Monday, 30 November 2015

The Early Adventures 2.3 - The Black Hole

It’s not often I find myself lost for words when writing a review. This is one of those occasions. The Black Hole is a very difficult story to talk about unless the person you are talking about it with has already experienced the story. To quote Blackadder “it twists and turns like a… twisty turny thing” and covers several different types of storytelling while still remaining faithful to the ethos of the Troughton era and making you view a certain Colin Baker story in a completely different way. This is a really important story, and skirting around the “twisty turny things” I will try to give you a flavour of what its all about…
Simon Guerrier is a brave man – a very brave man indeed – because, lets face it, Who fans are a (small “c”) conservative lot when it comes to established canon (QI Klaxon alert!) and continuity. So, me being the radical rebel that I am take my reviewer’s hat off to Simon for not only for going against established canon, but for going against it and winning – you see The Black Hole introduces the Time Lords to Doctor Who, and in terms of continuity they are introduced at least 18 month earlier than in The War Games. Now before you all start building Troughton sized Wicker Men to hold Mr Guerrier, you may also want to consider his second crime of – CENSORED TO PRESERVE “TWISTY TURNY” ASPECT OF STORY! – that happens during episode three…
So, what can I tell you about The Black Hole? Well, it has a Black Hole and this is causing time to keep standing still on a research station. Being Time Travellers, The Second Doctor (amazingly realised by Frazer Hines), Jamie (Frazer Hines, again) and Victoria (Deborah Watling) are not affected by the phenomenon. They meet up with Commander Flail (Janet Dibley) and investigate the cause. And it’s during these investigations that they meet Constable Pavo (Rufus Hound) a Time Lord and Constable of Chapter 9, and after a false start, the Doctor and Pavo come up with a plan to stabilise The Black Hole.
And that is really all I can say without totally ruining the story – it starts as a mystery, transforms into a time travel story and finishes with, well… I will let you find out for yourselves.
The sound design is pure “Troughton”, close your eyes and the images in your head will be in Black and White – for all its radical ideas it is very much rooted in 1968. It was lovely to hear Deborah Watling back as Victoria, she is a character I would love to hear more from on Big Finish. Frazer Hines is uncanny as Troughton, all the pauses, throat clearings and vocal mannerisms are superb, and he can now play Jamie to perfection in his sleep, he just slips back instantly into character. Janet Dibley gives a no nonsense performance as Flail, but the real star of the proceedings is Rufus Hound as Pavo. Take a look at his picture on the cover, imagine the sort of performance that type of character would give, turn it up a notch, and you are there. Hound is wonderful, fruity, snooty, dangerous, manipulative and vindictive – a magnificent addition to the pantheon of Time Lords, I do hope he shows up in another story very soon…
So vaguery rules the day in this review, but my vaguery is well justified – there is a link below that says “BUY YOUR COPY HERE” and I suggest you do because The Black Hole is a corker of a story that will make you revise opinions of several eras and of one of the central aspects of Who Mythology, and there are not many stories that I can say that about.
Overall a Cosmically balanced and Twisty Turny 10/10.