Doctor Who
The One Doctor

Starring: Colin Baker
Big Finish Productions
ISBN 1 903654 56 4, BFPDWCD7CR
Available now

The Doctor and Mel rush to the aid of the people of the Generios system, who face attack by the evil Skelloids. When the TARDIS arrives, however, the time-travellers discover that Generios has already been saved - by someone who calls himself "the Doctor"...

An illustrious cast list that includes Christopher Biggins, 2 Point 4 Children's Clare Buckfield, Shooting Stars star Matt Lucas and one half of The Adam and Joe Show, Adam Buxton, might tip you off to the fact that this production is not to be taken too seriously. But then, what else would you expect from Gareth Roberts - the author of so many humorous Who novels, short stories and articles - and Clayton Hickman, his collaborator in the fiction anthology Short Trips and Side-Steps?

The plot is reminiscent of the Live Fast and Prosper episode of Star Trek: Voyager, in which con artists masquerade as Captain Janeway and her crew. I'm not really giving the plot away, though, because the presence of a phoney Doctor is merely the starting point for this wacky, festive adventure.

Biggins plays the impostor, Banto Zame, to perfection, and the same can be said of Buckfield in her role as his companion, Sally-Anne. Whilst "in character" as the Doctor and his assistant, this duo mercilessly mocks the most risible moments of the Doctor Who television series. Banto overacts; Sally-Anne wears a leotard and impractical high heels; and both of them spout meaningless jargon (as in the similarly on-the-nail sketch written by Victoria Wood that appeared on the Curse of Fatal Death video). By contrast, the true personalities of Banto and Sally-Anne illustrate Doctor Who's uniqueness by demonstrating what the Doctor and his companions are not: self-centred characters with dubious morals and rampant sexual appetites.

Neither Colin Baker nor Bonnie Langford shy away from sending themselves up in the name of good fun. During the opening moments, Baker all but reprises his over-the-top performance as the evil Editor in MJTV's Soldiers of Love. The shape and sound of Banto's fake TARDIS are also on a par with the (ahem) toilet humour of SOL! Other comedic highlights include Jane Goddard's excellent impersonation of Anne Robinson, while fans of Lee and Herring will appreciate Citizen Sokkery's (Nicholas Pegg) pronunciation of the word "skeleton".

The quest format of the story runs out of steam by the final episode, but jokes such as the aforementioned should keep you entertained right up to the end. Make sure you continue listening after the last track has apparently finished...

Richard McGinlay