Doctor Who
Horror of Glam Rock

Starring: Paul McGann
Big Finish Productions
RRP: 10.99
ISBN: 978 1 84435 257 9
Available 21 March 2007

The Doctor and Lucie go glam when they make an unexpected landing in 1974 - which is as close to Lucie's time as the TARDIS is allowed to get. Slade, Sweet and Suzi Quatro are top of the pops, and brother-and-sister duo The Tomorrow Twins will soon be joining their ranks, if star-making Svengali Arnold Korns has his way. But will their dreams of fame turn to dust at a service station somewhere on the M62, as Tommy Tomorrow succumbs to a musical alien influence and the eatery is besieged by a pack of hungry monsters...?

The glam rock connection is nothing new to Doctor Who. In 1988, The Timelords (alias Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, later to become The KLF), famously fused the Who theme, Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll (Part Two)" and Sweet's "Blockbuster!" to create the novelty single "Doctorin' the Tardis".

The same sense of fun pervades this production, from its title (an obvious but nonetheless irresistible pun on Horror of Fang Rock), to the death of a Mike Jagger soundalike, the incidental music of Tim Sutton, and the specially remixed end theme. Una Stubbs is delightful as the unshockable caterer Flo, while Bernard Cribbins (who previously appeared in the second Cushing movie) puts in a characteristic turn as the quietly ruthless Arnold Korns. In deference to Cribbins's presence, writer Paul Magrs throws in a quick allusion to The Wombles and, perhaps owing to the casting of Clare Buckfield, a Tomorrow People reference too.

Despite her comedy credentials (2point4 children and the Sixth Doctor Who audio The One Doctor), Buckfield plays it completely straight as Trisha Tomorrow, as does former Boyzone star Stephen Gately as her brother Tommy.

The writer seems a little unclear as to how long the Doctor (Paul McGann) and Lucie (Sheridan Smith) have been travelling together. Lucie seems to know the Time Lord well enough to be aware that "he always takes over" and she says that she has "got used to weird lately", yet later on she feels the need to ask the Doctor whether his travels are always so fraught with danger. What is undeniable, though, is that the two are gradually getting closer to each other.

The villains of the piece are rather similar to the Wire in the David Tennant episode The Idiot's Lantern - even down to the way in which the Doctor defeats them - but apart from that, Horror of Glam Rock is immensely enjoyable. It is quite possibly the best of the Eighth Doctor BBC 7 productions.

Richard McGinlay

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