Big Finish – Doctor Who Main Range 204 – Criss Cross

Bletchley Park, Britain’s most secret weapon in the Second World War.  Early computers clatter away day and night, decoding enemy transmissions and revealing intelligence crucial to the country’s future.
Criss Cross
Leading WREN Mrs Constance Clarke and her team are working valiantly under the watchful eye of the recently arrived Dr Smith.  But while Smith is focussed on the transmissions of a certain spy, he’s unaware that he himself has caught the attention of MI5’s spycatchers. Will they catch up with the Doctor before he uncovers a threat that may just end the war by ending the world?

I came into this audio with high expectations – to a computing nerd like me, Bletchley Park is well known and well loved – and indeed there is an awful lot going on. An interesting location, plenty of spy’s and double crossing, and a tense show-down on a submarine means that it has a lot of good parts; and the villian is certainly new, and quite different to the usual bug eyed monster of the week.

While Fitton’s script is fun, providing a lovely mix of the cerebral (the setting and villain) and Boys’ Own Adventure (the Nazis and the spies), it actually ends up feeling a bit like pulp fiction. The audient is required to just give it a quick listen and then immediately move on.  I enjoyed it, but was aching to love it – sadly, the parts never quite gel to become a classic.

Having said that, the best thing about it is the characters; and one of them becoming a companion at the end is an enjoyable twist that I look forward to playing out in later stories.  Like a lot of the recent main range releases, this is good fun and quite typical of its Doctor’s era (although we’ve got a much softer Sixth Doctor than the TV show ever had which is much more enjoyable).  If you like Colin in the role you should enjoy Criss Cross.

Written By: Matt Fitton
Directed By: Ken Bentley
Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Miranda Raison (Constance Clarke), Paul Thornley (Robbie Flint/Cyril), Alistair Petrie (Major Harris/German Lieutenant), Hugh Fraser (Dr Schwartzmann/Rider), Charlotte Salt (Sylvia Wimpole/Waveform/Effy), Robbie Stevens (Captain Unger/Dutch/British Captain/Chuadri).

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