It’s very rare that I can know what I’m going to think of a story after just 10 seconds but The Scorchies is one of those stories. The story sees the for mentioned Scorchies attempting to take over the world and they also want to kill the Doctor. The story has been written by Toms Tardis Award winner James Goss and if you can’t tell from the cover that this isn’t going to be a typical companion chronicle then you are in for a surprise. First thing that strikes me when I was listening to it is trying to figure out who came up with this idea.
The idea of a TV programme going to planets and hypnotising the audience is one that is barmy and brilliant in equal measure. The idea itself doesn’t sound like it could be menacing but when you chuck in the mice voices and other child-like voices it becomes a lot more sinister. The Scorchies are given some substance to them when we learn that the Doctor recognises them from other planets. As plots go, it relatively straight forward and I felt at times to be in the background because the wacky voices and songs took centre stage and are the things that I remember best about this release.
The songs that are used in this story are brilliant. I could listen to them again and again, they were fun and entertaining. Some of the lyrics that stood out for me include
‘Jo is making a thing! , It’s got lights that and go bing’ and ‘We killed him dead, oh yes stone dead, yes we killed that pesky Doctor dead’.
In the interview section at the end Richard Fox & Lauren Yason say that the Muppets was mentioned when they were working on this story and that is something which is obvious from the cover. Fox & Yason both deserve high praise for the lyrics that have been written in that Muppets style. They have worked on too many productions to mention but their consistently high quality is something that is credit to Big Finish. On the performance side of things Katy Manning is clearly having fun and gives a superb performance as a result. She is always someone that knows how to use her voice well and doesn’t just provide the voice for Jo and her impression of the Doctor but she also provides some of the other voices and they aren’t obvious at first. Melvyn Hayes is great as well and he seems to having just as much fun as Katy. Hayes is perhaps best known for him career in comedy and so seemed a perfect choice for what must have looked like a bonkers script.
James Goss has turned out to be a really creative writer. I wasn’t so wild about his first Companion Chronicle but found The Last Post (winner of multiple Toms Tardis Awards) to be a cracking story and he manages to continue the trend in the right direction. Ken Bentley has done well managing to make some very wild elements and get it working in the way that the writer must have hoped for. As you might have guessed, I loved ‘The Scorchies’ and think that its possibly going to be one of my favourite companion chronicles of 2013. I know that it won’t be to everyone taste but I think that once you look past the fact you’re not going to get The Time Museum or The Last Post then your free to submerge yourself in a nostalgia themed coated adventure that is great from start to finish.