- ‘Dead Media’, the latest Big Finish Short Trip, features the character of the Twelfth Doctor. While it is not the first, that honour belongs to ‘The Astrea Conspiracy’, this release is special as it is the first performed in the Doctor’s voice, in this case by actor Jacob Dudman.
Presented as a podcast, the Doctor tells the story of an adventure from his time living at St. Luke’s University. It is just him though, with no mention of Bill and Nardole out of the picture (having taken the TARDIS to watch ABBA at Eurovision).
Writer John Richards captures the voice of Peter Capaldi’s Doctor perfectly, from the serious to his frivolous asides; particularly funny are the moments when the Doctor reads out naff local advertising. There’s profundity too, like his comment on outdated technology formats: “History blinks and gold turns back to straw”.
He also captures this Doctor’s reflective nature, amused when hearing his old voice, he considers a reversal of fortunes. Once he was stuck on Earth with a broken TARDIS, dreaming of escape; now he is resident with a working one and no plans to leave.
The heart of the story is a homage to old recording formats. More than window dressing, their nature form the basis of the plot and plays into its resolution, using the audio medium cleverly. The nostalgia for reel to reel and C90s is strong here! This is John Richards’ first work for Big Finish, and we hope it is the first of many.
Some fans have incredibly strong opinions on other actors playing the Doctor, seeing it as a step too far. For our money, if the story is good and the performance of sufficient quality, we are quite happy. For our money, ‘Dead Media’ is excellent and Jacob Dudman’s performance is remarkable. Far more than just an impersonation, it is full of the flavour of the original and given his excellent Tenth and Eleventh Doctors, it makes us wonder if there is anyone he cannot do!
Jacob Dudman returns in February for the ‘The Twelfth Doctor Chronicles Volume 1’ and then again in May for the tantalisingly titled ‘Regeneration Impossible’, where he will voice a meeting between the Eleventh and the Twelfth Doctors!