You have to go back a long way to find the last Mike Tucker story for Big Finish; all the way back to 2003 and a couple of Bernice Summerfield stories. Before that he wrote for the main range write in the earliest of days (2001’s Dust Breeding and 2000’s The Genocide Machine). He’s been a bit busy doing special effects and running the model unit for several TV programmes, including none other than Doctor Who itself, so we forgive him his absence, and welcome him back.
Fanfare aside, on the strength of The Warehouse, the sooner we get another story from Mike, the better. Let’s step inside…
First the Big Finish product page synopsis:
The Doctor and Mel land in what appears to be an orbiting warehouse, a delivery facility with a dangerously erratic computer.
Whilst Mel is helping with repairs, the Doctor begins to realise that not everything in the warehouse is as it seems. Why do no goods ever seem to leave the shelves? Why are the staff so obsessed with the stocktake? And who is the mysterious Supervisor?
On the planet below, the Doctor discovers that the computer might be the least of their problems – and that they should be more concerned with the spacestation’s mould and vermin…
The story starts as a parody in internet shopping, and (we assume) Amazon in particular. The TARDIS arrives in a vast (and I mean vast) Warehouse but of course something is wrong. The warehouse is split into sections, there’s a mysterious supervisor and not one but two immediate problems: vermin and fungus. As they explore they meet various characters, including Annie (Clare Buckfield), Freddie (Barry McCarthy) and Jeannie (Anna Bentinck). Of course just as it all makes sense, the Doctor and Mel enter another section of the warehouse and everything we thought we knew gets turned on its head.
Down on the planet there’s another thread, a cargo cult has built up and we try to understand what is going on with various Acolytes (Philip Franks, also playing the Supervisor) and Lydek (Dillie Keane). The action builds over the two discs as the Doctor and Mel try to survive, get the various factions on the warehouse to cooperate, avoid the cargo cult, deal with the fungus and learn the secret of the verminous rat-like creatures. All is not how it seems (like any good story) and there is a great moment where I was reminded of The Ballad of Halo Jones.
The story-line on the planet never quite comes to the fore, with most of the story being a set of reveals on-board the orbiting warehouse. The end is satisfying and the Doctor and Mel move on with most things sorted.
[pullquote]The Warehouse ticks all the boxes[/pullquote]
This is a well paced story and its nice (again) to have Barnaby Edwards back directing. I’m a big fan of the Big Finish directors and each brings something different to the telling. For me the mark of a good piece of entertainment is when I get to the end and am surprised 2 CDs have been and gone. While this may not be a classic, game-changing story, resetting our understanding of the whole of canon, most days I just want to be entertained by intelligent writing and a well acted and produced piece of drama. For me The Warehouse ticks all the boxes.
What are your thoughts? Was it good to have a new Mike Tucker story? Let me know!