In what can very much be considered a ‘classic era’ situation, Aquitaine finds the Fifth Doctor and his friends embroiled in a distress call, an abandoned space station, time anomalies and a very British android reminiscent of a Douglas Adams creation.
But where a typical Davison story would descend into harder science fiction realms, this tale decides to let the listener have more time to get to know it’s characters personalities and motivations before pushing the story forward.
Why is this important to know? Because at its heart, Aquitaine is a story about its characters rather than the problem they’re facing.
Whilst there are troubles with black holes, monstrous crew members falling in and out of time, a TARDIS crew divided and all up to their necks in trouble, where the listener can really find satisfaction is within the smaller moments. Whilst this story unfolds over a short amount of relative time, it also, thanks to the help of aforementioned troublesome black hole, lets fifty years worth of issues come to light. Although this allows the pace to remain short and sharp, it also gives the audience, essentially, more.
Where perhaps Aquitaine has one shortcoming is that it sometimes feels as if it could have been a two-part story that could well have packed a massive action orientated punch. However, parts two and three of this drama give us good solid moments of Big Finish drama, the good stuff we’ve come to expect and adore from the company.
This especially gives us more time with the ship’s computer/consciousness Hargreaves, which is no bad thing at all. A quintessential example of the British stiff upper lip as well as an incredibly wonderful character for the Doctor to rebound back and fourth with, it’s a shame that at the end of Aquitaine, the hired help doesn’t join the TARDIS crew, it would have been a delight.
Overall however, Aquitaine delivers a good slice of Doctor Who for one to enjoy, not perhaps a classic, in Big Finish terms, but a strong release nevertheless and certainly one to sit back with on a quiet Sunday afternoon.
Aquitaine is available now from Big Finish on CD for £14.99 or via download for £12.99.