Flywheel Revolution (5.01)

Big Finish - Short Trips Season 5

This story is definitely innovative but I think the short story time allowed cut the appeal of the hero, Frankie. We are introduced to a world of robots, abandoned to a scrap heap as they aren’t working correctly, in some manner or other. And a monster, called the Doctor, all pink and strange looking, arrives in the Scrapyard, using the parts of dead robots and haunting the dreams of the living ones. Until he meets Frankie, who manages to get past his fear and talk to the pink monster. It’s a fantastic beginning and fades a bit towards the end, once the Doctor is involved. Perhaps it’s just that it’s the first Doctor as I could see this happening to the Matt Smith Doctor as well, with similar results but a different method for approaching them.

This story uses Frankie as the narrator and it really shows how other creatures might think about soft-bodied aliens if they were robotic in nature. There is a glimpse into how the politics and machinery of the world works as well, with the ability to fix things lost to the past. There are a lot of great ideas to explore in here but it just feels like it’s cut short by about 5-10 minutes. It left me wanting more and feeling like there was an important piece missing, though it doesn’t make sense to actually follow the Doctor off to rescue Susan, Ian, and Barbara (though their names are never mentioned, they’re described quite well). I love the concept but the execution feels almost short changed.

Peter Purves

Writer: Dale Smith

Director: Lisa Bowerman

Release: January 2015

Laura Vilensky 2019