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Audio Drama Review

Book Cover

Doctor Who
The Dark Husband


Starring: Sylvester McCoy
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £14.99 (CD), £12.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 315 6
Available 31 March 2008

A week-long respite from a prolonged and bloody war, the Festival of the Twin Moons of Tuin makes Glastonbury look like a church fete... or so the brochure says. The Doctor and Ace are looking for rest and recreation. Hex is looking for the beer tent. But eternal enemies the ginger-haired Ri and the coot-bald Ir are plotting to turn their Festival truce to their own advantage. Only the Dark Husband might stop the celebrations turning to horror... but who is the Dark Husband? And what terror awaits him on his wedding night? If anyone knows any just cause or impediment, speak now. The lives of billions depend on it...

Comedy writer David Quantick has worked with Chris Morris and Armando Iannucci on various shows, as well as penning material for programmes as diverse as Spitting Image, Smack the Pony, Harry Enfield’s Brand Spanking New Show, That Mitchell and Webb Sound and Harry Hill’s TV Burp. However, don’t expect laugh-out-loud comedy antics from his first Doctor Who script, The Dark Husband.

Much of the humour is not subtle. The tone is set in the opening moments, as Ace (Sophie Aldred) and Hex (Philip Olivier), on their way back to the TARDIS having just completed another adventure, are pursed by an angry “snot monster” and the young Scouser ends up drenched in nasal mucus. We then move to the planetary system of Tuin, which is inhabited by two diametrically opposed warring races, the Ri and the Ir - see what they did there? Listening to phonetic jokes like this could “destroy the Ir”, as the Ri spokesman Ori (Danny Webb) puts it.

As Ori, Webb (also recently heard in The Girl Who Never Was), does a decent impersonation of Brian Blessed, while his opposite number in the conflict, the Ir Irit (played by “Andy B Newb” - see what they did there?) sounds an awful lot like Leslie Phillips. As in The Girl Who Never Was, the diverse Danny Webb plays multiple roles.

There’s a decent idea at the heart of this story, but the script and the production take their time getting there. All four episodes run longer than the usual 25 minutes, despite Big Finish’s current policy of keeping episodes within that timeframe.

The interviews at the end of each disc reveal that Quantick initially proposed a story idea involving Agatha Christie - was this vetoed because of the TV series production team’s plans to feature her in Series 4? The second disc closes with a few minutes of Steve Foxon’s incidental music.

The Dark Husband is OK, but in terms of humour it’s not as funny as City of Death, Love & Monsters or Big Finish’s own The One Doctor.


Richard McGinlay

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