The High Price of Parking (Big Finish)Bookmark and Share

Saturday, 11 November 2017 - Reviewed by Richard Brinck-Johnsen
The High Price Of Parking (Credit: Big Finish)

Written by John Dorney

Directed by Ken Bentley

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Bonnie Langford (Mel Bush), Gabrielle Glaister (Cowley), Hywel Morgan (Kempton/ Tribesman), Kate Duchene (Regina/ Seraphim), Leighton Pugh (Fulton), Jack Monaghan 
(Dunne/ Selfdrive), James Joyce (Robowardens)

Big Finish Productions - Released July 2017

Having successfully reintroduced Bonnie Langford’s Mel Bush as a returning character last year alongside the already popular TARDIS team of Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor and Sophie Aldred as Ace, the dynamic trio are all set for the first of a new trilogy of their ongoing adventures.

The High Price of Parking finds the travellers attempt to reach a galactic beauty spot and renowned tourist trap leads them to a nearby planetoid designed as a giant car park and named, appropriately enough, Parking. Here they quickly find themselves caught up in a civil war between the planet’s Wardens and a sect called Free Parkers. Beneath the rather obvious puns is a fairly standard Doctor Who plot with some nice twists and turns which builds to a satisfying conclusion.

As ever there is a competent supporting cast headed up by Gabrielle Glaister, who will be most familiar to television audiences from her role of “Bob”, the only character to have straddled the comedic universes of Blackadder and Upstart Crow. Here she plays the slightly out of her depth head warden Cowley and gets to share some enjoyable scenes with Mel. Bonnie Langford’s computer programmer is at her proactive best for most of this story. Also worthy of mention is Kate Duchene playing two very different roles, the first of these is Regina, tribal leader of the Free Parkers, and the other is super computer Seraphim. The latter role could easily have been very clichéd but the scenes shared with Sylvester McCoy in the play’s climax are very enjoyable with the Seventh Doctor as his “r” rolling best. Additional support comes from Hywel Morgan as the slimy Kempton and Leighton Pugh in several smaller roles including an enjoyable turn as Fulton an overzealous enforcer for Galactic Heritage.

Overall, this is an enjoyable tale which combines some light comedy with clever moments of jeopardy even allowing for the fact that the listener will know that whatever happens the three lead characters won’t come to any harm. The only slight misfire for long-term listeners is that having apparently established Mel’s return as taking place sometime after the departure of Hex, Ace seems to have regressed to a slightly younger version of her character. Unlike some of writer John Dorney’s more memorable offerings of recent years, this isn’t a story to set the world alight with originality but nevertheless is a promising start to this new trilogy of adventures.

 

The High Price of Parking is available now on general release.