The winner of 2019 Paul Spragg Memorial Opportunity from Big Finish has been revealed and now listeners can enjoy their short trip. Ben Tedds brings us The Best Laid Plans, a new story for the Twelfth Doctor. It proves to be a worthy winner.
I have often had ideas, too many ideas for me to know what to do with them all. In many ways then, I can empathise with Dracksil Forg, the shop-keeper entrepreneurial protagonist of The Best Laid Plans. He, in a fashion not dissimilar to prose works by Dr Seuss, creates a shop where he sells his bountiful collection of ideas to willing customers offering a money-back guarantee. This leads to the same amount of conflict and chaos as one can expect from a Doctor Who story. Whimsical and played for laughs, yet the core theme is one which I found to be quite powerful.
Being drowned in ideas is something I have done many times to myself, albeit I did not have the glorious Twelfth Doctor as an antagonist at the same time. In similar Short Trips fashion, Capaldi does not return to voice said character, but his on-screen (or rather in-ears?) flare is captured well by Jacob Dudman. He isn’t even a pivotal focus in the story really, with the run-time being largely dedicated to establishing Dracksil from the outset.
The writing of The Best Laid Plans is solid, a great compliment for a debuting writer. Ben Tedds rather hastily but fashionably cements Dracksil’s world to the listener and that sense of being wonderfully lost was strong throughout the first act of the story. As it goes on, my interest was kept up and I attribute most of that to what is at the core of every good tale; the idea. And for The Best Laid Plans, it has ideas, and charm, a-plenty.
Dracksil Forg sells ideas. For the right price, he’s got a solution to every possible problem. His reputation is impeccable, and whilst his ideas aren’t flawless, he has a 100% money-back guarantee.
Dracksil has started selling to a new type of customer. They are dictators, warlords; species having trouble conquering galaxies or controlling populations. However, for these clients, Dracksil’s ideas keep falling apart.
There’s something that unites these failing ideas. A name, screamed and whispered angrily among the rants of Dracksil’s new clientele: the Doctor, the Doctor, the Doctor…
Winner of the The Paul Spragg Memorial Short Trip Opportunity 2019.