‘Static’ (Audio)

‘STATIC’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

The Static with the Sixth Doctor, Constance and Flip

This story has a good first half compared to its second half.

‘Static’ by Jonathan Morris is another four-part adventure starring Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor, Miranda Raison as Constance and Lisa Greenwood as Flip. It was the third audio adventure to be featured in the 2017 Sixth Doctor trilogy. I wish I could say this audio adventure was a winner here. 😦

Let me be clear. Jonny Morris is an excellent ‘Doctor Who’ writer. I’m not going to dispute that. I’ve enjoyed many of Jonny’s ‘Doctor Who’ stories, including those he did for Big Finish. This includes many of the Fifth Doctor stories like ‘The Haunting of Thomas Brewster’ and ‘The Eternal Summer’. 🙂

He’s also penned some good Sixth Doctor audios such as ‘The Crimes of Thomas Brewster’ and ‘The Curse of Davros’, both which feature Flip as she’s Jonny Morris’ creation as a character. I’m sure over time I’ll come to like ‘Static’ with more listens as it is one of those stories requiring multiple listens. 🙂

But I can’t help feel that ‘Static’ falls into the category of stories by Jonny Morris that were unsatisfying for me, such as ‘Last of the Colophon’ and ‘Bloodtide’. I don’t know what it is, but ‘Static’ fell apart for me by the time of the second half, which is a shame as I enjoyed the first half. 😦

The story takes place in the heart of nowhere, near a place called Abbey Marston – in the year 1980, I believe. There’s a caravan site and a young couple, Andy Clover and Joanna Nash go there to get away from it all. But all isn’t plain sailing when the youngsters arrive at the unsettling caravan site. 😐

There’s a stone circle nearby where human sacrifices were conducted in olden times. There’s also an old RAF research station where hush-hush things were done during the Second World War.  Radios, cassette recorders and portable televisions are forbidden by the caravan site’s owner, Mr. Percy Till.

When Andy uses a portable TV he’s brought along, it brings Joanna’s sister Susannah back from the dead. As the Sixth Doctor, Constance and Flip get involved, voices in the static begin to emerge and deadly transferences of minds into duplicate bodies occur. Can our heroes stop the terrible menace?

There is a sense of a creepy atmosphere to the story in its first half. This is exemplified in the dark forest and the thick fog that appears out of nowhere. I could easily imagine the story taking place in a foggy atmosphere, permitting you to feel unnerved about what’s occurring in the adventure itself.

I liked the character interaction between Andy and Joanna when they struggle to rekindle their relationship after the death of Joanna’s sister Susannah. The character interaction between the Doctor, Constance and Flip is very good too and this is when I was listening to the story’s first half. 🙂

Sadly, that seems to be waylaid by the time we get to the second half. When the Doctor and Constance are in the 1940s at the RAF research station whilst Flip’s with Andy, Joanna and the revived Susannah, everything seems very complicated and hard to follow if you have a relaxed mind.

It was a challenge to follow what was going on with exposition being explained by the characters. There were touches of character drama occurring, especially when some heroes’ lives are in peril, but there are occasions when I feel the character relationships didn’t fulfil completing their journeys.

Also, some characters end up in ‘fates worse than death’. This is especially concerning one of the companions, which I’ll be getting to shortly. At the end of the story, I felt things had gone in a way that I hadn’t anticipated and I wish that more happier circumstances has occurred to prevent that. 😦

Colin Baker still continues to be excellent as the Sixth Doctor in this adventure. Colin’s Doctor is meant to be taking Constance and Flip back to their own times. Not sure what brought that on, but that seems to be the case here. Colin’s Doctor gets intrigued by what is going on at the caravan site.

He’s surprised that he, Constance and Flip were expected by Mr. Till who welcomes them to the caravans. The Doctor and his three friends uncover more about what’s going on and it gets rather disturbing when Susannah who was presumed dead comes back to life. He investigates even further.

This is when the Doctor and Constance go back in time to the 1940s at the RAF research station. The Doctor is shocked when Constance apparently dies in the adventure, but he soon manages to find a way to save her by tricking the evil Static into believing he was under their control at the stone circle.

And yes, you heard me right. Miranda Raison as Constance Clarke gets killed off in this story. That’s the character Constance who gets killed off, not Miranda. 😀 And it’s the body that dies, not the spirit. It was unnerving that Constance’s consciousness ends up in a duplicate body that got created.

The original Constance’s body crumbled and decayed in ‘Part Four’. I was shocked to discover that as the plot strand unravelled into explaining how Constance ended up back in 1980 when she was with the Doctor in the 1940s. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with the idea of Constance in another body. 😐

Aside from that, I like how Constance’s WREN experience comes into good use when she and the Doctor are at the research station in the 1940s. It was tense when Constance was burning up inside the research station. I did like the scenes she had with Flip earlier on in this story at the caravan site.

Lisa Greenwood is very good as Flip Ramon née Jackson in the adventure. Jonny Morris is able to get into Flip’s character as he introduced her in ‘Doctor Who’ in the first place. It’s nice to have Jonny write for Flip again. A lot has happened to Flip since meeting the Doctor and joining him on his travels.

Flip is baffled by everything that’s happening with the caravan site and often connects to Joanna who’s struggling to get over her sister’s death and reconcile with Andy. Flip is shocked when she finds Constance coming out of the fog. Those who die and are brought back to life exit from the fog.

It’s a bigger shock for Flip when Constance isn’t who she seems and is seemingly possessed by the Static. Flip is anxious when she wants to know what the Doctor is up to and hopes he’s got a plan. She’s upset once ‘Connie’s seemingly dead but ‘thankfully’ ‘Philippa’ sees her friend back…in another body.

Yeah, I’m still not satisfied with that resolution to ‘Connie’s resurrection in another body. Scott Chambers guest stars as Andy Clover and Pippa Nixon guest stars as Joanna Nash in the adventure. I wish their relationship was resolved properly in the second half of the story as it did feel unresolved.

Scott Chambers also plays Sergeant Webster in the story, a character at the RAF research station in the 1940s. There’s also Jo Woodcock who plays Susannah Nash, Joanna’s sister who’s resurrected from the dead. Sometimes, I struggled to tell Joanna and Susannah apart since they sounded similar.

David Graham guest stars as Percy Till in the audio adventure. David Graham is well-known for voicing the Daleks in the early 1960s ‘Doctor Who’ stories. He also voiced Brains and Gordon Tracy in the ‘Thunderbirds’ series and guest starred in ‘The Year of the Burn Up’ in the ‘Timeslip’ TV series.

It did get confusing with two Percy Tills in 1980 and 1940. Brian Protheroe guest stars as Captain Hardwick, who’s at the RAF research station in the 1940s. There’s also Chris Dale as a 1940s soldier and the voice of the Static. The Static did feel underwhelming as ‘Doctor Who’ villains for me in this.

So yeah, ‘Static’ had a good first half which was sadly let down by an underwhelming and quite complex second half. It’s a shame as I like Jonny Morris’ writing in ‘Doctor Who’ generally. I’m also unhappy about Constance’s mind in a duplicate body after the previous original body got burned up.

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’s a trailer for ‘Kingdom of Lies’ with Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton and Matthew Waterhouse. There are also behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including Colin Baker, Miranda Raison, Lisa Greenwood, director Jamie Anderson, etc.

If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘Static’ via a 6 or 12 CD/download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There’s a PDF script and extended extras for ‘Static’. There’s also a bonus Short Trip called ‘The Night Before Christmas’ with the Seventh Doctor, read by Stephen Critchlow.

‘Static’ rating – 7/10


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2 thoughts on “‘Static’ (Audio)

  1. Timelord 007

    Hmmm i personally love this story as it goes in a direction i didn’t foresee, it’s tense, spooky & atmospheric, however i do agree with you about Constance body duplicate i was wondering if this was part of a bigger story arc but as of yet nothing in later stories.

    It’s definitely a audio drama which requires multiple listens, while not in full agreement with your review i appreciate your opinion & it’s always good to read another persons perspective on the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Maybe I wasn’t in a particularly good mood when I heard this story. I might have been distracted by world events. I’m glad you enjoyed this story. I was enjoying it right up until the end of the first half but then lost my way when things got complicated and some of the character journeys didn’t follow through. Yes Constance’s body duplicate story arc doesn’t seem to have been developed greatly of late as I’m currently listening to ‘The Lovecraft Invasion’.

      Maybe listening to this story again might help, but I just felt underwhelmed from hearing it. Glad you enjoyed it though. Glad you appreciate my opinion on the story.

      Many thanks for your comments, Simon.

      Tim. 🙂

      Like

      Reply

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