Review of Doctor Who: Black and White written by Matt Fitton and published by Big Finish
This middle release in what may come to be known as the Seventh Doctor’s ‘Elder Gods’ trilogy sees Ace and Hex joined by Lysandra Aristedes and Sally Morgan as they hunt for the missing Time Lord.
Discovering the Doctor’s abandoned copy of ‘Beowulf’, the quartet journey back to the time and lands of the Danes, though Ace and Aristedes arrive 16 years after Hex and Sally. Their paths converge as a troublesome alien and his warrior robot interfere with the legend of Grendel.
Writer Matt Fitton packs a huge amount into these four episodes, and only long term subscribers are likely to follow the story completely, as plot strands from the last couple of years of releases weave into the tale. Morgan does get aome great backstory with flashbacks to her adventures with the Doctor that sound almost more exciting than the main narrative. But newcomers to the Big Finish range would do well to dip into the back catalogue, or at least catch up via TardisWiki.
Stuart Milligan deserves a mention for his lively performance as the alien Garundel. Coming across like an escapee from the HitchHiker’s Guide, his scenes do much to give contrast against the slightly more dour Danish characters, and his survival of at least two decapitations is nothing short of remarkable.
This is even more of a Doctor-lite release than last month’s Protect and Survive, but the cast don’t let that phase them with some charged exchanges and action scenes. Sophie Aldred is particularly good in her encounters with Beowulf and his court.
When the Doctor does appear in flashback, nurturing his infant black Tardis, he just deepens the mystery further. What is the relevance of the Black and White Tardises (Tardi)? Why has the Doctor kept Ace and Hex away from his other companions? And who is the boss of the forge? You won’t get all the answers here, as the end simply sets up a ?conclusion in next month’s Gods and Monsters. Do listen past the closing music though for a chilling ‘end credits’ sequence.
Quite how the trilogy will end is anyone’s guess, but if you’ve come this far, you won’t want to stop now. I get the feeling this battle against the Elder Gods won’t finish well for everyone.