Saturday, 18 January 2014


Welcome back readers. Yes, we are officially in 2014, but nothing solidifies it quite like listening to the first Doctor Who audio drama by Big Finish this month. Today, it’s Antidote to Oblivion!
Now not only is it a treat hearing Colin Baker’s voice after so long…how long has it been since Trial of the Valeyard? A month? That long? Geez! It felt much longer. Antidote to Oblivion is really a back to basics tale that is very (I mean very) reminiscent of Classic Doctor Who. Odd way to put it since Big Finish only does Classic Who, but if you’ve been listening to the latest audios as I have, you’ll have noticed that apart from the format (4 episodes x 30 minutes), Big Finish tries to incorporate as many New Who elements as they can.

For this story, I’m first going to praise the music. It’s a treat hearing the classic 80s cues in parts, particularly the Castrovalva tunes that are unmistakable. Secondly, I have to give Nabil Shaban (Sil) credit for again bringing so much slimy evil and corruptness to his portrayal. Sil might not be the most feared villain in the Whoverse, but he is certainly unique in not just his personality, but the environment he finds himself in. This time, it’s Future Britain, a future version of the earth dumb enough to be in bed with the slimy Thoros Betian. I’m speaking financially people. He’s conning them, but that shouldn’t come as a major spoiler as anybody who’s listened to Mission to Magnus or seen Mindwarp knows all too well that Sil is only in it for the money. As he puts it, figures only make sense to him if they’re part of a bank statement. It was such an indulgence hearing Sil’s Hannibal Lector like laugh.

Be warned though! This story is full of continuity porn. If you haven’t seen Mindwarp or listened to Mission to Magnus, you will find yourself enjoying this story less and less. It relies heavily on the events of Mindwarp in particular, including the scientist Crozier, who has a daughter out for vengeance. Naturally you have the reappearance of Sil, but there are others such as what really happened to Peri Brown.

The story itself served as something of a reminder to me of New Earth: A planet trying to find the ultimate antidote to every illness known to man and tries to accomplish this by experimenting on people (not grown people though) and later on the Doctor. Thankfully it’s not a knock off and manages to stand on its own two legs by adding not a body swap cliché, but a couple of mind distorting drugs in the water supply, possessing and not to mention the corrupt government officials among others.

Lastly – the stars! Colin Baker never seems to slip when he’s the Doctor, whether on TV or on audio, so it comes as no surprise that his incarnation manages to blind me with the sublime performance that ranges from tranquil lazy bum to mourning Time Lord. Lisa Greenwood on the other hand, who plays Flip, is like Clara to me in some respects. They both play their parts excellently, but I find myself often wondering just what sort of character they are playing. Both their personalities seem to hop skip and jump from story to story. Flip I feel serves as nothing more than the damsel in the distress for this story, not really getting to do much. Hopefully that’ll change and Lisa’s character will win me over. She’s about half way there I believe and we still have two more stories left to go. Rating this story: 8/10 

Next month, the Doctor discovers his ship is being raided by the imp-like Drachee, and his companion Flip is carried away in The Brood of Erys.

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