Monday, November 26, 2012

The One Doctor

Certainly, there has been plenty of humor in the current and classic series of Doctor Who. This story, which was the first by Big Finish to reunite Colin Baker and Bonnie Langford as the 6th Doctor and Mel, is an outright silly story. It was brave of Big Finish to commission such an outright funny story where the plot is just a means to a comedic end. But, the story works brilliantly and is peppered with many laugh out loud moments.

The plot centers around a con-man (and his female partner in crime) pretending to be the Doctor. He and his "companion" show up on a planet where they create a hoax invasion which of course "The Doctor" repels. After much cajoling "The Doctor" reluctantly agrees to a substantial reward. However, before the two impostors can escape with their ill begotten loot, the real Doctor and Mel show up and then a genuine alien menace arrives and threatens the planet. It's up to the Doctor, Mel, Banto Zame (the fake Doctor), and Sally-Anne (Banto's partner in crime) to sort out the very real alien threat. The aliens demand, as tribute, the three greatest treasures of the Generios System. And so our four heroes are off to acquire these "great" treasures before time runs out and the entire Generios System is wiped out.

I don't want to go into any more details of the story, as I really don't want to spoil any of the gags, but suffice it to say, this story is hilarious. The Doctor's reaction to finding Banto pretending to be him (with certain key facts wrong) is hilarious. The competition between Mel and Sally Anne as effective companions is delightful. The Doctor and Banto's heated argument is fantastic. And of course the hunts for the treasures are loaded with general silliness. The four principal members of the cast, are just terrific. Christopher Biggins is fantastic as Banto. His fake portrayal of the Doctor is almost believable as a future incarnation. It's just a pushed a bit too far with the results cracking me up. You just can't help but love Banto! Claire Buckfield as the oversexed Sally Anne is priceless too. Her shameless flirting with the Doctor manages to occasionally rattle the mostly unflappable Doctor and irritate Mel to no end. The three quests fly by in a laughter filled blur. But, best of all, the payoff as to why real aliens would show up immediately after Banto repelled the fake aliens is completely logical (and still quite funny).

I'll reiterate that it was brave for Big Finish to do a story this silly, as it could have easily backfired and drawn the ire of fans who take Doctor Who so seriously (I admit to occasionally being among their number). I am sure it's gratifying to writers Gareth Roberts and Clayton Hickman that it's remained a very popular story. It's no wonder that Big Finish enlisted them to do a sequel that doesn't quite work as well - but we'll cover that one later. Suffice it to say, that "The One Doctor" proves that even completely silly Doctor Who stories can still rank among the best.


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