‘THE ONE DOCTOR’
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“Citizens of Generios! You will listen!”
There can be only one Doctor, can there? Well, think again!
This is ‘The One Doctor’, a four-part story by Clayton Hickman and Gareth Roberts, starring Colin Baker, Bonnie Langford and Christopher Biggins. I found this a very fascinating if wacky tale for the Christmas holidays. It’s a cracking romp of an adventure that is full of laughs and stoic proportions.
I heard about this story in a trailer on ‘Primeval’ with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa. I purchased this audio as part of a Big Finish sale back in April 2012 when they were re-selling monthly range stories from #1 to #50 at giveaway prices. I had a good time listening to the Sixth Doctor and Mel in this stylish adventure.
‘The One Doctor’ is an adventure about the Doctor and Mel arriving at the ‘vulgar end of time’ in the Generios system. They arrive on a planet where the population has been saved by some strange terrible menace called the Skelloids. But who has saved them? It was the Doctor apparently. Hey?!
The Doctor happens to be Christopher Biggins as Banto Zane. The ‘real’ Doctor is determined to expose him as a fraud with Mel’s help. The two groups of Doctors and companions have to work together as a Cylinder voice comes to attack the Generios system and demand for three treasures.
This story predates ‘The Next Doctor’ with David Tennant. It became the inspiration for that particular Christmas special, but it’s nothing like what this story turned out to be. This audio adventure has the comedic flavour and the style of the Doctor and Mel stories from Season 23 and 24.
It was great to hear Colin Baker as the Doctor in this. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Colin at a number of conventions. I loved his relationship with Mel and I really liked that first scene where they’re playing Monopoly at the beginning. He becomes so menacing whilst she ridicules him.
I liked Colin’s banter with Christopher Biggins’ ‘Doctor’. They’re both rivals with each other and are pretty funny when they bicker with Mel and Sally-Anne telling them to shut up. Colin is able to portray a more comedic flavour and edge to his Doctor, rather than the brash and hyper-mad attitude.
Bonnie Langford is great to listen to as Melanie Bush. She gets to do a story that’s suited to her pantomime performances. But she doesn’t scream at all in these audios which is reassuring. She seems strong and forthright when dealing with situations, even as she teams up with Banto Zane.
I found that moment sweet and funny when Mel tells Banto about a musical play performance that she took part in for old age pensioners at Pease Pottage in order to reassure him not to lose hope, even though none of the pensioners turned up. Bonnie is very good as Mel and was a pleasure to listen to.
Christopher Biggins as Banto Zane is really funny. Banto’s a con man who tries to get a great reward from the people of Generios for defeating the Skelloids at the beginning. He and his companion Sally-Anne are in on this con together, having won favour with the councillor and the planet’s people.
When the great threat turns up, Banto’s fraud becomes evident and he and the Doctor are at odds with each other when they’re on a quest to retrieve the three greatest treasures of Generios. Biggins is a great character actor who played the Doctor that never was and he also played Emperor Nero at one time.
I liked Clare Buckfield as Sally-Anne Stubbins, the unlucky in love companion. She’s with Banto’s fake Doctor and the two of them bicker with each other, despite winning on some big game with the Generios planet they’re on. Sally-Anne doesn’t get the love and attention she deserves from Banto.
Sally-Anne is quickly enamoured with the real Doctor when she meets him. I found that moment really sweet and funny when Sally Anne’s checking the Doctor’s hearts in his chest and a while later she’s still clinging to his chest. “You can let go now”, says the Doctor gently. It was a sweet moment.
The fake Doctor has his own SARDIS. Is it a police box like the Doctor’s TARDIS? Not really. It’s actually a portaloo that looks like a police box. I found it strange and amusing when Banto’s SARDIS makes a flushing noise when it goes like the Doctor’s TARDIS. It’s smaller inside than on the outside.
Matt Lucas (of ‘Little Britain’ fame and later as Nardole with Peter Capaldi’s Doctor) guest stars in this adventure. He does two voices in this story. He’s the sinister Cylinder Voice that threatens the Generios system for the tribute of three treasures. He’s also the squishy lumbering Jelliod in ‘Part Four’ of the story. I found Matt Lucas’ Cylinder Voice so menacing.
Adam Buxton (of ‘Adam and Joe’ fame) guest stars as one of the Assemblers with Stephen Fewell. They instruct Mel and Banto to build the shelves of infinity. Those Assembler voices are pretty comedic, but they are pretty mean to Mel and Banto when they do the DIY stuff in this adventure.
The quest for the three treasures is spread out in three episodes. The Doctor, Mel, Banto and Sally-Anne start the quest in ‘Part Two’ and get spilt up for two treasures first. I liked it when Mel teams up with Banto and Sally-Anne teams up with the Doctor as both groups are interesting and different.
The three treasures include ‘the Shelves of Infinity’, ‘Mentos’ and the ‘Lonely Jelliod’. The Shelves of Infinity are where Mel and Banto are instructed by the Assemblers to do some DIY work for them. The building of shelves for Mel and Banto becomes endless as some pieces aren’t in the right order.
Mentos is actually where the Doctor and Sally-Anne come across a game of ‘The Weakest Link’ conducted by Jane Goddard as the Anne Robinson-like Questioner. She questions Nicholas Pegg as Mentos who has to answer every question by her until he gets a question wrong to end the game.
The Lonely Jelliod is a big lumbering creature (voiced by Matt Lucas) who manages to eat the Doctor at the end of ‘Part Three’ before spitting him out like Jonah and the Whale. The Doctor gets covered in slime. Soon the Doctor, Mel, Banto and Sally-Anne need something valuable from the Jelliod.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 2, there are no trailers for any ‘Doctor Who’ stories by Big Finish. But there are a number of extra scenes. You have to wait after a five minute silence.
Firstly, there’s a lovely Christmas scene with the Doctor and Mel in the TARDIS as they’re having a lovely nut-roast and celebrating Christmas. They also watch the Queen’s speech on the Time-Space Visualiser from ‘The Chase’ and Colin Baker also wishes ‘a Merry Christmas to all of us at home!’
Secondly, there’s a run of ‘Weakest Link’-style questions in a quiz between the Questioner and Mentos which seemed to be going on forever, despite some of the questions and answers being very amusing in Douglas Adams style. The last track does end on an amusing note before the CD finishes.
‘The One Doctor’ is a quirky audio drama with lots of laughs and thrills. Some of its comedic and bizarre, but I enjoyed listening to the Doctor and Mel on a quest to save the universe before time runs out. This is a tickly tummy-like romp that is full of fun and one worth enjoying over Christmas.
‘The One Doctor’ rating – 8/10
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