If you squint while listening, there’s something familiar about The High Price of Parking. Of course there’s the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Mel, so that’s familiar already. It’s got an early 80’s feel to it throughout, that’s not what strikes the chord though. What this story feels like is the spiritual successor to Paradise Towers in terms of themes as well as settings.
There’s a seemingly innocent and everyday setting (by Doctor Who standards) which is eerily emptier than it should be, two rival factions of natives who are at one another’s throats for all the wrong reasons, you’ve got your authority figure who doesn’t have the best interest of the people to heart & finally you’ve got your disembodied villain, with added sentience, looking to gain a more substantial existence.
It’s all there, go and have a listen. And you should, as The High Price of Parking is a lot of fun, it’s not the first Doctor Who story to mirror another and it certainly won’t be the last. The fact is that between the writing and the performances and the direction and the music queues, this is actually a better version of Paradise Towers. Don’t get this reviewer wrong, that particular fight between the different colour Kangs is TV gold but it certainly has its faults in certain performances and directional choices (hello bizarre monster-in swimming-pool scene). There’s none of that in this audio rethink, it’s a slick start, a smooth middle and an exciting end.
The three regulars in the shape of McCoy, Aldred and Langford are a proper team now, one is so comfortable with them that it’s a strange thing to think they were only all on screen once together & not for many long years. There’s a feel of comrades-in-time here and a trust between this TARDIS team that is fairly unique.
Although there may be no new ground trod in this particular yarn, it’s certainly entertaining from beginning to end, the villain won’t be remembered in a few months, the setting isn’t worth a repeat visit and by the end of the story, nothing is too different, but like its spiritual predecessor there’s nothing at all wrong with that. If you fancy a trip to nostalgiaville then The High Price of Parking is the story for you.
The High Price of Parking is available to buy now from Big Finish on CD and Download for £14.99 and £12.99 respectively.