Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions
Writer: Matt Fitton
RRP: £10.99 (CD) / £8.99 (Download)
Release Date: May 2016
Reviewed by: Bedwyr Gullidge for Doctor Who Online
“When the Doctor and Donna visit London’s Technology Museum for a glimpse into the future, things don’t go to plan.
The most brilliant IT brain in the country can’t use her computer. More worrying, the exhibits are attacking the visitors, while outside, people seem to be losing control of the technology that runs their lives.
Is it all down to simple human stupidity, or is something more sinister going on?
Beneath the streets, the Koggnossenti are waiting. For all of London to fall prey to technophobia..."
The Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble are back! It might not be on our television screens but we are treated to the next best thing, a trio of wonderful Big Finish audio adventures.
David Tennant and Catherine Tate slip effortlessly back into their roles, Tate in particular sounds a lot more comfortable as Donna now released of the burden to perform for the camera. Tennant's Tenth Doctor is full of energy and listeners are reintroduced to Donna the ‘super temp’ through another temp, Bex, with the two bonding immediately through shared experiences of agency work. Our favourite Noble of Chiswick becomes a driving force in the tale with her humanity, bravery and deduction skills eventually proving critical to the resolution. This story fits comfortably into the 2008 series with writer Matt Fitton neatly recapturing the feel and atmosphere of that era of televised offerings with an interesting variation on an ‘invasion Earth’ scenario.
Set a couple of years into our future, technology has continued to develop with the M-Pad from Meadow Digital the latest product to hit the high street. However, the M-Pad has not come from the traditional technological innovators of Silicon Valley or Japan but instead from London and the mind of IT whizz Jill Meadows. Without the restrictions of a television production budget the story could quite easily have been replicated in Tokyo for example but clichés are avoided with the head of the company being female. In a modern world that revolves around technology, all designed to make our lives easier, this story ponders what would happen, not if technology turned against us, but if we became unable to use it.
What initially appears to be a traditional ‘ghost in the machine’ or ‘robot uprising’ storyline actually unravels to explore that far more intriguing concept. Instead of turning human technology against it's inventors, the villains of the piece erase our ability to use items which have become essential to our lives and suddenly our surroundings become a lot more terrifying. As paranoia and fear spread, it seems that the Koggnossenti can emerge unchallenged from their base in the London Underground prepared to enslave a human race made intellectually redundant.
Technophobia reunites a popular Doctor and companion combination with a refreshing Earth-based story, parodying a popular fruit-based brand and shining a light on our technology obsessed society in an enjoyable story which sets a high standard for these new adventures for the Tenth Doctor.