Unregenerate!

Doctor Who: Unregenerate!Mel is alarmed when the TARDIS materializes without the Doctor at the controls. After leaving her on Earth briefly to take care of unspecified business, he has vanished without a trace, leaving her a holographic message in the TARDIS instructing her to follow his trail to the Klyst Institute, a grim-looking mental hospital. Rather than risk trying to fly the TARDIS herself, Mel enlists the reluctant help of a rough-and-tumble cabbie who helps her as she breaks into the Institute. There, she finds the Doctor – but his mind is gone, and he speaks in almost nonsensical phrases. Mel and her new friend try to escape with the Doctor, but they find that the Institute is no longer on Earth, having transported itself to an asteroid in an instant. The Institute also seems to be bigger inside than out, and other aliens (and humans) have been captured for horrific mind-transfer experiments. Are Time Lords operating in secret on Earth? And if so, are they renegades like the Doctor…or something darker interference in human history going on with the Time Lords’ full knowledge?

Order this CDwritten by David A. McIntee
directed by John Ainsworth
music by Ian Potter

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Bonnie Langford (Mel), Jennie Linden (Professor Klyst), Hugh Hemmings (Johannes Rausch), Gail Clayton (Rigan), Jamie Sandford (Louis), John Aston (Louis #2), Sean Peter Jackson (Shokhra), Toby Longworth (The Cabbie)

Timeline: between Time And The Rani and Paradise Towers

Notes: “Lindos” is mentioned here, despite being a term never heard in the original television series. It was a hormone vital to the regeneration process first mentioned in Eric Saward’s novelization of The Twin Dilemma. Jennie Linden’s last appearance in a Doctor Who story was in 1965, when she co-starred as a very different version of Barbara in the Peter Cushing film Doctor Who And The Daleks.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green

Review: An interestingly offbeat tale from former New Adventures scribe David McIntee, Unregenerate! seems at first to be an opportunity for Sylvester McCoy to further explore a completely-unhinged way of playing the Doctor that was first heard in The Shadow Of The Scourge, but here, it’s ramped up to maximum. McCoy does it well, though the first episode (and to a lesser degree, the second) meanders so much that it almost seems difficult to follow. It really isn’t – the story just takes its sweet time getting to the meat and potatoes.

Doctor WhoThe meat and potatoes, by the way, are a very rare animal: a full-on Time Lord story with the seventh Doctor. Big Finish has done it before (sort of) with The Sirens Of Time, but the creative personnel behind McCoy’s era on television decided, after the season-long Trial Of A Time Lord and the increasingly twisted series of Gallifrey stories that preceded it, that enough had been done (and perhaps enough damage had been done) with the Gallifrey mythos. This is a slightly different take on that mythos, and if McCoy’s tenure had lasted long enough on TV to ease back into Time Lord stories, this is probably not too far from the form they would’ve taken.

With the Doctor firmly in “mad” mode for much of the first two parts of the story, Bonnie Langford propels the story as Mel, and though she does it well, it’s a bit of relief when the Doctor is back to his old new self, whether it’s in flashbacks or when he finally regains his marbles. Definitely an interesting, fun little story of a kind that Big Finish hasn’t done before.