Bang-Bang-A-Boom!

Doctor Who: Bang-Bang-A-Boom!The Doctor and Melanie arrive at a most inopportune time aboard space station Dark Space 8, and the Doctor is mistaken for the replacement for the station’s recently-deceased commander – a role into which the Time Lord steps eagerly, to Mel’s dismay. Dark Space 8 is playing host to an intergalactic pop song contest in a matter of days, and station security is stepped up accordingly – but apparently not enough, as one of the contestants turns up dead. As more murders occur, the station’s crew is helpless (and clueless), and when one of the suspects seems to have an unnatural hold over the Doctor, Mel worries that she is on her own in solving the mystery…

written by Gareth Roberts and Clayton Hickman
directed by Nicholas Pegg
music by Andy Hardwick

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Bonnie Langford (Melanie), Sabina Franklyn (Doctor Eleanor Harcourt), Graeme Garden (Professor Ivor Fassbender), Jane Goddard (Geri Pakhar), Nickolas Grace (Mister Loozly), Vidar Magnussen (Lieutenant Strindberg), Patricia Quinn (Queen Angvia), Anthony Spargo (Nicky Newman), David Tughan (Commentator Logan), Barnaby Edwards (Waiter)

Timeline: between Paradise Towers and Delta And The Bannermen

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green

Review: As regular readers of theLogBook.com may know, in the past year I’ve invested in a set of Space: 1999 DVDs and begun working on an episode guide. I’ll admit to a sneaking admiration for that series, though the haze of memory had obscured some of the show’s weaker points. And it is precisely those weaknesses upon which Bang-Bang-A-Boom! preys: the woefully wooden acting of Barbara Bain, a science officer who really doesn’t seem to have too many of the answers, and dead-on-arrival attempts at political allegories. The Goodies’ Graeme Garden is an absolutely inspired casting choice, as he nails the hemming, hawing performance of Barry Morse from Space: 1999’s first season dead on. Sabina Franklyn likewise tackles the target of Barbara Bain’s character with…well, I’d say gusto, but when you’re parodying someone who essayed such a lifeless character it just doesn’t seem like the right word. To be fair, Space: 1999 isn’t the only show in the writers’ crosshairs, as there are also jabs aplenty at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, among other fan favorites. Fond tributes all, but cuttingly accurate too. Putting in an appearance here are the Pakhars, a race resembling nothing so much as Doctor Who: Bang-Bang-A-Boom!large bipedal guinea pigs first introduced in the New Adventures novels (which, technically, post-date Bang Bang in continuity).

It’s also with this story that Big Finish begins using the theme music with which each respective Doctor is associated. It’s a real shock, after 3+ years of the 1960s/70s version of the Doctor Who theme opening every audio adventure, to hear a slightly truncated version of Keff McCulloch’s theme arrangement kick in – but it makes things all the more authentic, and it’s a welcome change that has continued to be standard policy since this release.