Written by James Goss, directed by Ken Bentley
Released March 2013
The planet Earth is under attack and no one can stop it. Those beloved puppet creations of children’s TV, the Scorchies, have shown their true nature as homicidal alien invaders. Luckily Jo Grant has maneuvered herself into the studio, unfortunately, she has just 23 minutes to defeat the creatures, make a thing, sing a song and escape unscathed.
This could possibly be the most impressively unique Doctor who audio I have ever witnessed. With very limited time and resources, a few snappy tunes worthy of the Muppets were drafted and performed by Katie Manning and Melvyn Hayes (who voices all of the Scorchies). I knew of Manning’s voice acting versatility, nut teaming her up with Hayes (better known from SuperTed, The Dreamstone, Little Dracula, Alfred J. Kwak, Pongwiffy and Budgie the Little Helicopter) is sheer genius. The story is so risky because if the Scorchies were too cute or gimmicky or the songs poor, it would have fallen flat.
I greatly dislike musicals… with a hatred that is difficult to rival. That said, I adored this one.
When Jo is ordered to make a ‘thing’ with Amble the Ugly Dolly, the Scorchies break into the instantly memorable tune ‘Jo is Making a Thing’ (which reprises later on). The ‘thing’ is of course a device that the Doctor had Jo smuggle into the studio to disrupt the psychic link from space animating the puppets, but they are far too clever. The sting to part one crushes Joe’s hope that the Doctor will save her by revealing that the monstrous invaders have killed the Doctor, they really did it, they killed the Doctor dead… in song.
I especially enjoyed the moment when Jo pleaded with viewers to change the channel, even if it meant watching Space: 1999.
The voice work in this one is top notch with just two performers drawing upon unparalleled talent to produce a lush and colorful world of deadly whimsy. I had no idea what to expect from this one and even after seeing the cover with Jo Grant surrounded by raygun-wielding puppets, but I was bowled over by the level of inventiveness displayed here. Big Finish has been knocking it out of the park for over a decade now and is certainly not resting on their laurels here. I’m not saying that everyone will love this one, but it is certainly unusual and memorable and one of my new favorites (sure, the fact that my son cannot stop singing ‘Jo is Making a Thing’ doesn’t hurt. It also perfectly captures the series 8 Doctor Who era when the Earth was under attack from so many fronts and the Doctor was still a mysterious alien defender with an uncanny ability to defeat them all, often using bits of cork and a bog roll.
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