Bernice Summerfield 7.3:
The Worst Thing In The World
written by Dave Stone
Dave Stone is a funny one. I have a sort of love-hate relationship with his writing but not in the sense of some worked landing on one side and some on the other. That would be too simple an attitude to have towards The New Adventures' weirdest son, oh no. No, I tend to find his stuff a bit hard to get into but once I'm a few minutes/chapters in I start going with the flow and really enjoying it. Thus it was when I originally bought this CD: I got a couple of minutes into the Eastenders parody that opens the disc and gave up.
Then, when it was getting on for two o'clock this afternoon and I still hadn't written anything for this 30 Discs series and nothing was really grabbing me so I thought “Sod it, might as well get this one out of the way.”.
Whatever else I have to say about the story it made me realise how much I miss Jason Kane and hope that we get to see him again some day, an idea that was briefly mentioned at the end of the old Bernice box set series before they went back to being an explicit Doctor Who spin-off. I love that old chancer and his on-off relationship with Bernice that actually manages to be as entertaining whether its off or on. In this story he's being interviewed for galactic television as the director of a “xeno-porn bondage” movie because that's just the sort of thing Jason gets involved with when Benny isn't keeping him in line.
Anyway, he's being interviewed on “the Drome”: a massive self-contained corporate eco-system entirely dedicated to producing television shows. Everyone is part of the show there with actors doubling as audience members in other shows. Its all the brainchild of Marvin Glass whose brain patterns power the massive “transputer” that runs the Drome and who is inconveniently murdered a few minutes into the story providing us with plot and Jason with a reason to call in the expertise of his ex-wife.
It also gives Bernice a chance to escape the chaos of the post-Braxiatel Collection. I don't really remember the all the context (this has been sitting to one side for quite literally a couple of years) but it turns out that Bev Tarrant is not enjoying running the place after they kicked the boss out and Benny is extremely keen to have an adventure that's just fun and has nothing to do with anything.
The story that follows is one of the more batshit installments in Bernice's series as she and Jason find themselves dawn into various TV parodies as characters between more straightforward scenes of them going undercover to investigate Marvin Glass' murder. Your mileage will probably vary on this story depending on how much you enjoy really comical parodies such as, say, Bernice waking up as the heroine in a bodice ripper period drama and really, really living up to the name of the genre. Its the sort of over the top weird that one expects from Dave Stone which is either a massive selling point or a big strike against the story, in my case kind of both since it first stopped me getting into the plot and then was what kept me listening.
The end of the story promises that Benny and Jason are on their way back to the Collection to deal with ongoing plot which I am rather looking forward to because I do miss the Collection cast and I think I'll spend these next few entries polishing off season seven as listening to Ruler of the Universe reminded me how fun the Bernice Summerfield series is.