Doctor Who: The Four Doctors [Big Finish]

Every since Patrick Troughton popped by to visit Jon Pertwee in the TARDIS in 1973, Doctor Who fans have been excited by the occasional meet-ups between different incarnations of everyone’s favorite Time Lord.

The people behind Big Finish productions have certainly been aware of this:  they started their range of Doctor Who audios with The Sirens of Time featuring Doctors 5, 6 & 7…which even if it wasn’t very good must have been a big deal at the time.  And more recently, they made The Light at the End, their own particular 50th anniversary release, which featured Doctor’s 1-8 (albeit with 1, 2 & 3 played by voice-alikes and having a reduced role).

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In 2010, they released The Four Doctors, featuring Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann as Doctor’s 5-8, which is actually quite an enjoyable take on this whole sub-genre of Doctor Who stories.

Usually, the Doctors end up meeting up in these sorts of adventures via some outside interference–either the Time Lords or some enemy manipulating things so the Doctor will encounter himself.  In this case, a guest character (a Colonel Ulrik) is accidentally sent on a journey in which he sort skips along the Doctor’s personal timeline in a way that also reveals to him something of the history of his own people, who are long-term enemies of the Daleks. The journey also gives him insight into secrets related to his own family.

Indeed, one of the things that is enjoyable about this story is the character development that is given to Colonel Ulrik.  He starts out as an example of that most foolish of Doctor Who stock characters, the person who betrays his own people to some invading alien but falls afoul of them in the end.  But as the story progresses, he goes from hating the Doctor to agreeing with him, even finding redemption at the end.  It creates a decent character arc for us to follow as we enjoy hearing from the various Doctors.

In spite of this “era-spanning” quality, the story is reasonably simple with a minimum amount of distractions.  There are no companions–just four Doctors, some Daleks and a small handful of guest stars.  The plot doesn’t fuss around before getting into the action, and it has the right amount of gravitas without getting bogged down by the weight of all that’s going on.

Also, all four of our lead actors do a good job in their parts, and there’s even some techno-gobbledy gook employed at the end to give us an excuse to have a short scene with all four of the Doctors together.

The Four Doctors was written by Peter Anghelides, whose other Doctor Who I’m unfamiliar with, and is available as a “Special Release” from Big Finish, which means I think that you have to subscribe to a bunch of stories to get it.  It’s good fun, and I’d say a better pick than some of the other special release options (like here or here).

One thought on “Doctor Who: The Four Doctors [Big Finish]

  1. It’s amazing how multi-Doctor stories in Doctor Who can creatively endure enough for so long. They’re certainly always great acting material for all the Doctor actors. Thanks, Ben, for your review.

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