THIS EPISODE TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE BIG
FINISH / BBC7 RADIO
DRAMAS "PHOBOS" AND
BIG FINISH BBC7 CD#6
RELEASED IN JUNE 2007.
WHAT LINKS A BROKEN
spaceship to a posh
garden party, where
a wealthy couple are
love for each other
the Doctor and Lucie
think they know the
answer. But they're
not the only uninvited
No More Lies
4TH FEBRUARY 2007
The penultimate story in BBC7’s eighth Doctor season couldn’t be more different
to last week’s futuristic instalment, Phobos. Penned by Paul Sutton, acclaimed author of two emotionally-wrought stories for Big Finish’s monthly range, No More Lies is a Doctor Who adventure that seamlessly fuses science-fiction with hard-hitting human drama.
Initially, I found Sutton’s narrative quite difficult to follow. Joining the fray part-way through an adventure is a difficult enough device to execute successfully on television, and on audio it is inevitably far more difficult. However, it didn’t take long for the dust to settle and for me to find my bearings. Nick - mad temporal scientist from the future – tries to kill the Doctor and Lucie just as they are about to thwart one of his dastardly schemes. They survive and are flung into the vortex. Nick suffers a similar fate, thrown back in time and marooned on contemporary Earth where he meets a young lady, decides that he’s had enough of being a mad temporal scientist, repents, marries, cheats, apologises… and lives a normal, untidy, human life.
But then his wife, Rachel, gets cancer, and like many a tragic protagonist before him, Nick can’t bear to be without his love… and so he time loops her. And himself. And her brother. And every bugger else. His decaying time loop eventually creates a weak spot in time which attracts the Vortisaurs (à la the Reapers in Father’s Day) as well as a marauding alien race and, of course, the Doctor and Lucie. Astonishingly though, Sutton’s multifaceted plot works extremely well, and I soon found that not only could I follow it, but also be entertained; even moved by it.
One of the things that seems to
set these BBC7 episodes apart
from regular Big Finish releases
is the quality and freshness of
the cast. I’m not for a moment
knocking the remarkable talents
of the regular Big Finish troupe, but after getting on for a century
of monthly releases their voices
are beginning to sound all too familiar. And here both Nigel Havers and Julia McKenzie give
exceptional performances as the two elderly lovers, injecting the production with a real touch of class.
I’m sure that many fans will also welcome the casting of Tom Chadbon, who of course played the inglorious Duggan in the classic serial City of Death, as Rachel’s brother Gordon. Whilst his character in No More Lies is nowhere near as conceptually brilliant as Douglas Adams’ oafishly endearing detective, Chadbon acquits himself very well here and even manages to steal the show with the best line of the piece:
THE DOCTOR I thought you wanted to save the world?
GORDON I just didn’t envisage saving it by riding bareback on a pterodactyl named Margaret.
Turning to the regulars, Sheridan Smith is once again fabulous as Lucie Miller – so fabulous in fact, that at times she overshadows the Doctor with her overbearing personality. In fact, No More Lies could be her strongest outing yet – Smith has really settled into the character now, and in this episode Lucie maintains a delicate balance between being wilful and feisty, yet still having her head screwed on. As such it’s regrettable that the series has to come to an end in just a fortnight’s time; it feels like Big Finish are right on the cusp of hitting paydirt with this duo, and with another seven weeks or so, instead of just another two, they could really do some great things.
Finally, I couldn’t possibly write a review of No More Lies without mentioning the direction of Barnaby Edwards and the delicate, evocative score and sound design by ERS. The whole production is simply breathtaking. There’s even a Hungarian song!
On the whole then, No More Lies has proven to be the highlight of the season for me thus far. I don’t know about you, but a small cast of characters; a country mansion; a failing time loop; and some alien dinosaurs is just what I needed to stave off those Sunday blues.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2007
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
The Doctor’s mention of having a pet Vortisaur is a reference to Ramsay, who travelled with him in his initial few adventures alongside Charley Pollard, meaning that this run of eighth Doctor and Lucie adventures must take place after The Girl Who Never Was.
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