Babblesphere is a new audio adventure for the Fourth Doctor in the 50th Anniversary AudioGO/Big Finish collaboration series, Destiny of the Doctor.
On the planet Hephastos a colony of creatives have come together with the aim to create the greatest works of art in the universe. In the pursuit of their goal, artistic collaboration has been taken a stage too far. The Doctor and Romana arrive to discover that the colonists have all become enslaved to a compulsory twitter-like system called the Babble Network where they are forced to share every thought and privacy is a crime. The colonists are being killed and it’s up to the Doctor and Romana to save the day before they too are absorbed into the endless trivia of the Babblesphere.
This Douglas Adams inspired dystopia is a deliciously enjoyable portrayal of the ultimate and terrible ends to which social networking could be taken. Jonathan Morris has supplied some wonderfully mad ideas including a band of geriatric granny outlaws; and I don’t want to give anything away, but the rewarding resolution to the story is one that most trivia hungry Doctor Who fans will really appreciate.
Lalla Ward does a great job narrating and voicing Romana, the Doctor and the rather wonderful toffee-mouthed outlaw Phillis, and Roger Parrott gives great support as Aurelius.
My only beef with Babblesphere is that I can’t see it. Everything is so lavishly described and it’s such a wonderful idea that I found myself desperately desiring to see all of these wonderfully larger than life characters with their eclectic modern technologies and 18th century garb. It fits the bill in terms of nicely matching and representing the 1979 era of Tom Baker’s Doctor, it’s a great cautionary tale on social networking and a jolly good laugh.