January 17th, 2021

Musician Who

Aunts and Butlers Abound

The Fourth Doctor and Romana I are caught up in a P.G. Wodehouse homage in the Doctor Who audio play The Auntie Matter. I've never read P.G. Wodehouse but I gather this story's business with butlers and an addle-brained, aristocratic chap with many aunts are references to Jeeves and Wooster. It's a pretty enjoyable story, even not knowing Wodehouse.

Taking refuge from the Black Guardian in 1920s England, the Doctor (Tom Baker) and Romana (Mary Tamm) are separated and each heroically battles the same demoniac aunt without ever being aware of what the other is doing. Mary Tamm is particularly funny as she coolly and politely handles tone deaf flirtations from Reggie (Robert Portal).

Part way through yesterday, I realised I'd listened to this audioplay before. I must have been really drunk or something the first time because I barely remember most of it.

This audio play was released in 2013, six months after Mary Tamm's death, and there are a few nice interviews with cast and crew remembering her. Tom Baker sadly points out a number of his younger castmates have been dying, including both Mary Tamm and Elisabeth Sladen. I've noticed this before--it's strange that most of the companions from the 1960s are still alive while most of the ones from the 70s have died. What were people eating in the '70s? Whatever it was, I'm glad Tom Baker apparently avoided it.

Tamm doesn't sound sick or even old in her audio plays. It's easy to picture the beautiful, supercilious young Time Lady catching the eye of the foolish Reggie.

The Auntie Matter is available on Big Finish.