The Auntie Matter

“It is no use telling me there are bad aunts and good aunts. At the core, they are all alike. Sooner or later, out pops the cloven hoof. ”
― P.G. Wodehouse

The Doctor and Romana are relaxing in 1920s London following their quest for The Key to Time, when they become embroiled in alien shenanigans once more. The Auntie Matter, as you might guess from the title, and from the publicity around it being a P.G.Wodehouse homage, is not a serious story with a terrifying alien threat. It’s an incredibly entertaining series opener, with the wit and verve of this era convincingly recreated. As in The Romans, our heroes are unaware that they sharing an adventure, as they both face the mystery of Bassett Hall.

Tom Baker’s prolonged reluctance to join Big Finish made the first series of Fourth Doctor stories feel quite rare and precious things. The presence of the much-missed Mary Tamm in this second series massively intensifies this feeling. The behind-the-scenes material after the story is very moving and tastefully done.

It’s an utter joy to hear these two Time Lords together again, although they are separated for much of the story. More of these two sparring, and K9 making a reappearance, are still to look forward to. It’s seems almost redundant to say that Tom and Mary put in terrific performances, but worth mentioning once again.

Jonathan Morris is a consistently witty writer in all media, and the perfect choice for a homage to Wodehouse. With the BBC’s excellent adaptation of The Blandings more-or-less occupying Doctor Who‘s Saturday night place in the TV schedules to great acclaim, this is a timely release. Wodehouse’s tropes of incredibly efficient and knowledgeable butlers, and terrifying, domineering aunts don’t have to be exaggerated too much to fit Doctor Who‘s format. That’s not to diminish Morris’ achievement here, replicating Wodehouse’s razor-sharp dialogue and deftness of touch can have been no easy feat. The Fourth Doctor, and Tom Baker, always seems to delight in use of, and unusual modes of, language and so his interactions with the foppish young Reggie are a joy.

On the making of section on the CD Robert Portal, the actor who plays Reggie, not only has a cool sci-fi name, but also sounds just like Peter Davison. So it’s handy to know they’ve got a potential spare Fifth Doctor if they ever need one.

Not heard The Auntie Matter yet? Buy now from Amazon:

The Auntie Matter (Doctor Who: the Fourth Doctor Adventures)

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