Doctor Who: Wink concludes the Out of Time trilogy with a superbly fun team-up between David Tennant and Colin Baker
Multi-Doctor stories carry with them a lot of associations. For some the entire point is a celebratory feel, embracing Doctor Who’s long and diverse history. Often there are world shattering stakes at play, or new revelations about the Time Lords themselves. But the final part of the Out of Time trilogy forgoes all that. Instead Wink embraces the real heart of multi-Doctor stories, offering up premium banter between the David Tennant and Colin Baker incarnations as they take on the Weeping Angels.
It’s especially blissful stuff this time out thanks to the match of two of the Doctor’s most talkative regenerations. Colin Baker and David Tennant’s Doctors are both men in love with words and, frankly, the sound of their own voices. That, added to the contrast between Baker’s loquacious wordsmith and Tennant’s fast-talking quip machine makes for particularly brilliant exchanges. Writer Lisa McMullin serves up a script that truly feels like a duel of words between 80s script writer Pip and Jane Baker and 21st century Who supremo Russell T Davies.
There are jibes aplenty between their characters. The Tenth Doctor notes that the Sixth’s coat is so loud the blind locals “can probably hear it.” Meanwhile, the Sixth complains the Tenth’s words “tumble out of his mouth like toddlers.” There’s no real rancour here, though. Both Tennant and Baker perfectly judge their banter as just the good natured teasing between good friends.
Wink finds yet another compelling twist on the Weeping Angels as they besiege a species with no concept of sight
The Weeping Angels must be one of the most iconic new Doctor Who villains of the past couple of decades. Like all the best horror stories, Blink stylishly delivered an irresistibly genius idea. But the proof of just how compelling the Weeping Angels are as a monster lies in how every new story has found almost infinite twists on the concept without detracting from their core brilliance. Wink is the latest to try and find something new and exciting to say with the Angels. It succeeds by posing one killer question – how would a city of the blind defend against them?
The setting for Wink is the planet of Lucidus Silvara. It’s a planet in a system with so many stars that it exists in an almost perpetual ‘white out’ of bright sunshine which makes vision impossible. Naturally enough, the indigenous species have evolved without sight at all. Only a rare perfect alignment of the planets creates an eclipse that’s a brief window of twilight on the planet. So when the Doctors literally bump into each other here, only to discover an entire army of Weeping Angels, frozen in stone in mid-assault on the city, it adds an extra element of tension as the pair race to solve the mystery before they too are blinded by the light.
Wink gives Village of the Angels competition as the most effective us of the Weeping Angels of recent years
The stories not afraid to use some of the Weeping Angels’ greatest hits to superb effect, though. The giggling, scuttling Cherubs of The Angels Take Manhattan are every bit as unsettling this time out. Meanwhile the cruel laughter and pure sadistic delight of ‘Angel Dax’ (Clive Hayward) surpasses Flesh and Stone’s Angel Bob as a figurehead for the Angels. And there are moments of real terror and dread. The stalking of the Doctors and their new friends Padilla (Ayesha Antoine) and Estra (Joanna Van Kampen) through the city is filled with potent menace. But Wink’s unafraid to have some fun with it either. The Sixth Doctor’s repeats that frequent fan grumble that nobody ever thinks to just wink their way to safety. A tactic that proves easier said than done.
Angel Dax’s taunting and gloating is a deft way of making this most visual of monsters effective on audio. But the whole script is very skilfully built around translating to them into this medium. The harsh scraping stones of their movements is only part of it. The pairing of the Doctors with blind companions also has a not immediately obvious benefit. Thanks to that, all of the necessary exposition about where the Angels are at any given moment flows perfectly seamlessly. Meanwhile, the scenes of the Doctors explaining the very concept of sight and how it can be used as a weapon against the Angels touches on poetry.
At heart, Wink is a chance to spend a fun hour in the company of two actors who plainly adore working together
The ultimate resolution to the danger is a little fuzzy even by Doctor Who standards. So much so the Tenth feels to need to recap the whole episode afterwards for clarity. Though the Sixth makes it a moment of charm by putting a multi-coloured lampshade on what a stupendous bit of exposition it is. But the real heart of Wink is the chance have a splendid time in the company of two actors who plainly adore each other. David Tennant may be heading back to our screens next year for a mysterious role in Doctor Who’s 60th Anniversary. But the sheer joy audible in every scene of the Out of Time series as he teams up with the heroes of his youth reminds us again that this that, of all the Doctors, he’s the man who loves Doctor Who.
Doctor Who: Out of Time – Wink
Doctor Who – Out of Time: Wink, written by Lisa McMullin, is now available to pre-order as a collector’s edition CD (for just £10.99). You can also pre-order as a digital download (for just £8.99), both exclusively from www.bigfinish.com.