Wednesday, 15 March 2017

The Beast Of Kravanos.

As far as I am aware the longest single tracking shot in the history of Doctor Who takes place during the opening minutes of The Leisure Hive. For those who remember the original transmission on a long ago Saturday night there was barely a chance to absorb the sudden surprise of a reworked theme with a dazzling tumble along an infinite star field before we are brought to Earth on a pebbly wind swept Brighton beach.
               It looked and felt different.
               Something had changed.
               This season six of Tom baker's Doctor stories for Big Finish takes place round about this time and it feels like it. It is a proper pea souper guv' an' no mistake. Spooky goings on around the Palace Theatre involving a savage beast that eviscerates its victims and a mysterious gentleman thief who comes and goes unseen by all. The Doctor, K9 and Romana team up with their ever reliable and indefatigable investigators of the infernal; Jago and Litefoot. ( Big Finish' Jewel in the Crown. Honestly.) I felt like cheering when I heard these old familiar voices engage with each other It rather felt like a slightly unfamiliar chorus from a Christmas Carol you know you heard some time long ago. Even the clapping audience, within The Palace Theatre, responding to K9's on stage red-herringry had a familiar echo of The Good Old Days.
                There is a Saturday Night winteriness to proceedings. Time travel using the ear as a the ultimate difference machine. A lovingly crafted recreation of  the atmosphere of what turned out to be the final series for the High Church Who himself. Take a look at the referenced image of Baker from this period used on the cover of this CD story. It strikes me that distant stare of his is because he sees an ending on the horizon. I did not know it then and I hope this is not the case now.
                That final season with Tom Baker where John Nathan Turner really took over the reins on the show was so much more ambitious and diverse than  many give it credit for. Although the Big Finish seasons do not have a an overarching dominant thread they are generally just as ambitious and diverse and I do mean that in a most complimentary sense.
                 Hurrah for the stories yet to come.