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< 6.6 - Lost and Found
6.8 - Damascus >

6.7 - The Blame Game

Rating Votes
10
21%
5
9
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8
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Average Rating
8.3
Votes
25
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User Rating:
9
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Reviewed By: JMChurch25Review Date: 2/6/18 8:26 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

'Blame Game' sees the Third Doctor early into his exile being tempted by the devil in the form of the Meddling Monk (played once again by Rufus Hound) with Liz Shaw playing as the questioning voice of reason. The Monk is offering an easy way out of his exile but the Doctor is of course more than a little skeptical. Is the Monk simply trying to help and stick it to the Time Lords or is there another motif behind his offer? Listening to this before the return of the Monk with Tim Treloar in "The Third Doctor Adventures Volume 4" next month (at time of writing), it makes me excited to hear this pair in a proper full-cast audio adventure. 'Blame Game is an absolutely fantastic story with a strong conflict, dialogue, and performance from our lead. It paints both Time Lord characters in shades of grey rather than black and white which is absolutely fascinating especially for such a usually morally heroic incarnation of the Doctor. The description of Time Lord exile here really brings things into light that I had never thought about and how much torture it must be for Three to be stranded there as well as actions on both sides of the Monk-Doctor conflict that make neither party without flaw. It's a shame then that the plot is a tad on the standard side but the dialogue and  conversations between the pair of mains easily make up for it especially as it also ends up being Liz Shaw's first trip into space in a TARDIS which is worth the price of admission alone for this character. In terms of voice, Rufus Hound's narration is very distinct and perfect for the Monk but not quite so much for Three and Liz. It does then become a tad hard to follow at times in its running time but not so much that it hampers the story as you do get used to it eventually. It goes sort of the way you'd expect especially by the end if you know the Third Doctor's character but again it's more than worth the listen for the ideas at play here in Atkins' script. In short, "Blame Game" is an outstanding short story that serves as a brilliant study of both the Doctor & the Monk with the bonus of giving Liz Shaw a much needed trip in space she never really got over the course of the show making her an official companion in the process. I highly recommend it as a must-listen for all Whovians and fans, classic and new. 
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
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9
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10
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9
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7
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Reviewed By: DalekbusterScreen5ReviewsReview Date: 4/8/17 4:22 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

At £2.99 each, the Big Finish Short Trips are ridiculously good value for money. The Short Trips range originally began in 2002 as a series of short story book collections and have since morphed into monthly short story downloads read by an actor from either Doctor Who or Big Finish's past. As of current the Short Trips only feature Doctors 1-8, although personally I hope they include the new series Doctors before long. The latest Short Trips release is The Blame Game, released today on the Big Finish site.

The Blame Game is set early on during Jon Pertwee's time as the Doctor, when Liz Shaw was his companion. The Meddling Monk (Rufus Hound) arrives in the Doctor's lab and offers to take him away from Earth in his TARDIS and drop him off somewhere with readily available time technology. The Doctor would have the ability to bypass his Earth exile...but will he trust the Meddling Monk enough to go along with it?


View SpoilersWARNING: spoilers below
Rufus Hound's Meddling Monk was introduced in the Second Doctor Early Adventures audio story The Black Hole
and he does a good job here of narrating this short. Rufus Hound is an entertainingly excitable narrator, who provides a sense of energy to The Blame Game. He's a wise choice by Big Finish for the audio reading and a perfect reader for anyone new to Big Finish. It seemed a bit random when it were announced considering I didn't realise
View SpoilersWARNING: spoilers below
Rufus Hound was the latest Big Finish Meddling Monk
before I accidentally stumbled across spoilers but having listened to the story I can't imagine anyone else offering a stronger reading of this story than him.

This is a very good story too. It feels like very authentic towards the early Jon Pertwee stories with Liz Shaw, playing into the Doctor's frustration at not being able to leave Earth as a major plot point. You can't really imagine this story taking place elsewhere in the Doctor's timeline. It wouldn't work as well as a first Doctor story, for example. This story was clearly written by Ian Atkins with the third Doctor in mind. It did strike me as strange however that the Brigadier doesn't appear during The Blame Game. He isn't even mentioned or referred to, which is a surprise given how he was one of the main characters during Jon Pertwee's time on the show. The Brigadier's reaction to the Doctor yet again trying to flee his job as scientific advisor would have been fun and it seems like a bit of a missed opportunity.

