As mentioned yesterday in my review of I.D., Big Finish has started to pair up audio plays on its double CD releases. I'm not exactly sure what to make of this policy. Yes, it ensures that certain plays are no longer padded beyond their natural lifespans, which can only be a good thing.
But it does mean that you can end up with two plays of very disparate qualities bundled together. I.D., a three-parter, comes with the one-part Urgent Calls. Now I.D. had more than a touch of rubbishness about it. Urgent Calls, however, is a far more interesting play. Should you buy I.D. just to have Urgent Calls?
Plot (accidentally connected here from the Big Finish web site)
Earth, 1974. An innocent phone call. Okay, it was a wrong number, but there can't be any harm in that. Can there?
Is it any good?
It's essentially a two-hander between Colin Baker as the Doctor and Kate Brown as Lauren, a telephone operator who mysteriously keeps getting connected to phones the Doctor happens to be standing by. More curiously, she keeps getting these wrong numbers at the most fortunate times possible.
As the play moves on, the reason for the strange wrong numbers is quickly explained (laughably, but this is Doctor Who science so we'll give it some slack) and the story then becomes a character piece focused on the Doctor. Lauren learns more about him, who he is, what he does and why he has such poor social skills.
The ending, when it comes, is abrupt and you're not entirely sure what you're supposed to have gleaned from the play that you didn't already know before, except that the Doctor tends to have more of an impact on people with his actions than they have on him. Nevertheless, it's pretty absorbing and a much better piece of work than its CD companion. I wouldn't recommend getting both CDs just to have access to Urgent Calls. But if you do get I.D., at least you'll have something to pleasant to wash the taste away afterwards.
The Doctor (Colin Baker)
Lauren (Kate Brown)
D.J. (David Dobson)
Connie (Kerry Skinner)
Available with I.D. from the Big Finish web site