This boxset screams “recorded during lockdown” as it features The Sixth Doctor and Constance, the only pairing from that era that has been able to record at home, facing off with The Eleven and a new companion played by Eleven actor Mark Bonnar’s wife recorded in their home. Is this a bad thing? No, not really, I do enjoy The Eleven, though I feel he is becoming over-exposed, especially after his great death scene at the end of Ravenous 4. Still… this is a bit of a rambling intro, shall I just take a spoilery look at the story? Why not!
The Eleven – a Time Lord criminal, whose past selves all live on inside his head. Chaotic, yet brilliant, he has long been one of the Doctor’s most persistent and dangerous foes. Now, with a companion of his own and a world on his wavelength, he is making his greatest play for power. Can the Doctor and Constance stop him, or will they be caught inside his web?
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
The story is split into three hour-and-a-bit stories with the first and third stories being linked by a Doctor-less middle story. It works quite well, though a fun key concept is somewhat lost by being reused too often (which I’ll get to in the bad) it’s a good idea at heart, and that’s the setting. Molaruss is a planet where nearly the entire population is born with two personalities in their head and learn to deal with it, one sleeps while the other is active. This obviously appealed to The Eleven and he arrived on the planet with the hopes to use their knowhow to sort his own head out. During his travels he met Miskavel (Lucy Gaskell) and apparently got married to her and by the time The Doctor and Constance arrive (after having found The Eleven’s TARDIS floating in the void) the duo had already used Molarussian technology to extract several personalities into their own clone body of The Eleven. So the ideas of both The Eleven travelling to a planet full of people with his own affliction and him separating some of his personalities away from himself are all good ones. Obviously The Doctor puts a stop to his plan and forces him to reform himself, plus a mysterious other version of Miskavel appears and kills a friendly doctor, not that anyone other than Miskavel herself knows its not, erm, well Miskavel herself. Basically Episode 1, “One for All”, was a good laugh.
Episode 2, “The Murder of Oliver Akkron”, was a bit more experimental, the majority of the story is just The Eight in a clone body of The Eleven talking with Oliver Akkron (Simon Slater), the leader of Molaruss, as Miskavel in disguise brings in tea from time to time. As The Eight is the only incarnation of The Eleven’s history to not be evil it was a more sane conversation for the most part. Eventually Akkron is killed by Miskavel (who had gone back in time and was the Miskavel from the first episode), The Eight is arrested for the crime and The Eleven arrives to “save everyone” and becomes the new leader of the planet. It had more good than bad for what was mostly an hour of two people having a chat, but don’t go into it thinking it’s going to be a thrill ride…
A well made, if overly simple cover design…
Episode 3 “Elevation” was a let-down. The Doctor and Constance arrive back on Molaruss to find The Eleven in control and about to give everyone on the planet a special gift. Constance meets up with Miskavel, who now has a second self, and begins to develop a second personality of her own while The Doctor begins to think that maybe The Eleven has changed while he’s been in charge… until he reveals his plan of unleashing a nano-machine controlled “virus” that gives everyone eight more personalities to bring them up to ten and the copy his own mind onto their brains as the Eleventh, therefore controlling the population’s will. He nearly succeeds until the now 10-personalitied Constance and Miskavel (who felt betrayed) join the Doctor and eventually outsmart him, giving him mental feedback until he undid everything. It was certainly a crazy plan and all but after two hours of loads of characters having two or more personalities to hear another hour and a bit of people having ten or eleven just became exhausting. They took the interesting premise from the first episode and drove it right into the ground.
The Eleven first appeared in Eighth Doctor audio story “The Eleven” (only just realised they’ve reused that, though I guess it’s the name of a box here, rather than an individual story…) and has since gone on to appear in a bunch of Eighth Doctor audios as well as at least one with Seventh (“Dark Universe”). While in control of his own clone body The Eight calls himself Father Octavian, a name he used during his actual appearances in “The Eighth Piece” and “The Doomsday Chronometer”.
The only other thing that comes to mind is The Eleven’s plan to copy himself onto the entire population is very similar to The Master’s plan in the Tenth Doctor story “The End of Time”. Both succeed but have to undo it, too…
The Eleven is a long box of three hour+ stories and while it has some good ideas it doesn’t have enough to fill the allotted time. Part 2 is mostly a friendly chat and Part 3 is a bit of a mess. It’s not terrible, but I won’t be listening again!