THIS EPISODE TAKES
OF THE DEAD" AND
BIG FINISH CD#123
RELEASED IN JULY 2009.
On the planet Entusso,
the Doctor and Fitz
investigate ADI - A
one-stop shop for
But which is the
the hideous Vermin
Queens or ADI itself?
Of the four one-off episodes that comprise The Company of Friends, like many I
was looking forward to Fitz Kreiner’s instalment the most. The beating heart of BBC Books’ long-running eighth Doctor series, this chain-smoking, womanising out-and-out bloke quickly endeared himself to the range’s devoted readers, ensuring that he remained by the eighth Doctor’s side until The Gallifrey Chronicles, the final book in the series, clocking up over fifty appearances in all.
And right from his pre-title soliloquy, Matt di Angelo (EastEnders, Hustle) nails Fitz flaw-lessly. Aided and abetted by some truly redolent cockney dialogue (“…how a skinny little ‘erbert like me could make a difference. Plus, what a fantastic way of impressing the birds”) courtesy of the character’s co-creator Stephen Cole, di Angelo really manages to capture the comedy of the character. A few of Fitz’s less laudable (but wholly relatable!) traits are also quite prominent here, but they are presented in such a way as to flow from the humour, and will doubtless serve only to further endear him to listeners.
As was the case with Benny’s Story, the plot of this twenty-five skit is light and frivolous –
but tremendous fun. Having discovered that his likeness is being used as the face of Alien Defence Incorporated (essentially the planet Entusso’s tawdry, “rapid response helpline” version of UNIT) the Doctor asks Fitz to discredit him in front of the populous – something that Fitz seems to take undue pleasure in doing…
McGann and di Angelo work very together in the scenes that they share, however the story does see the pair separated for the most part; Fitz’s thread of the plot mainly seeing him do what he does best, chasing Fenella Woolgar’s (The Unicorn and the Wasp) Commander Hellan Femor, Su Douglas’ Gem Weston and indeed anything else in a skirt, albeit to no avail.
throne” as he claims, Matt di Angelo’s Fitz Kreiner is certainly
a welcome addition to the eighth Doctor’s audio adventures,
and I really hope that we haven’t heard the last of him. I have no
doubt that Big Finish could go on indefinitely creating new and
wonderful companions like Charley Pollard, C’rizz and Lucie
Miller, but even so I think it’s fair to say that many listeners (me
included) would be just as happy if they were to dip into the
existing canon of companions every once in a while. If their
output can stretch to producing unmade television scripts and
even adapting stage plays, I can see no reason why Big Finish
can’t turn to Doctor Who’s vast and well-respected literature store for inspiration.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2009
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
As an enthusiastic reader of the BBC eighth Doctor Books, I’ve always had a soft spot for Fitz. He’s a perfect example of how most of us would be in the world of time travel and intergalactic adventure: flawed, often careless and concerned with the smaller points of life, rather than living solely for the TARDIS life. Yet he’s the sort of man who does what he can, and most of the time, comes through. Fitz’s Story captures him well, not too surprisingly, since it’s written by his creator, Stephen Cole. There’s always a strange moment of adjust-ment when you see or hear a character brought to life when you’ve only previously read their exploits in books; the voice in your head will never be what makes it into the dramatisations. That said, Matt diAngelo gets Fitz pretty much spot on. He’s perhaps a bit more Cocker-
nee than I expected, but the lazy, roguish charm is all there. He sparks off McGann very
well indeed, and his scenes with Fenella Woolgar’s character Hellan Femor also sparkle.
Sadly, the story itself is pretty flimsy, but there are some fine comedy moments – especially as he convinces a world that the Doctor is nothing more than his overexcited mate John – and the performances and characters make up for the limited plot to form a good listening experience.
Copyright © Daniel Tessier 2009
Daniel Tessier has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
The second episode in The Company of Friends is Stephen Cole’s Fitz’s Story.
The tale starts off with a television advertisement featuring what sounds like the Doctor for Alien Defence Incorporated; a one-stop shop for protection against extra-terrestrial invasion. The question is, which is the greatest menace - the hideous Vermin Queens or ADI itself?
Fitz Kreiner, who first appeared in Michael Collier’s 1999 novel Doctor Who and the Taint
is possibly the best remembered companion of the Doctor Who novels (save for Bernice, obviously). Portraying the beloved scruffy git here is Matt di Angelo, best known for his roles as Sean Kennedy in the BBC series Hustle and as Deano Wicks in the long-running soap opera EastEnders. And I’m pleased to say that his portrayal of Fitz is marvellous, right from his “Kreiner... Fitz Kreiner” intro to his delusions about being a ladies’ man (which he most certainly is not). He and Paul McGann’s eighth Doctor make an excellent combination on audio and this reviewer really wouldn’t mind hearing more of the pairing in the future. Sound designer David Darlington says it best in the CD Extras when he says that a character who likes to lounge around and look at women’s butts rings a lot truer than a certain Samantha Jones ever did. Ironically though, Sam is mentioned in the episode, together with Anji, who
it seems was asleep throughout the entire story!
The rest of the cast is superb with Fenella Woolgar (The Unicorn and the Wasp) as Hellan Femor, a character who fools the listener into thinking that she’s a bad guy but really isn’t once the monsters appear. Su Douglas and Paul Thornley also fare well as Gem Weston and Michael Rond.
Filled with an excellent cast and marvellous dialogue, Fitz’s Story is an absolute must.
Copyright © Kory Stephens 2009
Kory Stephens 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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