Live 34 (#74)

Big Finish Main Range

No theme music for this one, just an intro from the radio station on colony 34 with the news about a tyrant coming to power. This reminds me of The Fearmonger audio and addresses directly the idea of people losing rights in exchange for “security.” A police state is taking over the colony, a perfect place for the Doctor to take action!

This audio gets the excellent, five jelloid rating partially due to the very well done format of having the broadcast of the major media outlet “run” the Who adventure. It would take a cleverly written script and a lot of work on the technical end to get it right and they hit just the right notes for the media outlet broadcast. The acting is very good, too, with this being the penultimate adventure of the Doctor rescuing a planet from the grips of a tyrant. How the tyrant came to power is all explained in the ending and all of the characters come together for it. It’s mainly about human nature and using the power to corrupt people.

In Spare Parts there was a similar feeling of shutting other people out (them) so I won’t get in trouble with the police. This is taken to a further extreme, with inspiration taken from the current state of affairs due to the threat of terrorism, in my opinion. By making everyone scared of the threat, government can make people more willing to put up with losing civil liberties. Create an ill-defined threat to “your way of life” and the government has more tacit support. Further defining people not from colony 34 as alien and not as good as those colonists, an alien menace, and the isolation is complete. Isolate the population, make them scared of phantoms, and take away their rights. In this tale, these tactics give Premier Jaeger the fuel he needs to feed his ambition and rule as a tyrant.

This definitely has parallels in our modern world. Should we be afraid of terrorism? Sure but what exactly is it? The outcome seems to be violence against the innocent to take retribution against those people for just existing in a state where the terrorists beliefs don’t rule. And for the policies of the government against their countries, which I find more understandable but quite misdirected. We who live here can only do something about the policies through voting. I’m not sure how I, personally, can change how the government runs except to vote for someone who has the best plan on how to run US interests throughout the world while respecting the rights of the people in those countries. I think it’s possible though difficult to do. It takes a lot of work to figure out what the real interests are versus the ones that can sometimes be presented by a government so the government gets what it wants. Governments can certainly be corrupt!

But in this story, it all does come down to one man and his need for power and control. This will hopefully never be another parallel in this world but I wouldn’t rule it out in the future. The sheer diversity of people and the methods for oppressing people can produce a lot of discontent in the world. We are just lucky enough to have been born in a rich enough country to not be subjected to the genocide, hunger, and oppression going on in other countries. But that also makes us targets because we’re a country, a metaphor, not really people when it comes to opinions about how the US is a “bad country.” This audio really opens everything up for a debate by placing it on another world with human beings who make the mistakes that they can make. And that is where the conversation really starts, in the hands and minds of people.

Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, and Philip Olivier

Writers: James Parsons and Andrew Stirling-Brown

Director: G-Russell

Release: September 2005

Laura Vilensky 2019