Dr Who Audio Adventures: Flip Flop

Distributor: Big Finish
Writer: Jonathan Morris
Director: Gary Russell
Starring: Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor,Bonnie Langford as Mel
Release Date: July 2003

Reviewer: Peter Richie
Christmas Eve in the year 3060, and the planet Puxatornee is home to a prosperous human colony.

A space craft has arrived in orbit carrying the Slithergees, a race of obsequious alien slugs. Their home world has been destroyed and they are humbly requesting permission to settle on the first moon.

And if they don’t get permission, then they are humbly threatening to declare all-out war.

The future hangs in the balance. The decision rests with Bailey, the colony’ s president – but she has other things on her mind.

Christmas Eve in the year 3090, and the planet Puxatornee has changed beyond all recognition.

The Doctor and Mel arrive, on a completely unrelated mission to defeat a race of terrible monsters, and soon discover that something rather confusing has been happening to history.

Flip-Flop is a unique innovation in storytelling. A Doctor Who adventure told over two CDs, one black, one white – where the CDs can be listened to in either order.

This story takes place between ” Paradise Towers ” and “Delta and the Bannermen”.

What a clever story, what a great production. This release is a 2 disc set, which we are assured on the cover represents good value for money. There is a black disc and a white disc and to quote the writer “it’s not a puzzle, to try and find out which way round is the “proper” or “canonical” way of listening to the CD’s. Because there honestly isn’t one”

These two discs revolve (no pun intended) around the happenings on the planet “Puxitornee”. Which I found amusing as that is the name of the town in the movie ground hog day (although it is spelt differently). This gives a hint of both the humour involved in the script and the way events unfold in the story. Sylvester McCoy, gives a passable performance as the Doctor, although I understand from my research that he is not nearly the most popular Doctor from the TV Series. He represents the 8th (or is it the 7th??) incarnation of the Doctor in the TV Series (and therefore the DW Universe). He certainly likes to rrrrrrrroll his r’s at everrrrrrrrry possible opporrrrrrrrrtunity. Which may annoy some listeners.

Bonnie Langford, as the Doctors clean living sidekick puts in a great performance, offering up some remarkable insights into the intricacies of time and some great straight lines. The script is peppered with humour and references to the Doctor Who series and universe. “Why do all corridors all look the same” being a reference to the low budget sets used in the TV Series. The Slithergee voices are excellent, the line “poor blind Slithergee” seems to get trotted out on a regular basis, but they are creatures which generate very little sympathy from the listener.

I am a little concerned at the covert racist undertones of this work. It deals with a society being confronted by a “minority” (The Slithergee) claiming to be refugees and how they are dealt with by the Puxatornee society. There are references to appeasement and giving into the voices of the minority. There may be parallels in the settlement of areas such as South Africa and North America , by the British Empire . This concern may be reading far too much into the sub text of the work, but I thought it worth mentioning. Never the less an entertaining audio drama and would require some quiet attention to be able to spot inconsistencies in the time lines. My admiration to the writer as he must have had to keep very intricate notes to keep the 2 stories the same.

– Peter Ritchie.