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     Big Finish 094 – I.D. & Urgent Calls.    
     Author:  BadWolf
     Dated:  Wednesday, May 09 2007 @ 10:12 AM EDT
     Viewed:  2,164 times  
    DW Reviews Starring Colin Baker as the 6th Doctor.

    So here we are with the new Big Finish format.

    For those of you who missed the story; about six months ago Nicholas Briggs announced that the Big Finish four episode format would be replaced by a more "traditional" punchier three episode format which would cut some of the "bloat." There would also be a separate single episode "viral story" featuring the same Doctor. Unsurprisingly Big Finish chose a 6th Doctor story to launch this new format but in somewhat of a departure he is companionless for both plays.


    In the 32nd Century the concept of data mining has progressed a little beyond spyware. On a planet where computer hardware is dumped and its data is extracted for any potential value. Both "pirates" and major corporations vie to turn a profit and both exist in a fairly lawless environment.

    The corporation uses a robot called a "Scandroid" to wander the planet scavenging the data and then transferring it to humans directly via a bio data port.

    (continues below)

    Without surprise the Doctor materialises the Tardis in the wrong place and is immediately kidnapped by the pirates who decide to hold him for ransom believing that he works for the corporation.

    Elsewhere one of the "Scandroids" has gained priority data which it must transfer to its human masters immediately; with only one small problem; the data kills any human that it is transferred to and so with the transmission incomplete the "Scandroid" must find other humans, each of which promptly die.

    Urgent Calls.

    This play is really just a series of telephone calls started by a wrong number in which the Doctor suspects that an alien virus is at work causing people to misdial to their advantage. Although short and with just two characters (the Doctor and Lauren) this play works quite well, largely (I suspect) due to the voyeuristic nature of human beings. The title of this play was apparently taken from the instructions on the front of the Tardis.

    There are some interesting concepts used in I.D. such as the future of data mining and that not all accountants are heartless but I would have thought that Big Finish would have chosen a better story to launch a new format. This story is reasonable but neither really exciting nor totally absorbing and we know that there have been much better stories that Colin Baker has be able to make better use of. The story was not helped by the placement of "CD extras" placed smack in the middle of parts two and three. I applaud this concept but as with the play not its execution.

    Did this new format seem any better or less bloated? I am afraid not and it is interesting that to my mind Urgent Calls was much more compulsive.

    The concept of "traditional three episode" Doctor Who is not so clear cut. Who said that three episodes for Doctor Who is traditional? I can remember six episodes during the Hartnell years and whenever I remember "classic" Doctor Who I generally remember four episodes to a story. These days the stories are generally either a one or two parter.

    Where Big Finish has perhaps misjudged is in the quality of the story not the length. I remember writing of The Reaping (Big Finish 086) that I was so absorbed I failed to notice that the play was only two episodes but each episode was an hour long so I would humbly suggest to Big Finish that bloat is not the problem but rather quality and rigidity. Does any Big Finish listener really care if there are only two episodes if they are of the quality of The Reaping or the four one parters of the recent excellent Circular Time (reviewed by Darth Big Finish 091?) While I understand that two hours is a lot for a writer to fill I also understand that the listener may not be as rigid as Big Finish believe.

    Perhaps this format will work in future stories but based on this example I suspect not.

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  • Big Finish 094 – I.D. & Urgent Calls. | 5 comments | Create New Account
    The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
    Big Finish 094 – I.D. & Urgent Calls.
    Authored by: tarashnat on Thursday, May 10 2007 @ 12:53 PM EDT

    I thought the I.D. was a very interesting story exploring some interesting ideas. Some of the ideas of overwriting/activating DNA it seems to share with a recent televised story—The Lazarus Experiment. But it also explores the morality of changing oneself and changing others for selfish reasons. I found the treatment of the ideas very engaging, but without a companion, in this story, there was nothing that really upped the stakes for the Doctor. Now, if Peri, Evelyn, or Mel were in danger of being erased, then we may have had a better story.

    Urgent Calls I liked a lot. I think mostly as a change of pace from all the other plays in the range. If this story was one of the first that I listened to, I would probably not like it as much. I think one could think of the single part stories as the equivalent of the Short Trips anthologies.


    Vote Saxon!

    Big Finish 094 – I.D. & Urgent Calls.
    Authored by: seanhuxter on Thursday, May 10 2007 @ 04:02 PM EDT
    Question. When you said "to my mind Urgent Calls was much more compulsive." did you mean "compelling"?

    It changes the meaning somewhat, and I'm interested in knowing if it was good or bad.


    One solid hope is worth a cartload of uncertainties.
    Big Finish 094 – I.D. & Urgent Calls.
    Authored by: tarashnat on Friday, May 11 2007 @ 06:17 PM EDT

    Traditional is referring to story-telling structure, not Doctor Who story lengths.


    Vote Saxon!