The Murder of Oliver Akkron

Posted in Audio by - September 06, 2021
The Murder of Oliver Akkron

Released September 2021


Doctor Who stories with the Doctor only tangentially involved or otherwise directing events from behind the scenes have often offered some of the more experimental and dynamic takes on the Doctor and his methods, but it’s incredibly rare to have a story under the Doctor Who banner with the Doctor completely absent. However, in Nigel Fairs’s ‘The Murder of Oliver Akkron’ in which the Global President of Molaruss has been assassinated, the Doctor and Constance are nowhere in sight, allowing the Eleven’s nefarious plan to fully and intimately take centre stage.

The Eleven is unquestionably one of the more manic and frenetic individuals the Doctor has crossed paths with, but here he presents himself as something of a reformed man who has only one consciousness and no whims of his other selves to combat. More intriguingly, it’s the Eight who has proven himself to be the anomalous regeneration who did not follow the more destructive tendencies that pervaded his other selves’ thoughts who provides the voice for this very even-tempered and even sympathetic iteration of the Time Lord. The extended dialogue with Oliver Akkron is by far the longest period that the Eleven has seemed to be completely in control of his own thoughts, and Mark Bonnar gives a stunning performance as a man who knows just what to say to seem both vulnerable and ruthless while delving into his character’s own tortured past at the hands of the Time Lords and letting slip pieces of knowledge to suggest he always has the upper hand as the past and future of this world are discussed. Indeed, with an election looming and the general populace unaware of the certain facts Akkron is poised to exploit to emerge victorious, it’s clear that neither character is quite as wholesome and unassuming as he would have others believe, and Simon Slater is equally engaging to bring this layered conversation to life so vividly.

The Eleven has been amassing something of a devout following despite his protestations that he has neither asked for nor would know what to do with such loyalty, and the simmering tension that belies what on the surface appears to be such a congenial conversation is an undisputed strength of this script. And while the subplot within a Molaruss laboratory naturally ends up being far less captivating, breaking the script up into two-handers framed by a brilliant piece of narration demonstrably proves how best to thrust the core villains and their plans into the spotlight without the chaos that the Doctor’s interventions bring. With this in mind, the ultimate revelations about Miskavell’s involvement and her commitment to the Eleven are brilliant and perfectly highlight just how dangerous the woman the Eleven has chosen to be his wife genuinely is. There are plenty of callbacks to the events of ‘One for All’ that make everything related to the Eleven and Miskavell resonate all the more profoundly as the intentions of their previous exploits progress naturally to allow the climax to unfold with a new power structure for Molaruss seemingly inevitable, and Lucy Gaskell again proves to be the perfect complement for Mark Bonnar by intensifying the already-immense danger that the Eleven poses.

In many ways, ‘The Murder of Oliver Akkron’ is one of the boldest Doctor Who releases Big Finish has yet attempted given the lack of the Doctor or companion in any capacity, and yet its very traditional and intimate focal point makes it an unqualified success that ends up advancing the overall plot of this set incredibly effectively. Subtlety and layers are integral throughout, but the audaciousness of the Eleven and Miskavell that ultimately reveals itself makes this an exceedingly enjoyable middle story that ramps up its intensity just in time for the finale.

  • Release Date: 9/2021
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