Destiny of the Doctor: Babblesphere

Big Finish - Special Release

This is a very classic Fourth Doctor adventure, with the Doctor being in deadly danger and Romana walking in to save him at the last possible second. The “twist” dealing with Aurelius isn’t really much of a surprise but the old lady rebels is very fun and cool. The Doctor and Romana land on a planet where things are falling apart – the people are languishing and barely functional while the robot servitors keep up the facilities around them, mostly. Somewhat. All controlled by the Prolocutor – software created to monitor and control the Babblesphere.

The Babblesphere is a super-social network where everyone’s plugged in directly through a chip in their head. Private thoughts are outlawed and everyone is subject to the whims of the Prolocutor, who is tired of the inane thoughts it has had to put up with from the inhabitants. A commentary on the whole social networking “craze”? If it was required and no one could ever come to a decision, perhaps. Democracy taken to a degree that gives everyone a direct say. Tedious to the max! Since this story is told from Romana’s perspective, we get to listen in as she runs around with the rebels, discovers the truth about what’s going on, saves the Doctor, and confronts the evil machine at the heart of it all. Well, deranged and bored computer program, anyway.

And this time the 11th Doctor, I’m guessing as there’s a bowtie indicated, sends a direct message to the Doctor about what needs to be done. He accomplishes the task but it’s becoming very apparent that the Doctor communicating across time needs an eclectic mix of items to solve the universe in his time! That final story will be a serious humdinger, though hopefully not quite like Zagreus, which felt more like the fairy tale version of Doctor Who than an actual story. I’m sure that was the point but I’m not a fan who notices every detail that then points to a detail in some other story and creates some crazy, cross-time, cross-Doctor theories about how X implicates Y and the Master was behind it all. I’d rather enjoy the stories and the story arcs for themselves, thanks!

So this was a fun one, that’s for sure, though why the Prolocutor takes sooooo long (hours and hours and hours) to start the process of installing a chip in the Doctor is a bit mysterious. Romana waits for hours in the cell, then she takes the long walk to the rebel base, then she diverts the robots, then they rescue the Doctor. Very odd but it seems the length of time indicated would mean the Doctor would have a full physical and the chip installed in maybe an hour or two. Primitive equipment perhaps? Just lends to the wackiness of the storyline overall!

Read by: Lalla Ward (Romana) and Roger Parrott (Aurelius)

Writer: Jonathan Morris

Director: John Ainsworth

Release: April 2013

Laura Vilensky 2019