It's nice to see the early third Doctor away from the Earth-based stories with UNIT though. I like that we get to hear this Doctor on a spaceship. Whilst I like the third Doctor's early Earth adventures, it makes a nice change to see him brought somewhere else towards the beginning of his era. Sometimes the Earth stories can restrain this incarnation a little and being able to include spaceships and planets offers more variation in the stories that can be told.

There is a very nice callback to Spearhead From Space in this story. The spaceship the Doctor, Liz and the Meddling Monk land on has an automated system that communicates in eyebrow movements and the Doctor actually has to use the Delphon eyebrow language he showed Liz in his first story during this one. It is unbelievably cool to have a story where the Doctor has to actually utilise the Delphon language; it is something I have always wanted to see or hear in a third Doctor story and the way Rufus Hound describes it in his narration works well in creating a vivid image in how the Doctor's eyebrows look when doing it. It was a pleasant surprise to find a reference to the Delphon language in this story and it added to the story's overall enjoyable experience for me.

Other references I liked were the nice attempt to fit in the classic series continuity with the new series. There are some neat references to the Time Agents and the 51st Century. This helps Doctor Who to feel like one part of a massive universe, as though things like the Time Agents have always existed for the Doctor. Later this month there's the Classic Doctors, New Monsters box set that will help combine the classic and new series to a larger extent and of course they have already done it with Jago & Litefoot & Strax: The Haunting but it still feels cool to hear new series references in classic series releases.

This is a very good value Short Trip. The story clocks in at 40 minutes, compared to Flywheel Revolution's 32 minutes so it is one of the longer Short Trip releases. There's plenty of enjoyment to be had with this story, from Rufus Hound's energetic narration to the references to the Delphon language and the Time Agents. The move away from an Earth adventure with this release also offers a nice refresher from other third Doctor stories and the focus on the Doctor's desire to break his Earth exile feel authentic to the early Jon Pertwee serials. This Short Trip release is one that any Whovian must listen to, especially if you're a new series fan unsure about the Big Finish releases.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
6
Acting Rating:
8
Replay Rating:
7
Effects Rating:
7
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Reviewed By: adamelijahReview Date: 8/27/16 3:01 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

In the middle of the third Doctor's exile, the Meddling Monk shows up to give the Doctor an opportunity to escape. The story gives Rufus Hound an opportunity to reprise his role from the Black Hole and he's a delight as he really takes the opportunity to camp up the performance. The plot has a good sense of mystery, as we wonder whether the Doctor or the Monk is behind the mystery. Thn ee ending is a bit of an anti-climax and is a bit hard to follow. Still, Hound's installment makes entertaining overall.

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From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
9
Replay Rating:
9
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
Unsure
Reviewed By: kfb2014Review Date: 7/31/16 12:46 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Rufus Hound a Doctor Who fan, certainly puts in a decent shift here, for any actor, it is often commented hard to actually pull off a reading or performance art that will allow the listener to be submerged into a wonderfully believable journey through the story telling itself. Rufus has done for me something quite clever here, instead concentrate on the Doctor as the lead character of the piece, Rufus dons the hat of the meddling monk, of which he has played before, and being sort of comfortable in his skin, or in this case his habit. This story actually makes for some fine affordable entertainment. I think Big Finish selling these titles for the cost that they are is both genius and also a little thank you to those whom perhaps want not to splash the cash for a exceptionally high quality audio drama that only a company like Big Finish can produce, to such exacting standards of production, casting, production and overall enjoyment. This is something that we often forget, when we analyse the output we are looking at the quality of the performance, and perhaps forget, that simple question did this entertain me, and did it do enough for me that I would happily either return to this again, or perhaps purchase another in this or any other range.


Blame Game, is quite simply "lovely" it is nostalgic and also massively entertaining, and the use of the word lovely is something that I use in the widest sense, it does not mean that it is twee or I am lost for adjectives to describe the release, it is just what I want when I want to kick back relax and listen to my favourite science fiction character. Rufus you have done the legend that is Pertwee well, this is a wonderful story written expertly well giving off all the right feeling that it was a story that we never saw.