So, having finished my Odyssey through the Unbound audios, I have arrived at the three audio adaptations of The Stageplays. Here are my thoughts on the first one:

The Ultimate Adventure
Starring Colin Baker and David Banks

This should have, in theory, been absolutely awful. I went in with an open mind, but expecting the worst. I was only two years old when this was last on stage, so I never saw it. But I hadn't heard good things at all about any Big Finish's adaptations of the three stageplays.

So, imagine my delight at this! Lovingly re-worked by original author Terrance Dicks, this is a wonderfully fun runaround.

Firstly, the failures - the idea of the Sixth Doctor being called to Earth by Margaret Thatcher, sitting in a club and discussing politics doesn't quite work. This story was written for the Third Doctor and it shows. I accept that it may have been slightly re-written for Colin's characterisation, but the base premise is SO Third Doctor that it's difficult to accept Colin here.

The songs don't quite work, either. Maybe it's just because it's not what I expect in Doctor Who. If this hadn't been originally made in the 80s, I'd assume them to be an amusing pastiche of 80s pop. However, the knowledge that these songs are not meant to be a pastiche has stopped them from even being amusing.

Finally, the exposition is pretty poor. I get that there were probably some pretty excellent stage effects at the time, but it's poorly dealt with here, with dialogue as atrociously bad as: "Good grief! Karl ranched off the top casing of the Dalek and blasted the creature inside." Yuck, yuck, yuck!

However, I find that, for the most part, this play REALLY works. Even down to Noel Sullivan's comical French accent as Jason, the wannabe pop princess that is Crystal, and David Banks' hilarious scenery-chewing over-acting. The Daleks & Cybermen team-up is a pre-2007 fan's fantasy, while it's lovely to hear so many staples of the Dicks/Letts-era - peace conferences and technobabble!

The cues taken from this play by the new series are incredible - here we have both Daleks and Cybermen in a story together, a Prime Minister in need and a Dalek inside the TARDIS. I wonder if RTD was a fan of this from its original run?

Colin Baker is also absolutely wonderful in this. Every time I hear him in something by Big Finish, I'm always left feeling that he was left poorly served by the scripts written for his Doctor in the TV series. In this, he turns material that should have been terrible into sheer gold - just listen to the bizarre squawking that he has to do!

Overall, this really should have been terrible. To an extent, it is terrible. But does it matter? This story was never meant to be totally serious - it was meant to be a fun frolic, and that's exactly what it is. And that's why it's absolutely wonderful. For me, this is a solid 8/10