Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Bang-Bang-A-Boom! by: Gareth Roberts and Clayton Hickman directed by: Nicholas Pegg: Oh Look Doctor Another Body

Bang-Bang-A-Boom! stars Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor with Graeme Garden as Professor Ivor Fassbinder, Patricia Quinn as Angvia, Nickolas Grace as Loozly, Sabina Frankyn as Dr. Eleanor Harcourt and Bonnie Langford as Mel.  It was written by Gareth Roberts and Clayton Hickman, directed by Nicholas Pegg and released in December 2002 by Big Finish Productions.


I’m in a bit of a hard place with this one as Bang-Bang-A-Boom! is the second satire from Roberts and Hickman, but instead of a satire on Doctor Who this one is a satire of many different things that I am not familiar with.  Mainly this is a satire of the Star Trek franchise to the novels of Agatha Christe and the Eurovision Song Contest neither of which I am familiar with at all.  This makes the story a great opportunity to see if Roberts and Hickman are good satirists as good satire can make you realize what it is doing without you having prior knowledge of what is being satirized.  I would argue that this is a good satire as Roberts and Hickman work well at making fun of the core ideas of Star Trek and a lot of the tropes of the show and how it fell from grace after The Next Generation stopped airing in the mid-1990s.  You have the ship’s technical officer who is a drunk, the doctor that has no idea what she’s doing and you have an alarm button placed in an almost too easy to reach place that it often goes off with false alarms.  It is honestly really quite funny, but when compared to The One Doctor, this one has a lot of flaws.


The plot sees the Doctor and Mel arrive on Dark Space 8 where there are several murders taking place during the Intergalactic Song Contest which is actually a fa├žade for the Peace Conference which is just a funny idea.  The Doctor plays Poirot while Mel plays Watson and they have to find the murderer before it is too late.  Sylvester McCoy gets a chance here to spread his comedic acting which is great as always.  Unlike Season 24 the script works well for comedy as the Doctor is pretty much the fool throughout the story.  He works really well off his costars especially Bonnie Langford, who is great in her own right and Patricia Quinn.  Yes Magenta from The Rocky Horror Picture Show plays a big part in this story and she is over the top and amazing as always.  I mean its Patricia Quinn in a Doctor Who comedy, if that doesn’t get you excited nothing will.


The supporting cast is mainly stereotypes of American science fiction characters which are all pulled off really well and I don’t want to give too much away as the story is just such a good one that letting out the jokes would be ruining some great comedy.  Not all jokes make their mark as there are pauses that just don’t feel right and it’s obvious when something isn’t funny.  I will say however to beware the pits of Angvia which gosh is hilarious.  Also there is a The Curse of Peladon style ending scene which had me in stitches as it addresses the Doctor not being who he says he is which I love to bits.  This story however has one main flaw which is its length.  So each episode is announced by a continuity announcer which are all hilarious but it just makes you notice how long the episodes are which doesn’t help matters.  Part Four has a great gag where you think it’s all over, but you’re only about halfway through the episode.  The gag is great, however the following scenes aren’t as they drag on for way too long and just take you out of the action.


To summarize, Bang-Bang-A-Boom! is really just depending on your tastes as there are things to like and things to hate.  Some people absolutely despise this story which is fine as the length is way too long and some jokes are hit or miss but when they hit they hit hard.  The acting is some of the best comedic acting and it’s got Patricia Quinn in it which is great.  65/100

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