Thursday 5 February 2015

I am a happy little fanboy (The Sixth Doctor: The Last Adventure)

I will be perfectly honest: as cool as it is that Big Finish are doing this specific project, I'm just as pleased that there'll be more Colin Baker stories this year. As heavily as Big Finish promotes their Tom Baker and Paul McGann stories by giving them series of their own, there's no doubt in my mind that Colin Baker is the jewel in their crown.

In a way Big Finish have done a rehabilitation job on every Doctor they've worked with: they made McCoy darker and less trustworthy than he could have been on TV; they've given Davison scripts that actually flatter his talents; they've totally re-worked Paul McGann's character; and they've shown what can be done with Tom Baker when he doesn't need to be placed at the centre of everything. With Colin Baker they pretty much took the concept of his character back to the drawing board, dialled back his unpleasantness and recast it as pragmatism. They've given him more mature, more complex companions and stories that lean the same way.

And now they're giving him a final story, the ending his era never got.

They are not, admittedly, the first. Gary Russell wrote a novel, Spiral Scratch, that covered the issue and there's another self-published one by Craig Hinton. Still, there's something to be said for a finale that actually stars Colin Baker. Even better they've got Michael Jayston back to play the Valeyard, the character who should have been but didn't have the chance to become Colin Baker's defining villain. Final stories are important, they offer a definitive statement on the Doctor whose era they end: Troughton's insistence that evil must be fought, Pertwee declaring that facing his fears was more important than continuing living; Davison dying to save a girl he barely knows; even Survival gives us a very intimate look into the McCoy's era's moral structure.

Quite besides that there's the simple joy of hearing Baker and India Fisher playing opposite one another again. Those were amongst my favourite Big Finish stories and, contrarian that I am, I think the Sixth Doctor/Charley team is actually better than the Eighth Doctor/Charley team.

Oh, and Jago and Litefoot are in it, always a plus.

I wonder what the Sixth Doctor's last words will be? Whatever they are they have to better than the “last words” Colin Baker got on television:

Carrot juice, carrot juice, carrot juice.”

No comments: