30 January 2013

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: Matt Fitton

RRP: £14.99 (CD) / £12.99 (Download)

Release Date: January 2013

Reviewed by: Matthew Davis for Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 30th January 2013

With Evelyn gone, the Doctor sets course for his destiny... in the form of his first meeting with Miss Melanie Bush, a computer programmer from the village of Pease Pottage, currently busy rehearsing with the local Amateur Dramatic Society – and blissfully unaware that her future is on its way, in his TARDIS.

Make that two TARDISes. Because at that very moment, a slightly younger Doctor is flying into Pease Pottage, too – returning his future companion Melanie Bush to her rightful place and time, after they were flung together during the course of his Time Lord trial.

Time travel is a complicated business – the iguanadon terrorising Pease Pottage being a case in point. But how much more complicated could things possibly become, if the wrong Doctor were to bump into the wrong Mel?

* * *

For the first release in the main range this year, Big Finish has given us two Sixth Doctor's for the price of one. As if that wasn’t enough we have two versions of Melanie Bush who is once again played by Bonnie Langford, returning to Big Finish after a lengthy absence.

Melanie Bush is an intriguing character in the Doctor Who universe and her first meeting with The Doctor has never been documented. River Song is not the only companion that The Doctor has met out of sequence. He first encounters Mel during the events of The Trial of a Time Lord, long after she has been travelling with him for some time in his future.

Endeavouring to solve the anomaly of Mel’s arrival in The Doctor’s life, Big Finish has chosen to turn it into a rather mind bogglingly paradox story.

To enjoy The Wrong Doctor’s fully you really need to sit down and listen to it carefully. Writer Matt Fitton wisely throws in little lines, odd nicknames and different coloured coats to help a listener keep up with which Doctor and Mel is which. Get distracted even for a second and you may find yourself rewinding to the last place you were at to fathom just what is going on.

This is not to the discredit of the play at all as Fitton does a very good job of juggling the different characters and the rather bizarre situations that follow. In a story that contains Women of the W.I., rampaging Dinosaurs and Alien bureaucrats, the narrative with our main characters can sometimes get drowned out.

Colin Baker does a tremendous job of playing two versions of his Doctor at different points in the character’s timeline. He adopts the rather arrogant and pompous attitude more commonly associated with the younger Sixth Doctor to easily differentiate between the two.

I was never a fan of Mel on the television and I put that down more to the writing than Bonnie Langford’s performance which is why she is such a joy to listen to in this play. Fitton does a great job of balancing an older and younger Mel throughout the story especially in the very touching climax.

The conclusion of The Wrong Doctors allows us to see the impact that Mel would have on The Doctor’s life and personality. In the Big Finish universe, The Sixth Doctor’s personality was softening with Peri and Evelyn but Mel would serve as that incarnation’s last companion. She is incredibly important to his life and her chirpy personality would be an excellent temperance to his brashness and this play is a great reminder of that.

Bolstered by an excellent supporting cast The Wrong Doctors is a demanding but fun listen.

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