The Sixth Doctor meets a very well known historical face in Destiny of the Doctor: Trouble in Paradise after being sent on a mission by his future self to retrieve an Omni Paradox.
Just a second, you say, didn’t the Fifth Doctor meet a well-known historical face in the previous entry to this series? Yes, he did but the two tales are so very different that both Big Finish and AudioGo should receive no discredit for doing things this way. In fact, it’s rather fitting for a story that is meant to represent the Sixth Doctor’s era should be similar to one that took place during the Fifth Doctor’s.
To explain, many of the events that occurred during the televised stories of the Sixth Doctor contained similar scripting elements or music to that of the Fifth Doctor’s. Attack of the Cybermen is a good example of reused ideas and musical cues that appear in Colin Baker’s tenure. For that era, the Fifth Doctor and Sixth Doctor sometimes can be bookends for one another. Whilst Attack may have been slightly convoluted, the same cannot be said of Trouble in Paradise. Certainly, there’s a lot of wibbly-wobbly style Steven Moffat storytelling that takes place (and believe this reviewer, it takes a second listen at the end to understand exactly how the story was resolved) but the overall finished product is a wonderful piece of storytelling.
Nicola Bryant takes on the duties of narrator here and it’s fantastic to hear her native voice using its full vocal talents rather than just playing Peri. As the Doctor and Peri arrive on the ship of renowned explorer Christopher Columbus, the Doctor is as excited as a child on Christmas Eve but Peri, however, is all too aware of Columbus’ more nasty qualities. Bryant not only conveys the Sixth Doctor’s overbearing charm and resilience but also brings a new level of maturity to Peri by being able to let this story dramatically grow at a solid pace. Her readings of the Doctor and Peri arguing are some of the finest examples of how to do things right in the Destiny of the Doctor series so far.
When Peri appears to fall overboard, the Doctor is finally distraught and tears into Columbus, his hero worshipping finally over. These are the parallels that make comparing this story to the Fifth Doctor’s entry so interesting. The Sixth Doctor’s temper is still something that troubles him from time to time, the Fifth Doctor’s was never a problem that needed controlling, and comparing the two is a fascinating thing to do.
The villain of the piece, a rather unscrupulous cow (listen and you’ll understand) is perhaps the only stumbling point within the story. He’s loud, abrasive, unscrupulous, not as clever as he thinks, may just end the whole if history to get his own way and might also end up becoming part of established history by interfering in the first place. Although this could sum up many of the dastardly people the Sixth Doctor encountered on-screen it still leaves you wanting just a bit more out of a Doctor Who foe.
This, however, is another solid entry in the Destiny of the Doctor series, with some funny lines, great performances and solid story that keeps the listener thoroughly entertained. It’s also worth the price of the admission just to find out which voice the Eleventh Doctor uses for his GPS SatNav.
Destiny of the Doctor: Trouble in Paradise is available from www.bigfinish.com now for £10.20 on CD or £3.99 download.