Big Finish recently released another five stories in their Short Trips Rarities range, giving us mere mortals the chance to hear the stories that subscribers got for free in the past. In what seems to be an annual tradition, Big Finish allow us five of these releases at a bargain price of £2.25. Today, I’ll be reviewing the first story released this year, The Switching featuring the Third Doctor.
Yesterday there were two Time Lord prisoners on Earth – the Master in his cell, the Doctor in his exile.
But today the Doctor’s not quite feeling himself. Today he’s seeing things from a different perspective. And today the Master’s going to escape..
Considering that Doctor Who has been around for nearly 54 years, it surprises me that the classic sci-fi trope that is the body swap hasn’t been done more than it has. On TV, the only episode that really springs to mind is New Earth, and in this Short Trip Rarity, we get the Third Doctor switching bodies with that of his arch-nemesis and arguably best friend, the Master.
The Doctor in the Master’s body wakes up in a prison cell, and the scene, which would have been totally silent on TV, is described in such a poetic manner that part of you wishes you could swap bodies with the Master. It doesn’t necessarily sound like fun, but it certainly appears to be an experience.
Meanwhile, the Master (in the Doctor’s body) is busy trying to plan his escape. It’s not long before Jo Grant makes her appearance, wearing a bikini and some rather large sunglasses. Hearing the Master having to try and be convincing as the Doctor in this situation is brilliantly comedic; and I only wish Roger and Jon were alive so we could have heard them attempt to impersonate one another.
The Master manages to gain access to the Doctor’s TARDIS in a lovely small scene, with him becoming somewhat of an interior designer. Now, that’s a show I’d watch. The Master being an interior designer in strangers homes.
During the latter half of the story, we get to see the Master in the Doctor’s body go about some more business, and then; if I’m being honest, the rest of everything feels ever so slightly rushed. There’s no real danger or peril, the Doctor and the Master just go about doing Doctor and Master-like things. The premise of the story is entertaining, it’s just a shame it’s not longer so we can have more meat to the story.
Overall, it’s clear that The Switching is well and truly a love letter to the Third Doctor era; considering the story is only half an hour in length, we get great doses of the Doctor, Jo, the Master, the Brigadier, Yates and Benton. It’s just a shame there’s no real peril and that everything seems to be fine within the last two minutes.
Should you want to purchase The Switching, it’s currently available as a download from Big Finish for £2.25 which you can purchase here.