“Now history will have to change!”

“Happy birthday to Who, happy birthday to Who, happy birthday dear timelordNhappy birthday to you!” Oh, sorry, just getting in the mood- its not long now until November, and this release marks the last ‘regular’ release of 2003- after this we have OMEGA, DAVROS and MASTER, followed by the three disc/four Doc ZAGREUS, THE WORMERY (the Christmas special) and then ‘Season 29’ (the new McGann audio’s). Well, a very packed slate, but you don’t want to know about all that- is FLIP-FLOP worth buying?!

This release has ‘experiment’ written all over it. From the main selling point that the story can be listened to in either order (there is no disc 1 or disc 2, the CD’s are black and white) to the packaging itself (a cardboard sleeve holds two separate cd cases) FLIP-FLOP is Big Finish having a go at something a bit different, trying something that the two disc audio medium can do that tv, or radio could not. It’s a great, strikingly original idea that stretches everything to the limit. Its also obviously been meticulously constructed- Jonathan Morris’s script is precise in the extreme- each new scene moves plot and character along, barely a word is wasted without it having some baring at some point- what one character does at point A, affects everyone else at point b and so on.

The performances are very good. McCoy is excellent as usual, the supporting players handle their dual roles very well- not one cast member is bad. Not even Mel. I have to apologise here- over the time I have been a WHO fan, I have gone on about the ‘evil’ Mel. Well, judging from her performance here, she’s not all that bad at all- Bonnie Langford, all is forgiven! A mention should also be made to the setting, the planet Puxatornee on Christmas eve/ Christmas day at various points in its history. I LOVE Crimbo, and this play while not very festive, will bear a repeat listening around then (not just to listen to both CD’s both ways to work things out.)

But there are problems- the changing the history time line apart from being un-original also causes the story to feel like its repeating itself all over again. But there are problems- the changing the history time line apart from being un-original also causes the story to feel like its repeating itself all over again-oops, looks like its not just the play then. Scenes that take place on the first cd you listen to are repeated word for word at some points on the second disc- not so much that it gets really annoying, but any more and this could have been a serious nag. As it is, it’s tolerable. Also, while the script is very good, it’s all a little- bland. Theres very little going on, most of the time, which makes it a bit of a plod. Also, the lack of cd1 or cd2 means that there is no end to FLIP-FLOP, you could keep going black-white- black-white- black-white forever, clever yes, but the lack of story closure is a problem. This also means the cliff-hanger is in effect the same on both CD’s, and the fact it’s a really naff one too doesn’t help.

But after that big moan, is FLIP-FLOP worth spending your cash on. Yes, the format is innovative and clever, and this is worth listening to both ways to get everything clear in your head, but that could take a long time to untangle FLIP-FLOP’s multilayered plot!

FLIP-FLOP is an experiment that succeeds in the fact it works. But it feels like too much time was spent on making sure the whole thing worked than ensuring that it was exciting too. I really hope BF try this again, with the same TARDIS team, they work very well here. Overall FLIP-FLOP is a good try at something different, and for that Big Finish should be commended.


THE DOCTOR WILL RETURN IN: OMEGA, the first of the Anniversary specials, starring Peter Davidson as the Doctor, with Ian Collier as Omega.


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