"'Ere, listen, listen, I've got one for you. There once
was this bloke. Good-looking sort of chap. Lovely, bright-coloured
coat. Called himself the Doctor. Doctor who, you ask? And
may well you. Don't know, meself. No one ever knew. Funny
that. He was a strange one. Odd things happened when he arrived.
Mind you, them were dark days. No one was laughing. It was
like playing first house at the Glasgow Empire. Like the entire
town was cursed, it was. Cursed by something not of this world..."
This audio adventure has more than a little in common with
Like Medicinal Purposes, which marked the Doctor
Who debut of writer Robert Ross, this follow-up stars
Colin Baker and Maggie Stables as the Doctor and Evelyn. As
with Ross's earlier tale, Pier Pressure deals with
a historical period (1936) and a real-life character (legendary
music hall comedian Max Miller). And once again, the story
features an impressive guest appearance by a present-day hero
of British comedy.
In this instance, the guest star in question is Roy Hudd.
Best known for his comedic performances, Hudd has also proven
his ability at straight acting, with roles in productions
such as Lipstick on Your Collar and Jack, the Last
Victim. Here he steals the show as his own comic hero,
the cheeky chappie Miller. Perhaps Maxie was wrong when he
said, "There'll never be another..."
Though several unpleasant events befall the characters in
this play, there are, quite appropriately, more than a few
laughs along the way. As Miller, Hudd issues a steady supply
of double entendres, especially when in the presence of Maggie
Stables. Colin Baker also enjoys a joke or three. There are
a couple of digs at the less fortunate aspects of the Sixth
Doctor's television tenure, as the Time Lord describes the
1980s as being "a garish decade" and the BBC as "often unforgiving
to their finest assets".
reviewers have expressed relief that Evelyn has returned and
Than Water did not mark the character's final
appearance (though chronologically speaking it does come last).
I never got the impression that Evelyn would not be coming
back in "past" adventures such as this one, though unfortunately
it does mean that we now know she is always going to survive
whatever perils she faces, which could undermine the drama.
As it is, the plot is rather slow moving, and the cliffhangers
less than impressive. The first one isn't really a cliffhanger
at all, while the third recycles an ingredient from the second.
Also, the redesigned sleeve notes are less detailed than they
used to be, providing no background information about the
development of the script.
is, nevertheless, an entertaining story. Worth peering at
- particularly if you have a fondness for Brighton or the
comic talents of Hudd or Miller.
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