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Ninexie with the Sixth Doctor and Constance
This ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventure has a sweet but sad love story featured in it.
‘Absolute Power’ is a four-part adventure written and directed by Jamie Anderson. Jamie Anderson is the son of Gerry Anderson, the creator of ‘Thunderbirds’. I’ve heard a number of ‘Doctor Who’ audios directed by Jamie Anderson. I’ve enjoyed the ‘Doctor Who’ stories that he himself directed. 🙂
They include the audio adaptation of ‘Cold Fusion’ as well as ‘The Waters of Amsterdam’ and ‘The Peterloo Massacre’ with Peter Davison’s Doctor. In the Colin Baker vein, he previously directed ‘Order of the Daleks’. Here, Jamie gets the chance to pen and direct his own Sixth Doctor adventure.
Jamie has written a ‘Doctor Who’ story before. In the ‘You Are The Doctor and Other Stories’ anthology, he wrote ‘Come Die With Me’. At the time of this review, this is the first and only time so far that Jamie Anderson has written and directed a four-part audio story for Big Finish Productions. 🙂
I’m not sure if Jamie is better at directing ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventures as opposed to writing them. Don’t get me wrong, ‘Absolute Power’ is a good yarn, but it’s like with Peter Grimwade. The stories he directs can often be the best ones over the stories that he’s written for the series itself. 😐
With that said, it’s interesting how Jamie writes for the Sixth Doctor and Constance as a TARDIS duo. Having worked with them already in ‘Order of the Daleks’, he knows the characters pretty well, though I’m not sure if he wrote ‘Absolute Power’ first before he got to direct ‘Order of the Daleks’. 😐
It’s also interesting how Colin Baker’s Doctor and Miranda Raison’s Constance have gelled well as a TARDIS duo. According to Colin Baker, Constance puts the Doctor in his place when they’re having adventures. The Doctor also has to call her ‘Mrs. Clarke’ whilst everyone else can call her ‘Constance’.
The story has the Sixth Doctor and Constance visiting the planet Teymah. On the planet, a galactic entrepreneur called Lyam Yce hopes to learn the reason behind why the ancient Teymahrians went extinct. He funds a huge archaeological dig which uncovers a strange sphere that keeps dark secrets.
It’s not a Sontaran sphere thankfully. When the TARDIS duo come to Teymah, the Doctor gets Constance, a former Bletchley Park cryptographer to translate symbols written in the lost ancient language of the Teymahrians. It isn’t long till the menace of the Ninexie is released from the sphere.
Now to give credit to Jamie Anderson, his storytelling is decent. I like the ideas he brings across to the table, especially with the Teymahrians, the Ninexie and having Constance using her cryptography skills to decipher symbols in some odd ancient language, thanks to the TARDIS’ translation circuits. 🙂
The storytelling is pretty linear. With that said, I don’t find ‘Absolute Power’ to be as exciting as previous ‘Doctor Who’ stories I’ve heard. Maybe it’s because there aren’t enough action scenes and there’s more talking between characters. I don’t mind that. It’s really good to have character drama.
Honestly, some of the character moments between the Doctor and Constance as well as Constance and Ammar (more on that later) are my favourites. But it was often a struggle to understand the Ninexie as an alien species as well as visualise them and learn a lot about their backstory and history.
It was a challenge to take everything in. Like Sarah Sutton, I prefer the more earthbound adventures as opposed to some of the futuristic stories ‘Doctor Who’ has. I like how Jamie Anderson delivers the human element in certain characters for his adventures, but the other sci-fi elements are distracting.
Also, certain character motivations don’t get explored enough. For example, Lyam Yce is unaware of his wife Florrie being a spy against him and we don’t have a scene where he finds out she betrayed them. That’s due to the fact that he gets killed off too early in ‘Part Three’, but we’ll get to that later.
