“The Ultimate Adventure” is a Doctor Who audio play from Big Finish Productions which was adapted from a stage play that was initially performed in 1989 throughout England. Terrance Dicks wrote the initial play and helped adapt it to audio format. This has an interesting history in spite of a flawed script. Jon Pertwee initially starred in the play, reprising his role as the Third Doctor. After about eight weeks or so, the Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker, took over and finished out the remaining eight weeks. Big Finish was able to adapt this one and release it as an audio play in 2008 with Colin Baker accompanied by two new companions played by Noel Sullivan and Claire Huckle.
Terrance Dicks was a long-time script editor for the classic television series and novelized many of the earlier serials. He was known for a rather simplistic style of prose. but he displayed some talent sometimes in his more original works. I’m not sure this particular script really showcases those talents.
The Doctor is traveling with a 18th century French aristocrat when he is summoned by the British Prime Minister known as Mrs. T and is addressed by the Time Lord as Maggie. It seems that Mrs. T was based on someone of recent historical significance, but I could wrong about that. There apparently is some fear of some extraterrestrial inference with an important world conference. The Doctor agrees to help out if something goes down, and of course it does because this is an ultimate adventure. Anyway, the Daleks and the Cybermen have joined forces and hire mercenaries to kidnap an American Envoy from a nightclub. The Doctor and the Frenchman, who goes by the thankfully shorter name of Jason. I can’t remember the guy’s full name. The Doctor and Jason are then joined by a nightclub named Crystal where they cross the universe or galaxy or whatever to trace the mercenaries to some Galactic Bar.
Other notable cast members are David Banks, Nadine Cox, and Nicholas Briggs. Banks is best known as playing the Cyberleader in the classic television series throughout the 1980’s. In this episode, he gets to dispense with the voice modulator and plays the mercenary leader known as Karl. Nadine Cox plays the mysteriously familiar Mrs. T and Galactic Bar proprietor Delilah. Nicholas Briggs, as usual, provides the voices of the Daleks and Cyberman.
This was pretty amusing more due to the history of it than the actual writing. There was a lot of clumsy descriptions in the dialogue that Big Finish usually tries to avoid. There was no narration, but the dialogue had some pretty heavy handed delivery as to what was happening. I guess it works well enough, but Big Finish is usually a bit more subtle and clever in depicting the action. I guess because it was more necessary to do that since this was initially a play, but it just seemed rather odd.
Colin Baker did well, as he usually does. Jason and Crystal were not terrible as companions. I actually found myself enjoying the few musical numbers peppered throughout this episode. I wouldn’t want singing to be a regular feature of Doctor Who audio plays, but it seemed to work here.
There is some entertainment to be found here. Colin Baker’s performance does a lot to help me find some appreciation here, however I am not sure I would have enjoyed the actual stage production all that much. I didn’t hate this episode, but I was generally underwhelmed by it.