CD review: Doctor Who - Antidote to Oblivion
(Big Finish Productions)
Sil returns to plague the Doctor.
But the good thing is that you don't even need to have heard of the slug like member of the Universal Monetary Fund to enjoy this audio Doctor Who story from Big Finish Productions.
Of course you will be able to imagine the cross between Jabba the Hutt of Star Wars and the mercantile Ferengi of Star Trek writhing his way through the story better if you have already seen the original stories, but then actor Nabil Shaban who played him on screen 30 years ago delivers such a repulsive performance that it doesn't feel necessary to have seen him on screen.
Both of Sil's previous appearances, Vengeance on Varos and Mindwarp, were during the 1980s when Colin Baker played the sixth Doctor. Then, as now, Philip Martin was responsible for the script. So it only seems right that it is the sixth Doctor who has to deal with Sil again.
This time the Doctor and companion Flip (Lisa Greenwood) get caught up in Sil's selfish scheming as they respond to a distress signal in a future bankrupt Britain where financial ruin has driven the population underground.
Since the only thing apart from his life Sil cares about is money, and the Doctor rarely carries any, there's always a sense that he might just come unstuck against this loathsome adversary. It's amazing, after facing the sheer hate of the Daleks, that something as base as greed could be his undoing.
"Good old Sil has returned and working with Nabil again; well, Nabil is always great," Baker said.
"You know what the goods are and he delivers them in spades. That wonderful lubricious chuntering of glee, and [Sil]'s got even more callous and self-interested than he was in the two I did with him on television, and he's a great character. I love it when he turns up. All he's interested in is making a profit, to hell with everything else."
Shaban is, without doubt, the star of this production which is why his picture's so big on the CD cover.
And what of Flip, a companion that never appeared on television?
"I love Flip! She's such a little cracker," Baker said. "She's a little streetwise urchin, heart of gold, brain of an ant that gets bigger as the stories progress, and she's just such a lovely character and my Doctor's quite fond of her."
Flip certainly gives Baker a new dynamic to work with since she is so different from his TV companions Perry and Mel.
Antidote to Oblivion, directed by Dalek voice Nicholas Briggs, is the first in a trilogy.
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