THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
ANTHOLOGY "THE WORLD
SHAPERS" AND THE BIG
FINISH AUDIO DRAMA
"YEAR OF THE PIG."
'SLIPBACK' AUDIO CD
RELEASED IN JANUARY
someone or something
is tampering with
could not only
but destroy the past
and future history of
25TH JULY 1985 - 8TH AUGUST 1985
(6 10-MINUTE EPISODES)
Whilst Tom Baker and Elizabeth Sladen might have made a foray into the audio format with their episode of the schools programme Exploration Earth and the Argo LP “The Pescatons", this six-part adventure penned by Eric Saward was the first Doctor Who audio adventuer to be officially commissioned and broadcast by the BBC. Produced during
Doctor Who’s eighteen-month hiatus in 1985, “Slipback” was broadcast over three weeks as part of a new children’s magazine problem called Pirate Radio Four.
Unfortunately, the decision was made to divide the serial up into six episodes, each just over ten minutes in length, with two being broadcast each week. With each episode ending in a cliffhanger, there was little time available for the writer to be able to tell a good story. Moreover, for some reason Saward decided to try and make this story Doctor Who’s first outright venture into comedy, no doubt inspired by former script editor Douglas Adams' success on the radio with The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. The result is a messy and often cringeworthy story, a montage of silly voices and unbelievable characters, not a patch on even the silliness of “The Pirate Planet.”
Colin Baker is fairly impressive as the Doctor, still firmly stuck within his boisterous persona. Except when he is poorly, that is - I enjoyed the opening scene where he has a hangover! Peri does not fare quite as well in “Slipback” though, sadly without that pretty face to look at her accent becomes annoying beyond belief.
Strangely, this serial offers a different (though I suppose potentially compatible) explanation for the creation of the universe than that depicted in the (then) fairly recent story “Terminus.”
It seems that Saward could not think of a way to end his serial and so a deus ex machina climax was the best that he could come up with!
That said, with its excellent sound design this serial did pave the way for future Doctor Who radio and internet broadcast such as “The Ghosts of N-Space”, “The Paradise of Death”, “Real Time”, and “Shada”, not to mention the entire range of Big Finish audio dramas.
At the end of the day, “Slipback” is an interesting little curiosity, but I am afraid that it is something for the die-hard completists only.
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.
We have placed this radio serial between the comic strip anthology The World Shapers and the Big Finish audio drama Year of the Pig. This is because the production still uses the Peter Howell version of the series’ theme music, but Peri’s hair is longer in the cover illustration, suggesting that it is set shortly prior to the events depicted in The Trial of a Time Lord.
Also of note, the explanation for the creation of the universe given in this story is hard to reconcile with that given in Terminus. Presumably Terminus crashed into the Vipod Mor!
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.