“The Quantum Possibility Engine” is a Doctor Who audio play released by Big Finish Productions and is written by Guy Adams. Sylvester McCoy stars as the Seventh Doctor with Sophie Aldred and Bonnie Langford reprising their respective roles as Ace and Mel.
Mel has betrayed her two friends and delivered the TARDIS to the corrupt President of the Solar System, Josiah W Dogbolter, played by Toby Longworth. It seems that Mel had accrued some kind of debt which she had kept concealed from the Doctor and Ace. Dogbolter is a rather unusual sort of president since he comes from a race resembling humanoid toads and has the demeanor of a cosmic gangster. He has a psychotic robotic servant known as Hob, portrayed by Wayne Forester.
Mel’s betrayal and theft of the TARDIS attracts the attention of a Time Lord known as Narvin, who is on assignment from the covert Celestial Intervention Agency, to straighten the matter out before a paradox beyond repair manifests itself. Narvin is a recurring character in the Big Finish world played by Sean Carlsen. The caustic banter between Narvin and the Doctor is worth the price of admission on its own.
There was a lot that worked quite well for me here. Dogbolter is a somewhat cliché villain, but he’s a pretty amusing one. Mel was actually utilized quite well in the story, especially when she is trying to correct her error in judgment throughout the story. McCoy was really good in this one, but that is not unexpected considering how long he has been at this between his television era and these audio releases. I wouldn’t want to see or hear Narvin with too much frequency, however he certainly need to keep turning up for a while and could still conceivably pester various Doctors for years to come.
The Doctor, Narvin, and Ace are transported into the Possibility Engine where they are living in roles created by whatever. I am not quite sure how to describe the Possibility Engine or its function. That may take another listen for me to grasp more fully.
Rounding out the cast is Jules De Jongh as Captain Regent of the Krasi. who wants to muscle in on Dogbolter’s territory and has designs on the Possibility Engine herself. The Captain Regent and Dogbolter have a pretty good double act going as well.
I did find the ending to be somewhat rushed and inadequate in some ways. Most of the adventure comes off pretty well, but I was not terribly satisfied with the resolution. For the most part, I appreciated the somewhat unexpected comedic turn this story took at times. It had some clever ideas throughout. Pretty much all of the supporting characters were pretty compelling and eccentric. The main cast performs well together as they usually do. In fact, they always do well even if the writing sometimes falters.
Even though not everything worked for me, most of it was pretty enjoyable.