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Five Big Finish audios

I can't find my MP3 player. If any of you see it, will you let me know where it is? In the meantime I do have another five Big Finish plays to write up - four from the archives and the most recent special release. Probably as punishment for my remarks about him, three of the five are Sixth Doctor stories. Probably as further punishment, two of those three are not very good.

Something Inside brings Eight and company to a mysterious prison where the maimed survivors of a vicious conflict - the veteran psychic soldiers who were discarded after the war - are imprisoned, awaiting death or insanity. It teeters on the edge, but in the end works rather well (better than any of the other 2006 stories reviewed here).

The Nowhere Place manages to be both dull and incomprehensible, I'm afraid. Six and Evelyn are on a space freighter where the crew are mysteriously dying and there is a mysterious link to a train in England in September 1952. I didn't understand what was going on and I must say I didn't care.

The best thing about Red is Sandi Toksvig, whose society is under the control of a computer protecting it from violence. Of course, it is under threat from a) the outcasts who are still capable of violence and b) the computer going mad. The plot goes as you would expect, Sylvester McCoy does a lot of shouting and Bonnie Langford doesn't do very much. It wasn't as actively bad as the plays immediately before and after, but not great either.

I found the script and plot of The Reaping almost offensively bad. It is saved by the cast, particularly Nicola Bryant, who is given some of the worst material of her Who career to work with (and that's saying something) and mostly pulls it off. The story is that Peri discovers that her best friend's father (who is mysteriously only 40) was murdered a few months after she started travelling with the Doctor. They return to Baltimore to investigate, but it is all an absurdly complex plot by the dying Cyberleader. The Doctor delivers the Cyberleader to Mondas, leaving Peri's mother to take charge of a dangerous device, which in due course explodes killing her. Written at a time when New Who was exploring the impact of Rose's travels on her family left at home, this is an obvious attempt to reconstruct Peri's story in the same mode. It fails.

I have two freshly arrived CDs (well, I suppose three CDs but two plays) from Big Finish - The Raincloud Man in the regular series and a prequel special release, Return of the Krotons. I managed to listen to the latter before the gremlins stole my MP3 player. (Just to reinforce the point.)

The Krotons are, everyone will agree, not the greatest of Old Who monsters, but Return of the Krotons actually does a decent job of reconstructing them, fitting them also into the chronology of The Ark in Space and perhaps also The Ark. I liked the sense of the small group of people trapped by their own culture and by the growing alien menace which they won't comprehend. Nicholas Briggs does a great Kroton voice and also puts a bit more substance into the concept of the creatures. I enjoyed it. (And Charley gets to make the Kroton/crouton joke.)

So in summary, Something Inside and Return of the Krotons are good; skip the others (though fans of Sandi Toksvig can make an exception for Red).

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