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Monday, 13 November 2017 - Reviewed by Elliot Stewart
The Ingenious Gentleman Adric Of Alzarius (Credit: Big Finish)
Writer: Julian Richards
Director: Lisa Bowerman
Featuring: Matthew Waterhouse
Big Finish Release (United Kingdom):
Due to released on: Thursday 30th November 2017
Running Time: 35 minutes

When you are a fan of a particular show and it changes, it's difficult to let go of what you loved about what it did and embrace the new. Doctor Who has regularly tested the allegiance of its fanbase from 1966 onwards with the introduction of regeneration for example. It’s not only the lead of the show that changes, the companions on rare occasion stick around, but mostly seem to arrive  only to be off before you could work out how to spell their full name. Adric was a pure example of this, not a popular companion, though his out of placeness, bad clothes, moods and mistakes spoke to my teen self more than someone dressed like my dad playing cricket.

Doctor Who had run for some time with the cliche dynamic of the doctor and one plucky young woman for the longest time. As the first 5th Doctor season arrived this all changed with a fully packed tardis, Adric seemed like a leftover piece of the transition that now no longer worked. I liked Adric’s relationship with 4th Doctor and missed it when suddenly Tegan and Nyssa and a New Doctor changed the feel of the show. The Ingenious Gentleman Adric of Alzarius picks up on that feeling and gives the listener a chance to relieve that period of the old familiar hero being a subject of a strong nostalgia it overwhelms you to nothing else.

 

Excellently read by Matthew Waterhouse, this short story follows Adric as he finds himself In a different position than usual, instead of playing second fiddle he is now a worthy side kick in fact a squire to the noble Sir Keeyoht of la Koura. Much of this story eludes to Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote and as it revealed later the  infamous ‘chivalrous quests’ in this insistence Is stop an evil man called the Doctor. Also Sir  Keeyoht of la Koura shows a passing resemblance to the 4th Doctor and Adric insecurity of the recent literal change of character of a new friend and mentor seems to be the crux of his new world. The subconscious shaping our Perception is a regular pattern in doctor who from the matrix being a terrifying mental landscape controlled by the master to surreal adventures in The Mind Robber. With a work like this you know what it’s coming, the reveal all is not what it seems because it isn’t. Buffy the Vampire Slayer followed a similar narrative in one episode “Normal Again’. Partly critiquing how fantastical the show had become with Buffy was shown as a patient in a mental ward. This story has a sting In it’s tail as Buffy fights back into the world we know in the series, the final shot is our hero Still in the hospital her doctor claiming ‘ we’ve lost her’. Adric was the lost companion, stuck between two opposing styles of the show and finally let go the following season. This audio story hints that with the 4th Doctor, Adric may have been destined for a stronger role and A better life.

This is a perfect example to having time to examine an unlooked aspect of the series, the Writing style and presentation lifts the concept away from it’s science fiction cliche roots. I am very keen to experience Adric again by the side of might and truth once again, If this was a pilot for The Ingenious Gentleman Adric of Alzarius, hurry up Netflix and commission a series.