“I don’t care if we’re in orbit, this place stinks – literally and metaphorically!”
The Sylvester McCoy Doctor and Ace (Sophie Aldred) land on a rather fragrant starship occupied by some…well, alien pigs.
Suddenly, our intrepid duo find themselves smack dab in the middle of one of those old Choose Your Own Adventure books…
“Oh, I’ve waited for this…The Doctor and his companion, mine to command!”
“What shall we do?”
“Hmm…well, we need a hand in Admin, the filing system’s getting out of control…”
“…Who would you rather follow? If you’re interested in Ace’s adventures in Admin, go to track 15 and join her in the office. But if you’d rather experience The Doctor’s surgical procedures, go to track 16.”
John Dorney works up a rather silly bit of inside joke business for the old school tabletop gamer and has some fun at the expense of a new, rather inept race of alien would-be invaders. You choose your own adventure path…You Are The Doctor!
“He said you practically defeat yourselves!”
“Got that wrong, didn’t he?”
Kim Wall pulls off a rather Nabil Shabanlike turn as Chimbly, Amrita Acharia puts in a sympathetic turn with just a few lines as the Resurrectionist, and it’s certainly a bit of a piss take on an odd but fondly remembered piece of 80’s nostalgia. Good for a few laughs, to be sure.
Then we give a tip of a cocked fedora to Sinatra, when Jamie Anderson invites us to Come Fly With Me…
Sorry ’bout that…
“An old country house, a dinner, a scream, an ever decreasing number of dinner guests…”
In Come Die With Me, The Doctor and Ace find themselves time scooped into the middle of a murder mystery, straight up template Agatha Christie style.
“I’ve been here for a little over three years. We have twelve guests every weekend, so…”
“I get the feeling, Mr. Norris, that there might be a slightly biased element to your game.”
Juliet Cowan does the Upstairs Downstairs thing as only semi-voluntary housekeeper Mrs. Bryer, Oliver Dimsdale offers another doddering, stuffy intellectual in the unfortunate Morecombe Unwise and an unfortunately uncredited fellow offers a rather posh yet sinister Mr. Edwin Norris.
As you can tell from the names, there are some famed personages being tapped here, and one wonders if a certain British philologist is getting the piss taken out of him herein…
It’s short and a bit slight on happenstance, but both script and performances bear the appropriate cozy manor feel of Christie. Another winner.
“Room service, I presume – I wanted to talk to someone about the towels.”
Ace finds herself on trial for a burglary attempt at a flash casino for the uber-rich. But did she and The Doctor do it?
“Who’d stick up a hotel laundry?”
“Someone who wanted to make a clean getaway?”
There’s more going on here than at first appears, and a sadly all too typical case of oppression, cruelty and class warfare taking place at this state-run gambling den…
“This hotel needs new management.”
“The Doctor will make it right. He’s broken into way more places than I have…and I grew up in Perivale.”
A surprisingly dark and depressing bit addressing some increasingly relevant social justice concerns, Christopher Cooper’s Grand Betelgeuse Hotel is something of an ill fit for what has thus far been a fairly lighthearted collection of short adventures.
It’s all very Who, but among its companions here, despite a few amusing lines and some obvious real world parallels and applications, this one really feels like it came flying in out of left field…
“Mervyn’s been my rock. He’s got such wisdom and life experience…an’ a nice bum for a man of his age.”
Then a rather Fliplike Cynthia Quince (Vinette Robinson) turns up as one of the survivors of a liquification plague aboard space tour-cruiser Daedalus.
Can The Doctor save the Earth from the hostile takeover of the Galparians?
“So what are they, then? Conquerors? Killer robots, what?”
“Worse than that. Estate agents.
…They want to sell this world, as they have hundreds of thousands of others.”
“They can’t, it’s ours!”
“Can you prove that? Do you have any official documentation?”
Matthew Elliott gives us a decent bit of mystery in space, combined with some wry commentary on what passes for the ‘morality’ of modern day capitalism and even a bit of a catfight between the saucy fish n’ crisps Quince and the rather fascistic Captain Beauvais (Juliet Cowan). What’s not to love?
“Ladies, there’s no need to fight over me.”
A fairly excellent compilation of short stories, three of which are suffused with good humor and an pleasantly light entertainment vibe (and hey, the other would work just fine as a standalone tale or with a more serious set of Who adventures…just stands out as a seriously square peg herein), You Are The Doctor is well worth the Who fan’s time, particularly for fellow aficionados of the McCoy/Aldred era and audios.