The King of Cats (Part 1 of the Baker’s End audio series) by Paul Magrs. Audio review

THE KING OF CATS (Part 1 of the BAKER’S END audio series) – PauL Magrs (audio, Bafflegab, 2016)

Review By Stuart Douglas

Goodness, where to start?  From the pen of Paul Magrs and starring Tom Baker and Katy Manning, perhaps?  Featuring an elderly actor dressed as a cat, and another as a suspicious housekeeper, maybe?  Hmm, more prosaically might be best…

Tom Baker is dead but, typically for the man, nobody’s really sure how he died.  As if that weren’t bad enough for poor Suzy Goshawk, one time co-star of the illustrious actor, there’s also the irritation of being snowed in after the funeral, and forced to stay in a village full of the odd, the scary and the downright peculiar.  Not least Baker himself who may, it turns out, not even really have passed on…

As the earlier Nest Cottage series demonstrated, Paul Magrs and Tom Baker are a match made in heaven.  True, some of the recent Big Finish Baker audios have been excellent, but if, like me, you prefer your Tom on the less traditional side, you want to see the name MAGRS on the front of your cd.  Even more so in this case, in fact, where the lack of a Doctor Who logo means that Magrs and Baker can indulge their fervid imaginations without restraint (this is the Tom who suggested a talking cabbage as a companion, after all, or so it’s always been rumoured!)

Klakking dragons and old women twerking are only tasters for a script which never fails to entertain and amuse, but there’s also a tinge of macabre darkness amongst all the sunlight, perfectly brought to the fore by the performances of a top notch cast, including the wonderful Susan Jamieson as Mrs Wibsey replacement, Mrs Flimby, and the ferociously talented David Benson (better known, perhaps, for The Scarifyers and Iris Wildthyme) coming up with another new voice from his seemingly inexhaustible supply.  But everyone responds to the fantastic (in every sense of the word) script and there’s a palpable sense of fun in every moment which repeatedly brought a smile to my face as I listened in.

Tom Baker in full linguistic spate is a joy to hear and even for those whose taste in audios runs to the more traditional, this is something not to be missed.  A triumph from beginning to end!