Colin Baker is excellent as the Sixth Doctor in this audio adventure. Like with ‘Order of the Daleks’, I like how Colin Baker’s Doctor continues to have a fond relationship with his companion Constance. He gets anxious when it seemed that Constance got killed in an explosion at the end of ‘Part Two’. 😮
I also like how Colin Baker’s Doctor unravels the mystery about the Teymahrians and how he gets to learn about the Ninexie when he meets them. His interaction with characters like Lyam Vce, Florrie and Profesor Wyke are very good. Intriguing when he offered Ammar the chance to join the TARDIS!
Miranda Raison is very good as Constance Clarke in the story. As I said, I like how Constance gets to utilise her cryptography skills and she comes across as a resourceful woman. My favourite scenes are when she’s with Ammar whom she becomes fond of and he grows to have a crush on her in the tale.
Of course, Constance is still married and she’s worried about the whereabouts of her husband during the Second World War on Earth. I like how Constance and Ammar have a scene of understanding together when they part company and she gives him a kiss on the cheek at the end. 🙂
Paul Reynolds guest stars as Lyam Yce, the entrepreneur who travelled to Teymah to discover the fate of the Teymahrians. I’ve heard Paul Reynolds in a Big Finish audio of ‘Doctor Who’ before. He played Joey Carlisle in ‘Casualties of War’ and…Nobody No-One in ‘The Word Lord’ from ‘Forty-Five’!
Lyam Yce is a pretty slimy American-sounding character in ‘Absolute Power’. At first, I thought he was an innocent entrepreneur who had a pretty wife that was going behind his back. At the end of ‘Part Two’, he turns out to be a foe. A pity he got killed in ‘Part Three’ to last long enough as a villain.
Jenny Bede guest stars as Florrie, Lyam Yce’s wife. At first, she seems to be a devoted ‘little thing’ who loves her husband. It’s intriguing when that turns out to be façade as she’s actually working for a detective group against Yce. Lucky for her, Lyam got killed before he discovered she betrayed him.
Arian Nik guest stars as Ammar Eikady. It was interesting to hear from Colin Baker on the CD extras that this Arian’s first acting role since doing drama school. He’s very good as Ammar and I like the sweet, subtle romance he has with Constance as it’s clearly he’s enamoured with her during the tale.
Neil Edmond guest stars as Professor Aryan Wyke. He gets killed by the end of ‘Part One’ of the story before he’s revived back to life by the alien Ninexie. I’m not entirely sure what the Ninexie’s motivations are as villains. It did seem garbled in the storytelling and it would require another listen.
The story also has Gary Martin as Kohrbal and Esther Hall as Pheenan, who are two police detectives, I believe, sent in to sort out Lyam Yce. They also work with Florrie to uncover Yce’s criminal activity. I think these two get entangled in the Ninexie’s scheming which was a bit confusing.
At the story’s end, the Doctor offers to take Constance to other planets out there in time and space. This is to distract her from her farewell with Ammar who clearly had a romantic infatuation with her. But Constance has decided for the time to return home and find out what happened to her husband.
‘Absolute Power’ is a pretty decent and enjoyable ‘Doctor Who’ adventure written and directed by Jamie Anderson. I can’t say it’s the greatest audio adventure I’ve heard, but I enjoyed the ideas behind it and clearly Colin Baker and Miranda Raison deliver great performances as their characters.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 1, there’s a suite of incidental music to enjoy. At the end of Disc 2, there are behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including Colin Baker, Miranda Raison, Paul Reynolds, writer/director Jamie Anderson, etc. There’s also a trailer for the next story with the Sixth Doctor and Constance called ‘Quicksilver’.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘Absolute Power’ via a 6 or 12 CD/download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There’s a PDF script and extended extras of ‘Absolute Power’. There’s also a bonus Short Trip called ‘The Christmas Dimension’ with the Third Doctor, read by Stephen Critchlow.
‘Absolute Power’ rating – 7/10
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