The Spectre of Lanyon Moor
The Chimes of Midnight
The Audio Scripts Volume Three
|Summary: Four scripts from Big Finish, plus early versions, lost dialogue and introductions from the authors.|
Three out of Five by Jamas Enright 28/9/04
What can I say about volume three that I haven't already said? The format of volume three is similar to that of two, with scripts, changes as end-notes, and a slew of appendices.
The fifth Doctor story is Spare Parts (voted number one in the recent TSV poll!). We get introductions from writer Marc Platt and director Gary Russell. The appendix features the story submission, entitled 'Carry On Up The Cyber'. The story is a little different: that the planet is Mondas is the first cliff-hanger, and the Doctor isn't as active. The best parts, considering how well the story is known, are the author and director comments in the end notes, which offer an interesting insight into the process of story-telling and audio recording.
The sixth Doctor story is The Spectre of Lanyon Moor. The introductions are written by Colin Baker and writer/director Nicholas Pegg. For me, the oddest part was reading the story submission (called 'For Fear of Little Men') in the appendix, this story being one of the three written for Tom Baker's Doctor to tempt him to work for Big Finish. Seeing the story referring to the Doctor and Sarah Jane was most disconcerting when one has Colin Baker and Maggie Stables' voices in your head. There are only a few changes noted in the endnotes, merely 57 of them.
And from the fewest endnotes, we go to the story with the most endnotes, a whopping 220 of them, in which many of the author comments are about him trying to justify various parts of the story. I am speaking of the seventh Doctor story The Rapture, with introductions by writer Joseph Lidster and director Jason Haigh-Ellery. In the appendix, we are treated to the full script process, from the initial submission (called 'The Priory Experience'), to Gary Russell's reply, to the revamp version, to further email communications. Having read it all, and seen what villains we nearly had cropping up, frankly we should feel lucky about the story we got! (Yes, it could have been worse. Surprising, but true.)
The eighth Doctor story is The Chimes of Midnight, with introductions by writer Robert Shearman (who tells us how this was his worst writing experience ever) and director Barnaby Edwards (who tells us how great the script is). And it is a great script, which sparkles on the page almost as much as the full audio did, although it did shatter one illusion I had about a great line (just before scene 19, I'm positive the line is better as 'That was almost helpful.'). The story submission at the end is far briefer than the other submissions, and ends very open-endedly (although this is explained by the role this story was suppose to fulfil at the beginning of the second McGann season).
As much as these scripts are an interesting read, I would like to suggest to Big Finish that they look at theme script collections, such as the (shorter) scripts for the Unbound series, or the Sarah-Jane Smith adventures. On the other hand, they are producing the scripts for the Dalek Empire series, so there is hope for other themed collections. But in the meantime, I'll be happy with these.