Doctor Who Audio Review: One Bride For The Eleven

The Eleven is a Doctor Who audio boxset from Big Finish Productions. Colin Baker is reunited with Miranda Raison, who plays Constance Clarke, who worked at Bletchley Park during the Second World War. Mark Bonnar returns as the Eleven, a Time Lord who has all of his previous incarnations mixed up with his current form. It is a trilogy of stories directed by Ken Bentley. Lucy Gaskell plays the not so blushing bride to the Eleven. Luke Barton, Simon Slater, Annabelle Dowler, and Glen McCready are included in the guest cast.

The Eleven was first introduced to the Big Finish audience through previous Eighth Doctor stories, but apparently the Doctor has now encountered him before that. I should also mention that it is refreshing to have Mrs. Clarke back with the Doctor. She has become a favorite creation of the Big Finish canon. Hopefully, she will have some further adventures with the Doctor for a while longer.

Lizzie Hopley is the author of the first story, One For All. The Doctor and Constance find an abandoned TARDIS in the vortex and figure out that it belongs to the Eleven. They learn that he is married and has taken refuge on the planet Molaruss where the people have two minds, literally.

It’s not a bad start. It is great to have Baker and Raison perform together again. I think the combination works wince the two characters are such unlikely friends. The Sixth Doctor’s bombastic energy is such a perfect foil for the formal, buttoned-up persona of Constance Clarke. But Constance is more than just a reserved disciplined WREN. There is a courage and nobility about her that the Doctor can’t help but respect. Anyway, it is interesting to see different Doctors react to someone as chaotic as the Eleven as well.

Nigel Fairs brings something a little slower and more cerebral with The Murder of Oliver Akkron. This is apparently kind of a flashback episode of how the a previous president of Molaruss was assassinated. The Doctor and Constance actually do not appear in this one, however this ended up not being without some interest. The performances were a bit more subtle, but Fairs does a decent job underlining the menace here. This episode does take a bit of patience before things pick up and may need a second listening to catch more details.

Finally, the Doctor and Constance return to Molaruss and find the Eleven as ruler and still married. The place seems relatively stable until the Doctor is reminded of the inherent instability and ambition of the Eleven in Chris Chapman’s Elevation. The Eleven has figured that a populace with two personalities is not enough and wants a society that reflects his disordered existence more.

Sometimes following the machinations of the Eleven in an audio format is a somewhat troublesome affair. He is probably a character that may work better visually, but he is a creation of Big Finish and has only been portrayed by audio performance. He can be an interesting character occasionally, but he is exhausting to really follow. Bonnar is a fine performer and does the best he can. He has no shortage of talent and creativity with his vocal performance. Of course, Colin Baker has not let his age slow him down behind the microphone and sounds as energetic as ever. It was intriguing enough to see how the Eleven interacted with someone other than Paul McGann’s Doctor.

This set of stories were pretty decent, but I probably need to reflect on them and listen to them again to really find a deeper appreciation, if there is any to be had. Big Finish rarely has a complete failure of a project, and this one of by no means a complete failure, however I would hesitate to consider it a home run either.

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