Synopsis: The Eleven – a Time Lord criminal, whose past selves all live on inside his head. Chaotic, yet brilliant, he has long been one of the Doctor’s most persistent and dangerous foes. Now, with a companion of his own and a world on his wavelength, he is making his greatest play for power. Can the Doctor and Constance stop him, or will they be caught inside his web?
This boxset contains 3 audio plays. In the first story, All For One, the 6th Doctor and Constance Clark. Discover an abandoned TARDIS in the time vortex. Our favourite Time Lord puts 2 and 2 together and realises the time ship belongs to the Eleven. From there we get a great rollicking old school sci-fi adventure that features clones, evil scientists and the excellent Miska, played by Lucy Gaskell. What’s great about the Eleven is that as a renegade Gallifreyan he is cunning enough to place the Doctor in situations to which there appears to be no clear solution. This challenges the Oncoming Storm and makes for great listening in my view.
Murder, they wrote
However. The Murder of Oliver Akkron. Did not work for me at all. I’ll admit to not being the biggest fan of the murder mystery genre. Yet I found this offering extremely dull. Basically, a “reformed” Eleven converses with Oliver Akkron, the ruler of the planet Monorus. And ultimately murders him with Miska’s help. Although there were some interesting sci-fi tropes such as Miska’s clones the main plot was incredibly turgid, with the Eleven and Akkron talking politely to each other. With not enough underlying menace from our time travelling villain. This is not Mark Bonnar or Simon Slater‘s fault I hasten to add. More that either not enough took place in the story or too much happened at once. What saved this outing was Bonnar and Gaskell’s interaction at the very end.
Mind our minds
Elevation absolutely smashed it into orbit in my view. We witnessed the Eleven at his most grandiose and diabolical. In contrast, we also heard a very empathetic and caring 6th Doctor, who would help anyone he came into contact with. This is something that the new series would do well to emulate in my opinion. Additionally, the plot device of the nanobots. Splitting Constance and Miska into two selves and then ten was incredibly creepy and definitely brought the squick factor. As well as the utter chaos the “Elevation” wreaked on Monorus’s population. This reviewer gave a wry smile at the Eleven holding a referendum to decide whether to use the Elevation or not also. Equally, I enjoyed that Miska was the one to ultimately foil the Eleven’s plan.
Mark Bonnar absolutely OWNS the Eleven role. His cartoonish insanity put me in mind of Neil Ross‘s Green Goblin. From the Spider-Man animated series. Additionally, he and Lucy Gaskell make a great villainous couple. What was really great also was that Bonnar showed us the heroic “Eight”. A personality that was not an evil lunatic. Besides his other selves which were nice distortions of the Doctor’s own incarnations. Furthermore, Lucy Gaskell did a decent job of showing Miska’s unhealthy attachment to the Eleven. And ultimately her emancipation at the end of the boxset.
A Timeless Time Lord
Colin Baker performed admirably as the 6th Doctor. I laughed out loud when he said “Tedious, isn’t he?” When 6 and two of the Eleven’s selves were trapped in the Doctor’s TARDIS. Baker portrayed the Doctor’s empathy and compassion for all living things with real conviction. Which riffed off Bonnar’s cackling villain nicely. Miranda Raison played a great counterpart to Sixie. Again portraying Constance’s other selves with good skill.
The Eleven is great classic sci-fi adventure. While the second story was not to my taste I applaud Big Finish for mixing up the pace of this boxset. If you’re not a fan of the 6th Doctor you will be after listening to this.
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- Audio Production10