|Running Time||60 mins|
With Sylvester McCoy as "The Dominie", Sophie Aldred as "Alice",
Producer Bill Baggs
A Review by Stuart Gutteridge 22/6/99
As it might be gathered from the title, BBV`s latest release is an emotional rollercoaster of a story. Only Human is Mark J Thompson`s debut contribution to The Time Travellers series, and is a pretty impressive one at that. There are still hints of Doctor Who here,with the ship featuring a swimming pool (as in The Invasion Of Time) and with some of the controls relying on mercury (as in The Daleks), but these are subtle, and don`t detract from the story. There are several different meanings to the title, but the most obvious is the emotional wrangles between the characters.
Whether it is Alice and The Dominie, Alice and her father, (from which we learn a lot more about her past) or The Dominie and the semi-organic android Vixxy, all have some relevance. Of the supporting cast Vixxy is the most memorable, suffering with just as many problems an android can have, being reminiscent of Kamelion or Kryten from Red Dwarf.
Perhaps less obvious, is when the ship lands on a blood covered planet, and The Dominie and Alice are taken prisoner by a cell. If there is one thing that Only Human is about above more than anything else, it is making decisions and living with the consequences. Superbly acted, Only Human is tough going at times, but is ultimately very rewarding. Thoroughly recommended.
A Review by Richard Radcliffe 20/8/02
Now this one moves about a lot, doesn't it! No sooner are we to believe that we are in a Biological Wonderland, than it shifts to an Old Castle, and then we are on a Missile heading for Earth!
BBV have avoided the means whereby the Professor/Dominie/Doctor and Ace/Alice have travelled the universe and time. They have tended to just appear in a place, mostly on a Travel Ship actually, but massively varied in Time and Space. By the very nature of the story our 2 Time Travellers spend quite a bit of time on their ship. When that Ship has a Swimming Pool, and the Dominie says he used to travel with a Mathematician - this further enhances the already massive links to our favourite show.
Only Human begins with the Ship arriving on a very weird planet. Cells exist that can metamorphosize into whatever they wish. There's a bit of running around, and they even pick up a stowaway - who becomes Samantha (a nod to BBC 8th Dr Books maybe?). This new companion is a very strange thing. A Shapeshifter who can't change shape after she becomes a human (one of the Dominie's Earth friends apparently), she picks up Human parlance very quickly - and gets more and more irritating as the story progresses.
The opening scenes on this Planet of the Body Parts is extremely strange. This is a totally unique place in the DW Universe, and also one of the most sickening. The author, Mark Thompson, thrives on this goriness - and the result is striking.
When the action moves to the Castle there's some very interesting material all about Cryogenics. Much is made of the Very Far Future that this part of the story is set in. Alice goes on a Benny again for the Dominie not telling her stuff, and it's spot the reference to Doctor Who Stories again. Sophie Aldred acting out material that has been done before for her character, has diminished her original excellent Character no end. It's a real shame that the character has received so much attention, yet goes over so much familiar ground time and time again.
This middle section of the story is the best of the drama though. The Robot Vixxy is a fine creation, and the sheer length of time that it has been working really is the stuff of mind-blowing Sci-Fi Films. The Robot is well depicted. Again very Human like Samantha, but a real mass of conflicting programmes and circuits. It is this character that is the best apart from the 2 main leads.
When the action moves to the Missile things get very complicated. The story takes on yet another tack, and the mind is left to figure out the complexities of the Time-shifting and paradoxes. I can't get my head round these at the best of times, it's impossible when there is so much else going on with the characters and settings.
There's masses of material in Only Human, much of it is fascinating, others less so. McCoy and Aldred are superb again, but are let down by the characters around them, and at times the Script too. It's better than the Professor and Ace BBV dramas that surround it, but still is not quite up there with the excellence of the Big Finish dramas. 7/10