The Doctor emerges from his trial a changed man – and a very melancholy one. Seeking a bit of refuge to contemplate recent events, he happens upon Bianca’s, an exclusive nightclub in World War II-era Berlin, but even as he tries to relax, he notices that things may not be as they appear. Worse yet, even as he tries to piece together what’s going on, Iris Wildthyme staggers into Bianca’s as well, shattering any hope the Doctor may have had of discreetly investigating the mystery.
Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Katy Manning (Iris Wildthyme), Maria McErlane (Bianca), Paul Clayton (Henry), Jane McFarlane (Mickey), James Campbell (Allis / Ballis), Mark Donovan (Corporal Sturmer), Ian Brooker (Barman)
Timeline: not long after The Trial Of A Time Lord
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: Originally, word had it that The Wormery was only going to be a give-away to subscribers of Big Finish’s Doctor Who audio range – not unlike The Maltese Penguin – and though it was later sold to the general public, one can see why The Wormery could be thought of in the same category as Maltese Penguin: one can’t complain about it too much if it’s free.
Okay, maybe I’m being harsh there, but The Wormery takes Doctor Who back into the kind of silly, campy territory it hasn’t occupied since season 24. Katy Manning once again sheds her Pertwee-era Jo Grant skin to imbue irrepressible Time Lady Iris Wildthyme with an infuriating energy all her own. Iris, appearing along the sixth Doctor for the first time on audio, can still be intensely annoying if you’re not in the right frame of mind for her. Unlike The Maltese Penguin, The Wormery is a full-fledged, four-episode, 2-CD adventure.
I remember reading in Laurent Bouzereau’s script anthology of the original Star Wars trilogy that George Lucas was once advised to remove a line that said “This is boring” from Han Solo’s mouth during a technical-exposition scene, for fear that the audience would agree. For some reason, everytime someone called Iris irritating (or worse), or when the Doctor boisterously complained about the blatant lack of originality in the story’s major plot twist, this anecdote sprang immediately to mind. It’s nice to have a story peeking in on the psychological aftermath of the sixth Doctor’s trial, but to have that story tie itself so completely and slavishly to its predecessor…it almost smacks of parody, except it’s not really that funny.
There’s one other twist right at the end that I’m not going to go into, but it almost makes the whole exercise worthwhile – the jury’s still out on whether or not it was worth the previous 90 minutes to get there. Overall, a bit disappointing.