by Justin Richards
Audio drama available from Big Finish
Continuing the "new" series of adventures with The Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and Leela (Louise Jameson) is this wonderful tale, The Renaissance Man, from Justin Richards (whose considerable Who background spans almost twenty years; writing fiction, reference and audio). Set between The Talons of Weng-Chiang and Horror of Fang Rock, this story finds us in the Morovanian Museum where the Time Lord has taken his companion for some "education" (cheap date, more like).
Instead, the pair rock up at a creepy Manor (again? I hear you cry) where the inhabitants aren't all they seem. In fact, "facts" and information here are also not what they seem in this modern story where the difference between data and knowledge is explored. That may make this story seem like a worthy and sensible affair - it's anything but.
The Renaissance Man is delightfully bouncy right from the start (where The Doctor mistakes a dog for the intelligent life~form on the planet) and the laughs continue throughout. Baker and Jameson are really hitting their collective stride now; especially the former who is well on his way to recreating the tones of his younger self. Accompanying the tittersome twosome is Churchill himself, Ian McNeice (Victory of the Daleks, Wedding of River Song), who plays "villain" of the piece, Harcourt. It's an assured performance though he is very identifiable as his Prime Minister alter ego.
The production, as always with Big Finish, matches the quality of performances and a tip of the hat on the score, which pastiches the orchestral stylings of composer of the day (well, "back in the day", that is) Dudley Simpson. Writer Richards has created a superb outing for Baker and Jameson, allowing them to chomp on a feast of amusing lines but also giving some thought towards the digital age, where knowledge is vastly different to simple information.
To supplement the two~part tale, you also get some extras in the form of behind~the~scenes interviews with the cast and crew - which really adds to the already enjoyable experience. A very astute touch, making The Renaissance Man even more of a must listen.
BLOGTOR RATING 8/10RECENT POSTS
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