Monday, December 01, 2014

It's All About the Audio - Whispers of Terror

Emboldened by my success with I.D. I decided to press my luck further, and dive into Six and Peri territory. I mean “Whispers of Terror” is the third ever Big Finish serial, how much trouble could I get into? Besides, I'm now at ten hours of just treading audio water, I think I might have just been better diving into the Fifth Doctor and Peri. This seems like a good compromise, and if there's any BF continuity to worry about, getting the third entry out of the way seems like a clever move.

The first thing I noticed was an obvious difference between this and “I.D.” I didn't say anything above because I thought I just had realised relatively late on and was just being simple. But “I.D.” uses the theme song from Colin Baker's time as the Doctor, making it feel that little bit more of the series it's meant to fit. Yet being Big Finish's third episode, “Whispers of Terror” doesn't do that. It has the very original theme that everyone knows. That later change is a clever move by Big Finish.


The story takes place in a museum dedicated to sound, with exhibits of speeches etc. It's a lovely Doctor Who type place. Of course it's run by a deaf guy, but that's never taken to an offensive place, but actually used to nice effect in one instance.

The 'monster' is a disembodied voice randomly heard throughout the museum and does a good job of driving a couple of people crazy. But “Whispers” does that decent trope that Doctor Who pulls out every so often, that the monster might not be the true evil and it's never as simple as that. The disembodied voice is great idea and sounds perfect for an audio play, but then everyone is a disembodied voice. It might have worked a lot better as a TV serial where you could really see that there was no one there. Then again, it would also completely ruin the reveal so maybe not.

It is actually the perfect story for 80s Doctor and its struggling budget too. Unfortunately that era of Who was more bothered about rubber suits than anything like this sort of story, so it's good that Big Finish are here to provide this sort of thing – just like they did with “The Marian Conspiracy”... or is that will do? Anyway. Yay for Big Finish.

The Doctor/Peri relationship is straight out of an episode as well. Which is great, except for the fact that the Sixth's Doctor and Peri never really got along. Thankfully it comes across more from Nicola Bryant's last few appearances where Peri might be apprehensive about getting involved, but once in she throws herself at the problem. Because I'm not sure if I could have coped with more “Mark of Rani” Peri. This being her first time playing the character in thirteen years it also takes her a little while to get her American accent right, or rather as right as Peri's ever was.

This was no “I.D.” But it was alright, and it's clear that Big Finish were still finding their feet this early on. It is a pretty easy one to miss as well. It's one of those situations that can't really get a sequel. I can't imagine this effecting anything further down the line either. Especially as Big Finish tend to use Nicola Bryant to extend her travelling time with the Fifth Doctor and have her connection to him make more sense than bumping up her time with Six. However, it is a perfect example of Big Finish just creating what could easily be a missing episode from that time period, and if you're looking for a random Sixth Doctor/Peri fix, this feeds the need more than some of the episodes of that time period.
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