly, but it’s actually quite satirical, encapsulating the writer’s views on political correctness having gone mad, and positive discrimination having become a weapon. It’s wry, inspiring stuff, it has to be said.
Sylvester McCoy puts in a great
performance too, free from his
usual Season 24 trappings. As
was the case with The Fires of
Vulcan, here the seventh Doctor
isn’t forced into being the spoon-
playing jester that one generally
pictures by Melanie Bush’s side.
Consequently, Bonnie Langford
is allowed to play Melanie as a
person as opposed to a cartoon. Indeed, the Mel of these audio
dramas is now well on her way to becoming much more than just an irritating template with ‘contemporary, screaming female companion’ sketched lightly on the surface.
One thing that Flip-Flop inevitably lacks though is resolution - it’s a story without beginning
or end. After listening to both versions of events, the Doctor and Mel depart in the TARDIS, the listener none-the-wiser as to which timeline will stand… if one actually does, that is. The Doctor and Mel might go round and round forever in a two-episode time-loop...
In summary, Flip-Flip has to be praised for pushing the envelope and succeeding in giving us something unique: a very, very enjoyable story which despite a daft name and a deceptive cover is actually rather a dark and caustic tale.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
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