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Published on May 23rd, 2010 | by Brian A Terranova

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The Wreck of the Titan

Jamie McCrimmon continues his new adventures with the Sixth Doctor in this months Big Finish play, The Wreck of the Titan.

He’s older, wiser and more take charge than he was back on our TV screens in the 60’s, but his heart remains the same. Frazer Hines gives this characterization of Jamie a most realistic evolution of a natural life span. You can really get a sense that Jamie’s life was really lived and not just scripted. It’s almost as if Frazer never stopped playing Jamie a day in his life. Which makes for an enjoyable and realistic feel to the story.

Doctor Who from Big Finish - Wreck of the TitanOf course an actor is only as good as the material given to them in many cases and in this case writer/director – and lead Dalek on TV – Barnaby Edwards has provided not only Frazer, but his whole cast, with a gold mine. Clearly Barnaby has a fantastic grasp on the character of the Sixth Doctor, which you can tell Colin Baker enjoys performing, but aside from the two principles, the supporting cast are full of life as well. Which is very interesting for this particular story as their lives are not all that they may seem to be.

Aside from characterizations Barnaby’s story telling method takes an interesting twist on the cliffhanger/reprise portions. For years now Big Finish have successfully reproduced the feel of the era their new story is meant to be set in, but sometimes the play with the format to add a bit of flavor to the main body of work. Often times it is quite an attractive idea and here again it is a welcomed experience. Since the stories are not broadcast over 4 weeks as they would have been on TV, the reprise moments are not really needed except to help capture the feel of the TV show. So many times over the years they have toyed with not using them at all, but here we get a different take. Rather than lose them completely, we get them fro a new angel. Often from the perspective of another character in the scene, or from the other side of a door, so to speak. It helped to make the reprise not seem stale or repetitive. I quite liked that.

In the story the Doctor and Jamie find themselves on the Titanic and before disaster can strike the Doctor insists that they leave, but it doesn’t take long to get caught up in the events of that time line, but is all as it seems? Soon they find themselves on another vessel called the Titan, which seemingly is headed for the same fate. Is time playing tricks on them or is there something more sinister at work?

They aren’t the only two people making the unscheduled ship change, they are coupled with two others, a passenger and a ships officer. However, unlike the Doctor and Jamie, these two character make more changes than just the ship they are traveling on.

Tess or is it Myra, is given life by Miranda Raison, whom you may recall as Talulla from Daleks in Manhattan. In one reality we get an English version of the character and one that seems to enjoy a mystery, but then the gears shift and we are left with Talulla for a second outing in Doctor Who as she morphs from her English ancestry to a New York born woman. Sadly, it’s tough to hear an actress use the same voice and accent to play a similar type character in this situation because it is hard to differentiate the two characters without any real visuals to do so. It should be said that Miranda did a great job in the play, but perhaps in retrospect having her be another New Yorker might not have been the best idea. That said, She spend a lot of time in the company of Jamie which pays off really well in the story. The two seem to hit it off and strike up a nice friend ship as the story moves on and once can only imagine what the recording atmosphere must have been life.

Next we have Matt Addis (whom you can hear as either Kit Marlowe in Point of Entry, or as Sir William Gull in Holmes and the Ripper, both Big Finish Productions) as Teddy/John; in either reality he plays a high ranking officer of the ships crew. In one form he seems as if he is protecting a great secret even going as far as to try and stop the Doctor finding it out, but then the changes take effect and he instead does his job in the time of crisis and even tries to help the Doctor. This sort of character change only makes you question the motives of all involved and get to the deeper mystery of the story. Matt sent me on  a journey of distrust, throughout the story, moments that were well played indeed.

Barnaby Edwards delivers a story that will have you guessing till the very end and although might have guessed what’s going on you doubt yourself a few times before the end. And even then, you will be left to wonder what it all means until next months final installment of this latest trilogy.

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Doctor Who and me go way back. I first discovered it on my local PBS Station WHYY in the suburbs outside Philadelphia when I was a young kid; though I am uncertain of the exact age.




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