March 2013 gave us The Scorchies a Third Doctor Companion Chronicle written by James Goss. This starred Katy Manning as Jo Grant with Melvyn Hayes as the Scorchies. As you can probably tell from the cover this is not the usual kind of story and if I tell you there is singing many of you will instantly form an opinion.
If you don’t want to wait I can give you a one word review – bonkers!
Still here? Carry one, watch out for the Scorchies and the spoliers…
The Big Finish product page says it all:
The Doctor, his companion Jo Grant and the Brigadier face their strangest case yet – a Saturday night TV show that has been invaded by aliens that look like puppets!
The Scorchies want to take over the world. They want to kill the Doctor. And they want to perform some outstanding showtunes. Though not necessarily in that order…
With Jo caught inside The Scorchies Show, can she save the day before the planet Earth falls victim to the dark side of light entertainment?
Jo is sneaking into a TV production (via the ventilator shaft of course) to infiltrate a television show called The Scorchies which the Doctor has identified as being an alien threat. The Scorchies have brainwashed everyone in Britain through the power of TV and are going to destroy the human race with an energy pulse. This pulse will burn the surface of the planet leaving it empty and scorched hence the name.
Although appearing as puppets the Scorchies are evil and powerful. They drag Jo into their TV show and sing songs of killing the Doctor all the while Jo is joining in making things. Think of The Muppet Show with bad aliens.
Eventually UNIT attack, there are battles, ray-guns, dark secrets and a happy ending but we will never watch TV in quite the same way again.
Lots of singing and fun all very well done and although the extra say ‘like The Muppets‘ I also felt if was like the 70s British TV show Rainbow.
It all worked for me though I imagine some will find this a challenge. I love The Pirates for example if that helps you calibrate my opinion.
Katy is also on top form and the voices she and Melveyn Hayes produce are also spot on.
Getting serious I was also reminded of the Sea Devils in which The Master watches The Clangers and believes them to be actual aliens; here we have the inverse – a kids show that actually is aliens.
Speaking of inverse, James Goss wins the award for the most Pertwee line ever, something about ‘reversing the polarity of the polarity reverser’. Marvellous stuff!
So this worked for me. I wouldn’t want this style of story every month but it does freshen up the series really well.
What did you think? Was The Scorchies a hit or did it make you want to change channel? Let me know!