In addition to all their full cast audio dramas and partially narrated audio dramas, Big Finish also produce audio books–pieces of prose fiction which are available to listen to being read by various actors. Amongst these are many short pieces of Doctor Who fiction, marketed as “Short Trips”. Most of these are available on the Big Finish website for about $3.00 AUD, but there are a few available as a free download, including this one…
(Daily Doctor Who #164)
The Best-Laid Plans
Written by Ben Tedds
Read by Jacob Dudman
The Best-Laid Plans features the Twelfth Doctor, making this the first Big Finish Doctor Who project I’ve heard which includes Peter Capaldi’s iteration of the character, which was a lot of fun Even though it does not include Capaldi himself, Jacob Dudman does a decent job suggesting the character in his reading, and there are a number of lines of dialogue by author Ben Tedds that do a great job capturing the characters voice (eg. “I thought your plan was rubbish, which got me thinking about rubbish,”) though there are others which seem to be trying too hard.
The story is about Dracksil Forg, an alien who makes a living selling ideas to people. Often, these turn out to be wildly brilliant ideas, for things like movie plots or interior design concepts. But other times, this are for more nefarious pursuits, like conquering neighboring worlds or murdering unwanted enemies. Dracksil Forg is aware of the less moral pursuits of some of his clients, but he doesn’t care as long as the idea itself is brilliant. That is, he doesn’t care until his customers start complaining over of the interference of a someone called the Doctor…
The truth is, it turns out, that Dracksil is a psychic, and he’s been picking up ideas from other people that he runs into and stealing them, planting in their minds the suggestion that they return to him when they are in need of an idea, at which point he’ll sell their own back to them. This is a nifty notion, but it’s perhaps just a tad convoluted: it would have been enough for him to be picking up information psychically–and then even matching it up with his customers using the same powers.
There is also some thematic confusion. The Doctor seems both very angry and very forgiving of Dracksil, who is both a terrible criminal and also a brainless dope. But in spite of these little issues, it’s a good story and a lot of fun to get a bit more of the 12th Doctor.