Review: Doctor Who: Big Finish Audio 157: The Fourth Wall

The planet Transmission is home to an experiment that somehow manages to pull the Doctor’s companion Flip into a very different reality…

As has been pointed out by a number of people, John Dorney is one of Big Finish’s real finds, and with this script, he has produced one of the best stories for Colin Baker’s Doctor in recent times. The nature of the tale fits with the sometimes heightened reality of his era, yet he manages to make some quite serious points about the responsibilities of scientists and writers.

He also pulls off a trick that is extremely hard to do in this spoiler-filled age (and don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil it here), and does it well enough that I seriously wondered whether Big Finish had deliberately planted a great deal of misinformation to put listeners off the scent of the truth. He also puts in the trapdoor that allows him to complete the illusion surreptitiously enough that what needs to be done becomes obvious to the listener only a few moments before it occurs to the Doctor.

The cast pulls double duty in this, with many of them playing two roles – the bitchy actors, and the parts they play on a new sort of TV show. And of course when we get the inevitable combination of the two, director Nick Briggs ensures that as a listener you’re always clear which we’re listening to.

If you’ve ever wanted to know how The Last Action Hero would have worked if all its ramifications had been thought through (I was going to add the word “properly” there, but in fact, just “thought through” will do!), then you’ll enjoy The Fourth Wall. Highly recommended.  9/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order The Fourth Wall from Big Finish

<<< 156: The Curse of Davros


2 thoughts on “Review: Doctor Who: Big Finish Audio 157: The Fourth Wall

  1. Sadly for me this didn’t work as well as it seems to have for many others. I suspect the author/ cast/ production team all enjoyed the many levelled nature of this but as a listener I found myself wanting a bit more plot and action. I am not adverse to Big Finish having fun (I love Pirates for example) but this didn’t work for me.

    Yes good writing in many places, great dialogue for Flip and some moralising on the author’s responsibilities to their creations but for me not the story it could have been

    Posted by HelmStone | February 20, 2012, 3:11 pm
  2. Just finished this ‘un today and thoroughly enjoyed it! The premise had a bit of a “Jasper Fforde ffeel” to it, and I can’t remember the last time I chuckled — and actually laughed — at the goings-on I was listening to! 🙂

    Posted by John S. Hall | March 6, 2012, 4:30 am

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