Doctor Who-dunit – Max Warp by Jonathan Morris

Max WarpThe Doctor and his companion Lucie arrive at the Sirius Inter-G Cruiser show – the place to be for all the latest spaceships. By coincidence, two important events are happening as well. The President of the Varlon Empire is hosting the Kith ambassador, a race which the Empire maintains a fragile peace, and, most importantly, Max Warp, the show for all spaceship enthusiasts, hosted by the politically incorrect Geoffrey Vantage, the somewhat dull O’Reilly and the risk-taking Timbo, aka “the Ferret”.

When Timbo crashes while piloting a Kith ship, the Doctor suspects foul play. With a murderer on the loose and an overbearing TV celebrity to deal with, can the Doctor get to the bottom of it all? After all, to quote Lucie, “This is much worse that Poirot!”

To recap briefly. In 1999, Big Finish Productions gained the rights to produce Doctor Who audio plays. Initially starring Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy, this provided the three actors, who to varying degrees had not been best served on the television. After a couple of years, Paul McGann, the Eighth Doctor, joined the team.

Max Warp is the second release in the second series of the stories featuring McGann as the Doctor and Sheridan Smith as Lucie Miller – and it’s rather wonderful. In case you hadn’t realised it, the Max Warp show is a spoof of the BBC’s Top Gear and Graeme Garden does a wonderful job of channelling Jeremy Clarkson – and if you don’t know who he is, then lucky you. Add in a gelatinous alien, a couple of murders and a fleet of angry alien spaceships, and you’ve a classic Doctor Who story. But is it a decent mystery?

Oh, yes, it puts The Robots Of Death to shame. There are clues all over the place, a not-completely-obvious killer and a twisty-turny plot with some very clever ideas. I’d hate to say much more, as it would spoil a lot of the fun. The cast is on top form and the script from Jonathan Morris, one of Big Finish’s most reliable writers, sparkles.

It’s available from Big Finish as a download for a £5 at the moment, making the most of Paul McGann’s recent reappearance as the Doctor in the prequel to The Day Of The Doctor. Highly Recommended.

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8 comments

  1. Thanks to BBC America, I know exactly what you are talking about when you mention Top Gear. You mentioned that Geoffrey Vantage is clearly a parody of Jeremy Clarkson, but you forgot to mention that “the Ferret” is clearly supposed to be Richard Hammond, and I think O’Reilly is supposed to be James May. I’ll keep listening and wait to see if the Stig shows up and whether at some point there will be a gratuitous rant against “caravans”, or what we call on this side of the pond “mobile homes.”

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  2. This one is good. A witty and enjoyable murder mystery. A novel method of murder. Well clued. There are several twists and turns to maintain the interest.
    Finally there is a clever plot twist regarding the murders.

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  3. I have never quite worked up the courage to dive into the Doctor Who audio adventures, but I’m a little extra in love with Paul McGann’s Eight at the moment. The time has come for me to take the plunge. This sounds like a great recommendation.

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  4. With all due respect to Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy, and even Tom Baker, I feel a particular obligation to listen to these audio adventures with Paul McGann since this IS his Doctor Who run. Everybody else got a chance to regularly appear on the Beeb and play in the TARDIS before TV cameras. Poor McGann only got the pilot, so I’m listening to this to get an idea of what type of Doctor he would have been if he had the chance to grow into the role.

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