If you are a fan of Bertie Wooster, then look away now. PG Wodehouse may or may not be rotating slowly in his box but here is another pastiche of the great comedies of the 1920s.
‘The Auntie Matter’ for those non-Wodehouse fans is a significant title as there are as many Aunties as Wooster ever had hot dinners in the Wodehouse books. Aunties are always at the epicentre of the story and can harm or heal depending on the plot.
The Doctor and Romana are on sabbatical, having sent K9 or ‘the Dog’ as Romana refers to him, on a spin round the universe, dragging the Black Guardian behind him. As the pair enjoy the comforts of playing Lord and Lady of the manor, they nevertheless get the itch of boredom. Before long, Romana is off down the shop looking for books on experimental physics and the Doctor has grabbed the housemaid and taken off on the trail of unexplained alien technology in the vicinity.
Meanwhile, Reggie, desperately in love, has taken his intended home to meet his Aunt Florence, only to find although she is most suitable, she won’t be his intended. As Romana hovers into view as a spirited girl who Reggie could love, we start to see the downside of marriage.
‘The Auntie Matter’ is written as a farce and follows the comings and goings of Romana and the Doctor, who are separately investigating in ignorant bliss of each other. We are led upstairs, downstairs and up the garden path.
Sterling performances by Julia McKenzie and Robert Portal as auntie and nephew are helped by the ever obliging valet played by Alan Cox and young Mabel the maid (Lucy Griffiths) who is lead into the strange world of the upper classes. Dame Maggie would never countenance this behaviour at Downton Abbey.
‘The Auntie Matter’ is a very enjoyable audio adventure, made somewhat poignant by the death of Mary Tamm. There is a heartfelt tribute to Mary included on the extras from David Richardson. She and Tom Baker are as usual on excellent form and sad to think that she was taken too soon from the world.
(pub: Big Finish. 1 CD 60 minute story and extras. Price: CD: £10.99 (UK), Download: £ 8.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78178-054-1)
cast: Tom Baker, Mary Tamm, Julia McKenzie, Robert Portal, Lucy Griffiths, Alan Cox and Jane Slavin
check out website: www.bigfinish.com