Big Finish: Doctor Who Short Trips - THE SWITCHING Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Big Finish: Doctor Who Short Trips - THE SWITCHING Review

Matthew Kresal switches places.

As odd as it may be to say, the Short Trips range has become a favorite for this reviewer. A series of brief tales, often character pieces or filling in little slots of the Doctor Who universe that full-cast audios might not be capable of accomplishing with ease. If one needs proof of their success, then The Switching, set during the Third Doctor era, is a prime example.

It's a tale with a long history. First published in the Short Trips: Zodiac anthology in 2002 before being released on audio first as a subscriber special eight years later and then as part of Big Finish's Short Trips Rarities in 2017. And now the story makes its physical debut in the limited edition Masterful release on a disc alongside I Am The Master. And if there was ever a perfect place for The Switching, it's definitely among the Masterful release.

The Switching is, in so many ways, a delightful blast from the past. That's due in part to its aforementioned pedigree, being the first professional piece of Doctor Who writing from Simon Guerrier. If that name sounds familiar, it's perhaps because he's become a prolific and first-class writer of Who-inspired fiction since 2002. His word ranges from his First Doctor novel The Time Travellers to his celebrated trilogy of Sara Kingdom Companion Chronicles to the spin-off Graceless and its recent crossover with its parent series with Wicked Sisters. A journey that started with this story nearly two decades ago, with an impressive debut and one that has stood the test of time.

Part of the blast from the past comes from how well Guerrier captures the Third Doctor era. For even with the body-swapping trope in play, this is still fundamentally a character piece. Namely, seeing how the Doctor and the Master react when they swap places. The results are surprising and even humorous at times as the two nemeses spend some time in the other's shoes, quite literally. It also allows us to see the familiar characters like Jo, the Brigadier, and Captain Yates in a new light, seeing them literally through a different pair of eyes. Everyone feels right, offering a sense of comforting familiarity as Guerrier turns the usual conventions of the era on their ear at a slight angle for a half-hour or so.

It's also a nicely presented piece of work. Audiobooks are only as good as their narrator, who has to bring it to life for an audience. Duncan Wisbey proves more than up to the task here, offering identifiable versions of each TV character, even if no one sounds quite like their screen selves. The sense of pace and fun Wisbey brings from Guerrier's prose serves the story neatly, too. With backing sound design and music by Robbie Dunlop, the enhanced audiobook feel compliments and rounds out the story wonderfully.

The Switching then is a delightful little piece from the Short Trips range. It's a short story blast from the past in so many ways, revisited as Big Finish's output has expanded, along with its writer's career. For fans of the Guerrier's writing or the Third Doctor era in general, The Switching is well-worth giving a listen.

Doctor Who - Short Trips: The Switching is available tp purchase from the Big Finish website individually, or as part of a limited edition version of Masterful.

Matthew lives in North Alabama where he's a nerd, doesn't have a southern accent and isn't a Republican. He's a host of both the Big Finish centric Stories From The Vortex podcast and the 20mb Doctor Who Podcast. You can read more of his writing at his blog and at The Terrible Zodin fanzine, amongst other places.

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