I’ve said before I’m a sucker for stories about groups of characters trapped in a house or a ship or some place else, preferably dealing with a haunting. So I liked the 2011 Doctor Who audio play The House of Blue Fire which begins in a house where four amnesiac strangers have been gathered. Ultimately, the story doesn’t go to anywhere especially interesting but the performances are good and I enjoyed the dialogue.
Like most of the audio plays, it’s divided into episodes in much the way the old television serials used to be. The first episode barely features the Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) at all, focusing instead on two amnesiacs who, because they’ve forgotten their names, call each other by their room numbers, 18 (Amy Pemberton) and 5 (Miranda Keeling). It’s somewhat similar to a short Sixth Doctor audio play from just a few months before this one was released, “Question Marks”, where the amnesiacs tried to guess things about each other from their personalities expressed in the process of trying to solve the puzzle. 5 is much more aggressive and cynical than the more open minded and cooperative 18 and I enjoyed the experience of listening to them figuring out how an indoor pool could be covered with leaves and pondering other problems.
I guess one thing Twin Peaks has recently made me very aware of is how much more interesting the questions are than the answers. The final episode of this audio play isn’t bad but it really doesn’t pay off the scope of mystery it introduces, boiling down to another case of the Doctor versus a big monster. McCoy is really good in this, of course, and he’s exceptionally well suited for this story, where the Doctor is finally introduced as a figure with mysterious and unknown intentions.