Friday, 1 July 2011

Exile written and direct by Nicholas Briggs

What’s it about: All the Doctor has to do to avoid being caught by the Time Lords is work in a supermarket and go to the pub. It's a cunning plan - certainly far less dangerous than fighting the dreaded Quarks and all those other alien fiends. But just when everything seemed mundane and safe, alien transmissions, exploding poison gas, Princess Anne and wobbly trolleys burst onto the scene to ruin everything. It's a crisis! A fiendish alien plot! And the Doctor must use all the resources at her disposal to defeat it. She'll probably need to have a large vodka first, though.

Female Doctor: What a shame to have the extraordinary idea of exploring the Doctor as a woman wasted on such a dreadful, dreadful script. The Doctor used to find things fascinating but now she prefers getting pissed, burping loads and throwing up. I think I’d rather hang about the idiot Valeyard from He Jests at Scars. Scenes of her confronting who she thinks is the Master and burping a lot is as painful as it sounds. Why change the habit of this lifetime…she usually winds up hugging the loo in the evenings. Hearing her exclaiming ‘shit!’ whilst spitting out the last remaining vomit and finishing off with a vomit burp might just be the lowest ebb Big Finish have sunk to. Her intelligent reasoning is that if she behaves like a pissed idiot the Time Lords will never be able to find her.

Standout Performance: There are some awful attempts to hide the fact that the small cast are playing other parts by disguising them behind offensive accents.

Sparkling Dialogue: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Move along.

Great Ideas: Apparently you only change sex as a Time Lord when you commit suicide.

Audio Landscape: For a story with this much toilet humour naturally there are plenty of burps, vomit forcing it way up peoples throats and of course toilets flushing!

Isn’t it Odd:
· Opening on a terrible gag is not a good sign. Sainsbury’s shortbread biscuits are most definitely not good for dunking.
· I know that humour is blokey sitcoms is supposed to be forced and obvious but did it have to be quite this forced and obvious. Being scheduled next to Deadline does this story know favours at all because Rob Shearman’s opus was intelligently written comedy whereas this is about as in the gutter as you can get and suffers because of the comparison.
· The Doctor is a woman who works at Sainsburys and has friends called Cherrie and Cheese and they get drunk every night and do an awful lot of burping. I wouldn’t want to know the sort of people that find this sort of thing funny.
· ‘After five pints of lager Cheese starts thinking his beer tastes like cheese. That’s why we call him Cheese’ – and that’s the level of sophistication the characterisation reaches.
· The previous Doctor returns to haunt his current self and accuses her of murdering him by jumping off a telescope. ‘But the moment had been prepared for!’ she exclaims. Fuck me this is bad. Don’t get me started on the chat about Quarks not being able to go up stairs.
· The swearing, badly clothed Time Lords buying dog food from the supermarket add insult to injury – its material that even David Tennant can’t rise above (‘both of us are wearing the stupid trousers!). The scenes where they pretend to be ‘oooh-argh!’ country bumpkins defy belief.
· There is a fascinating discussion of how poo-ey gases are released into Sainsburys car parks otherwise everybody would be showered in shit. I was on the verge of giving up at this point.
· Where would we be without blokes in rubber masks with silly comic voices? Unbelievably the aliens are in league with the Quarks and are trying to explode the anal gases to kill Queen Anne in Sainsburys car park! I know I keep mentioning Sainsburys but that banality of the supermarket setting seems to embody everything that is wrong with this story.
· ‘Feels like a bear’s done a big poo in my mouth!’ and ‘But worse of all you had a sex change regeneration!’

Standout Scene: Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Move along.

Notes: Even with stories like He Jests at Scars and The Dark Husband that execute their naff ideas abominably you can understand what the writers were going for even if it was appallingly misconceived. With Exile I have absolutely no idea what Nicholas Briggs was getting at when he wrote this story. I don’t get the point of it whatsoever.

Result: Arabella Weir is a fine comic and good actress but you would never be able to tell with a story this lousy to front. The script never goes for anything but the sleaziest of jokes and I find it hard to believe that there is anybody out there who would consider listening to the Doctor vomiting, getting pissed and passing wind a worthwhile experience. Its not even so bad its good…its just offensive. Sainsburys car parks, pornography, sick, swearing, poo jokes, vomit burps…Exile has got it all. The thing is we have now had an episode written by the creator of the blokeiest sitcom around (Amy’s Choice) and it was miles better than this load of old cobblers. I was convinced we had seen Big Finish’s nadir in He Jests at Scars but you have to had it to the Unbound series – two such irredeemable disasters so close together probably saw this series cancelled on the spot. One of the very few Big Finish stories I actually found it a struggle to write anything about: 0/10

Buy it from Big Finish here:


Matthew Celestis said...

It was a bit of a wasted story.

Arabella Weir might actually have made a good female Doctor if she played it straight.

This story is such an illustrative example of unimaginative writing. They had the wild idea to do a female Doctor, but could not think what do with her.

Anonymous said...

I don't think this one is a complete waste. I like the idea of the Doctor driven to drink by the bad choices s/he has made. Doing THIS as your one female Doctor story seems a complete waste though. It tumbles back and forth between being funny and showing the doctor at his lowest self. The problem is "the Doctor is female" isn't enough to go on by itself.