THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
NOVEL "KILLING GROUND"
AND THE BIG FINISH
STEPHEN COLE &
BIG FINISH CD#51
RELEASED IN NOVEMBER
There's one place in
creation where the
truth really can be
found in the bottom of
a glass: Bianca's.
The Doctor, careworn
and seeking quiet
admission. But his
rest and relaxation
is soon shattered by
the wobbly arrival
of louche trans-
The Doctor soon
learns that Bianca's
airs and graces
cover not just one
lurking in the
several. And a
presence has designs
on the clientele just
as Bianca herself has
designs on the Doctor.
At last, after so
many centuries, the
weary Time Lord is
dragged by the heels
into that darkest of
“The Wormery” is a story that is quite out there in Doctor Who terms, but being the first release to follow “Zagreus” it feels positively traditional! If you take Stephen Cole and Paul Magrs' “boozy celebration” of the show’s fortieth anniversary as it was intended (with a
pinch of salt) then there is a hell of a lot to like about it.
As the cover proudly boasts, Katy Manning returns to reprise her role of “Trans-temporal Adventuress” Iris Wildthyme. Manning once again provides a suitably over the top, irritating and really quite loveable performance all at once, and the central ‘love triangle’ between the Doctor, Bianca and herself proves quite amusing without undermining the fundamental tenets of the Doctor’s character. On top of that, we get to hear Iris drunkenly crooning into the microphone and pay witness to a mammoth piss-up…
I found that Iris’ relationship with the sixth Doctor here makes for more interesting drama than it did with the fifth back in “Excelis Dawns” as, despite mellowing tremendously, deep down Colin Baker’s Doctor is still Colin Baker’s Doctor, and he just will not tolerate Iris in the same way that his predecessors (or indeed his successors) would!
The play also conjures up some wonderful imagery. We have Iris Wildthyme and her Big
Red Bus of a TARDIS, a wonderfully atmospheric 1930s club with a twist, and tequila worms who are trans-dimensional beings! On top of all that we have a more subdued, sullen and darker Doctor – a sixth Doctor that is taking his first steps towards becoming the seventh…
Moreover, much like the recent “Master” audio, this story benefits tremendously from having a narrator. Many years after the events of this story, Jane MacFarlane’s character of Mickey tells the story of what happened to a Mr Ashcroft… a surprisingly familiar face who like her, has a certain Scottish burr to his voice…
However, the meat of “The Wormery” is (admittedly) a carbon copy of the latter episodes of “The Trial of a Time Lord,” the only difference being that the onus is shifted from the Doctor and the Valeyard onto Iris and Bianca. Just as the Valeyard is the Doctor’s potential future self (a distillation of all the evil that lurks within his soul), Bianca is a twisted future
incarnation of Iris. The events of his trial still recent, even the Doctor has to point out the similarity and accuses Iris of “plagiarism!” It is a good job that she did not get started about her adventure in the Death Zone with her other selves here, otherwise the Doctor may well have snapped!
All things considered, “The Wormery” is a nice little addition to the sixth Doctor's canon. Baker’s most recent play, “Davros,” was a near impossible act to follow and so Big Finish have sensibly opted not to compete with it by in contrast making “The Wormery” a more colourful and amusing piece, a little bit of comic relief after the impossibly heavy ‘Villains’ trilogy and “Zagreus.”
Nothing profound or mind-blowing, just a bit of good old fashioned fun. Just what the Doctor ordered!
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.
This play’s blurb suggests that it takes place between the television stories The Trial of a Time Lord and
Time and the Rani. As the story sees Old Sixy ravaged by post-Trial blues, we have placed it as soon after the events of The Trial of the Time Lord as possible (the tight continuity between The Trial of a Time Lord
and Time of Your Life obviated any earlier placement).
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