THE YES MEN (DOCTOR WHO)

PrintE-mail Written by Tony Jones

With The Yes Men, Big Finish gives us the first in a new series of its Early Adventures; four full-cast, two CD stories for the second Doctor and various companions. Not only does Fraser Hines do duty as both Jamie and the Doctor, but the decision has been taken to re-cast Ben Jackson (a role originally played by Michael Craze who passed away in 1998). The TARDIS crew are rounded off by Polly (Anneke Wills).

At first the plot is delightfully straightforward. The Doctor is visiting the colony of New Houston and wants to pay his respects to his late friend Meg Carvossa. Many years back, the Doctor had saved them from an alien invasion and all seems well though the robot servants appear to have their own problems.

A tale of intrigue and suspicious death revolves around a bureaucrat, the wonderfully named Nesca Bangate played by Timothy Speyer, and the would-be heir to the Presidency, Harriet Quilp, played with authority by Lizzie McInnerny. As this plot is explored by the Doctor and Polly, Jamie and Ben are free to get to know the robots, and here lies an entire second plot thread around slavery and exploitation. The plot has plenty to make the listener think about right or wrong but avoids any more than the gentlest amount of proselytising, rightly focussing on entertainment and an accurate recreation of a Second Doctor story.

Does Elliot Chapman convince as Ben? Yes, he does, and let’s be clear in re-casting Ben (and elsewhere the Third Doctor) Big Finish is doing little more than re-staging a classic play with modern cast, and far less than the Star Trek franchise does when it re-launches with a new Captain Kirk. If fans want quality drama set in this period of the Second Doctor, this is how it has to happen. The overall result is a pleasure to listen to and after only a few lines the focus is on the story and not the casting. This is as it should be.

Everything else is up to the usual high standards from the direction to the music, and there are plenty of other aspects to this solid story worth noting, including Stephen Critchlow as the Yes Men of the title and Jane Slavin.

With the success of Elliot Chapman in the role of Ben Jackson, it is a shame his casting wasn’t known when the story was written. This one oversight appears to have been remedied going forward and we look forward to hearing how his take on Ben Jackson evolves.

THE YES MEN (DOCTOR WHO) / AUTHOR: SIMON GUERRIER / PUBLISHER: BIG FINISH / STARRING: FRASER HINES, ANNEKE WILLS, ELLIOT CHAPMAN, LIZZIE MCINNERNY, STEPHEN CRITCHLOW, TIMOTHY SPEYER, JANE SLAVIN / RELEASE DATE: SEPTEMBER 30TH (OUT NOW DIRECT FROM BIG FINISH)

 


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