Sunday, November 8, 2020

Doctor Who: Drowning out the drums of war


I go through phases of listening to a lot of the Doctor Who audio adventures that Big Finish put out, and just discovered the library has a heap of them, so have been pounding through them.

Some of them have been great - I really like a lot of the Unbound ones, where continuity goes right out the window and into the vortex - and a few of them have been staggeringly mediocre. But the production values, foley work and acting are generally astounding, and the remixed theme for the War Doctor audios, starring the incomparable John Hurt is fuckin' rad. 

I still genuinely believe the Doctor Who theme music is a great big metaphor for the entire series - the solid beating rhythm that underlines it can be seen as the most basic and oddly linear of plots that almost all Who stories adhere to in a strict episodic format, while all that high-tech blaring that goes with it represents the craziness that gets slapped on top of that plot, all the outrageous sci-fi concepts and characters that the writers delight in dreaming up.

And the War Doctor remix adds another level, with the beat given a thudding military march, before being briefly overwhelmed as the music soars, and promises that there is still heroes out there, who will always stand up for the right thing, even during the horrors of conflict. That taste of heroism only lasts a moment, before the drums of war take over again, but it's still there. The Doctor is still there.

The War Doctor audios get a lot out of the incomparable talents of John Hurt in his final days, but they all start off with a fierce reminder of what the Doctor's story is all about. Even if he doesn't use that name anymore.

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