Stage Design and Radio Drama were intensive practical courses at university and I could choose to study only one. I chose design and didn't regret it but radio still has a place in my heart. Some of my favourite comedies started on radio before graduating to television (The Day Today née On The Hour, for example) and sometimes dead T.V. shows live on in sound only.

The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy was born on Radio 4 and the "look" of that universe is so much cooler in your imagination than when brought to life on a B.B.C. budget from 1981 - or even on a British independent film budget from 2005. Some of the series' best jokes play on your sensory deprivation and create laughs that are impossible in most other mediums:

Deafening volcanic eruptions and other explosions, followed by a beat of silence.

Ford: This rock we're trapped under... how big do you think it is?

Likewise, the series of Doctor Who audio plays from Big Finish Productions is mercifully lacking in the gaudiness and graphic violence that marred the final decade of its television counterpart. Not being able to see the lurid patchwork coat worn by Colin Baker's character is an immediate plus. It's so bad (really, it is) that I can only bring myself to inflict a small portion of it upon you here, loyal readers.

On C.D, the coat is more frequently used as a plot point - such as when our hero escapes certain death at the hands of an alien race by convincing them he made it out of the skins of his former enemies! It's as if, by removing the stylistic excesses, the writers reverted to telling stories of substance instead. Baker's hands seem freed too, allowing him to finally perform the role with some degree of dignity as opposed to stumbling around like a confused rat in a technicolor maze. BBC7, the digital-only radio station with a mandate to avoid elitism, now broadcasts the Big Finish audios alongside The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes and other popular stories. Though I'm good at being somewhere else on Saturdays and missing them all.

See how I fooled you with an anagram in the title and it was another Doctor Who-related post after all? Moo ha ha. Die Welt ist meine! Etc.


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