DOCTOR WHO: THE LAS T ADVEN TURE
Six’s final outing
Of all the ways in which the Sixth Doctor got a raw deal in his televisual era, one of the most galling is that, thanks to Colin Baker being fired from the role, he’s the only Doctor to never get a proper finale: bumping his head at the start of 1987’ s “Time And The Rani” is hardly a dramatic cause for regeneration. Big Finish have set out to change that with this box set, a quartet of one- hour episodes designed to give Baker’s Doctor the last hurrah he deserves.
To mark the occasion, they’ve pitched him against the evil alternate incarnation of the Doctor known as the Valeyard ( Michael Jayston). However, they’ve also presented these stories as four separate adventures, each with a different companion, meaning that a lot of The Last Adventure plays more like a loosely structured anthology than a grand climax.
This isn’t helped by some early wobbles – End Of The Line has engagingly creepy moments but is nearly sunk by overwritten dialogue, while The Red House mixes bizarre accents with excessive overacting. Stage Fright is a routine but fun Victorian romp helped by the presence of spin- off characters Jago and Litefoot, and it’s only in The Brink Of Death that everything clicks and the box set finally gives us a tense, gripping climax.
Baker is on top form throughout, and Jayston also gives an impressive performance, even though the Valeyard remains a messily- conceived villain who only becomes truly scary in The Brink Of Death. The final episode is a well- crafted, genuinely fitting finale for Baker, and could easily have been expanded, making it a shame that The Last Adventure spends so much time feeling like a lengthy, slightly rambling prologue. Saxon Bullock
“Can I have your coat when you croak?”