1/07/2010. Contributed by Sue Davies
pub: Big Finish. 2 CDs 120 minute story. Price: CD: £14.99, download: £12.99 (UK)ISBN: 978-1-84435-458-0)cast: Colin Baker, Frazer Hines, Alexander Siddig, Christopher Fairbank, Miranda Raison and Matt Addis.
check out web site www.BigFinish.com
The Doctor wants to treat Jamie to a little outing, so he takes him for a trip on the Queen Mary. He's got tickets from a small service to King George. Perhaps the Doctor feels guilty for abandoning Jamie back in his Highland past. After all, although the Time Lords initially exiled the Doctor to 20th Century Earth, he could have sought out Jamie afterwards but as we know the Doctor never looks back.
It's not long before Jamie discovers that the proposed treat might be a dip in an icy ocean. They have landed on the Titanic, the night the mighty ship goes down in a losing battle with an iceberg. Could it get any worse? Of course. Jamie meets a young lady called Tess and discovers blank walls behind the doors which should lead to the hold and a safe escape to the TARDIS. The Doctor is captured by the redoubtable first officer and accused of being a saboteur. It's not a good time to be held up when they soon might be swimming with the seals. In a story that rapidly changes location, we are treated to a bewildering series of events culminating in a catastrophic cliff-hanger.
'Wreck Of The Titan' follows directly from 'City Of Spires' and segues into 'Legend Of The Cybermen'. There is also a 'Companion Chronicle', 'Night's Black Agents', which features Jamie McCrimmon. The stories are closely interlinked and offer clues to the eventual dénouement. I don't want to say too much but there are plenty of misleading plot points that will hopefully keep you guessing until the end.
This adventure entirely suits the quirks of the Sixth Doctor and with Jamie McCrimmon along there is an opportunity for some sparky dialogue between them. There are few other cast members so each one has to work hard to make an impression. Jamie still has lingering doubts about the Doctor as he is trying to process why he was left behind. There might be a sense of resentment on Jamie's side and we are not at the easy banter stage of old times by any means.
This forms an excellent middle episode and is far from being filler to the opening and closing stories. You can sense it is building up to something but it's no 'Two Towers' and has a rich life of its own. The character of Jamie gets the opportunity to branch out as he is often split from the Doctor and partnered with other people. Jamie of the Highlands struggles with the complex vocabulary of relatively modern times which leads to some amusing lines and misinterpretation. In other ways, he starts to show an astute sense of how to motivate people which we might put down to his time as rebel leader Black Donald.
I would say that the trilogy and 'The Companion Chronicle' should be heard in succession at some point because you can then pick up on how it has been structured to make sense within the series.
There is adventure on the high seas, problems with polar bears and improbable rescues all included in this. It is good value for money as the story winds itself up into a bobbin and then spins a fantastic tale. Fair play to the main supporting actors who play multiple parts with aplomb and to Alex Siddig (yes, him from 'Star Trek: DS9') who is the mysterious captain. They attack the script with gusto. Fraser Hines is also a joy as the older, maybe wiser Jamie who wrestles with discovering he doesn't really know himself at all.
I find I like these interlinked series more and more. They have to stand up to scrutiny and this one is very sneaky. If you happen to arrive for the middle one you won't be able to resist finding out what happens before and after. It's surprising and inventive but doesn't try to take on the TV series and is a story uniquely suited both to the Sixth Doctor and Jamie McCrimmon.
Add SFcrowsnest.com daily news updates to your own web site or blog - just cut and paste the code below...
Stephen Hunt's novels - USA