The Fourth Wall (2012)

The second story to feature Flip Jackson sees the return of an majorly underused Doctor Who prop and that is the Time-Space Visualser which appeared in the 1965 adventure ‘The Chase’ and it’s quite fitting that it appears in this story because as the title suggest, this story is about television and the lack of morals that occupy the people involved. The story is centred around a TV show that has a hint of reality TV which is being run by a media boss called Augustus Scullop who is down on his luck and this show called Laser is what he hopes will reverse those fortunes however it uses technology which as is the norm in Doctor Who, goes slightly wrong. Large chunks of this story feel deliberately comedic. The idea that is dramatic music and specific moments and the characters refer to this is not something that is done and there were many more moments which seemed to be clearly intended to be not treated as serious stuff and normally I wouldn’t like this but what the writer has done is find the right balance and manages to make it work.

Colin Baker is back on fine form like he was in the previous story. I must admit he wasn’t well served in 2011 but is doing better here because he is fantastic in pretty much every scene he’s in. I wasn’t totally convinced with his first scene where we are expected to believe that the Doctor is still quite interested in cricket. It’s a small issue but it was the only thing that I could think off about Baker’s performance. Lisa Greenwood continues to impress me as she manages to escape the ‘Chav’ label that this character was obviously destined for and the character of Flip which I didn’t really notice in ‘The Crimes of Thomas Brewster’ has really shone in these two stories. I cant quite make my mind up about whether the moment when Flip is shot was a good idea or a silly one. On the one hand its clear that a Doctor Who companion isnt going to be killed so quickly after joining but as was noted in the interviews at the end as it’s a character created by Big Finish, it’s perfectly plausible that this could happen. The supporting cast is also quite strong with particular worthy mention going to Yasmin Bannermen who previously appeared in the 2008 story ‘The Bride of Peladon). Her character was one of those that is finely balanced between being a bad person and someone who is likeable and by the end of it comes out relatively well.

It’s difficult for me to compare ‘The Curse of Davros’ with ‘The Fourth Wall’ because its slightly one sided as one story has a very well established character and the other doesn’t but what I can say is that this story is highly enjoyable. The combination of the Sixth Doctor and Flip is working well and I look forward to the final story in this series. 2012 continues it’s good start.

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