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By James Ashworth
The Dark Dimension is a story that is shrouded in mystery. Plenty has been said about this most infamous of proposals, with contradictions, allegations and speculations regarding just what this proposed 30th anniversary special was all about. This isn’t helped by one of its authors, Adrian Rigelsford, having had much of his work brought into question following a claimed interview with Stanley Kubrick later being retracted after it turned out “no interview had ever taken place”, and subsequently being convicted of theft from a photography archive. 30 years on from its ill-fated first outing, a group of fans have come together to resurrect it as an audio drama. Was this regeneration worth it, or should it have stayed in the Wilderness Years?
Based on the first episode, this resurrection seems like it was worthwhile. Audiences are pitched straight into the story, which doesn’t hang around in getting the plot underway. The storytelling is aided by the audio’s sound design and musical score, which are on a par with any production of Big Finish’s. In particular, the theme music blends diverse eras of Doctor Who together, appropriate for such an anniversary celebration. The plot itself is somewhat expositional, with any potentially enigmatic elements of the villian’s plot swiftly dispelled as he lays out large chunks of his plan. Other characters have a similar habit of laying out their intention’s quite bluntly, but whether this fault lies with the adaptation or the source material is unclear.
The story itself is performed by a group of professionals and amateurs, giving mixed results. That’s not to say that anyone isn’t trying their utmost, but the difference is sometimes pronounced enough to be somewhat jarring. Impressions of certain characters are also somewhat variable, with some being instantly recognisable and others wider of the mark. It’s the only instance where the behind the scenes work is any less than professional, with the other elements of the production unifying well into a coherent whole.
The latest incarnation of The Dark Dimension, then, is perhaps reflective of the project as a whole. It isn’t perfect, but there is more than enough to interest the audience and keep them anticipating the events to follow. Roll on part two!
The first part of The Dark Dimension is available from Friday at 7pm on Pharos Features’ YouTube Channel: