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Audio - ...ish
Audio - ...ish
(Phil Pascoe)

 With the strange title "...ish" this story has the TARDIS taking the time travellers to a conference which has been convened to compile the biggest dictionary in the universe. It is a very unusual play which is very dependant on what is being said, rather than any physical action. But it does have an intriguing twist on a familiar scenario.

 Released in August this story sees the debut of Australian writer Phil Pascoe and reunites the Sixth Doctor, played by Colin Baker, with companion Peri, played by Nicola Bryant, for the first time since the 1999's "Whispers of Terror". It has been directed by Nicholas Briggs and was recorded on the 6th and 8th March 2002.

 The cast of "…ish" is one of the smallest Big Finish Productions has used for a while and those joining Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant are: Moray Treadwell, Marie Collett, Oliver Hume and Chris Eley.

Characters n. pl. the dramatis personae of a story, e.g. the cast of a performed script, often listed before the text.

The Doctor pr. n. Wanderer in time and space. "Mastery of English? I'd naturally reverse the roles. It's English that has mastered me. What a remarkable, versatile language."

Peri pr. n. U.S. (contraction of Perpugilliam Brown) College student companion of The Doctor (q.v.). "I'd tag along... if I felt like yet another run through The Story of English."

Book pr. n. A projected artificial intelligence or 'hologlyph', the organising principle of the Lexicon. "I'm a walking dictionary."

Osefa (de Palabra Hftzbrn, Ph.D.) pr. n. Professor of Lexicography, research supervisor to Book (q.v.) and head of the Lexicon project; a distinguished academic in her middle years. "She always was a perfectionist."

Bob Cawdrey, the Symposiarch pr. n. Wealthy patron of learning, the underwriter of the work of Osefa (q.v.) and Book (q.v.), and convenor of the conference to present the Lexicon. "Words are my entire working life. I trade in them, they made my fortune. And never, not once, did one leap off a page and hijack my brain."

Warren pr. n. A young man who comes into opposition with the work of Book (q.v.), Osefa (q.v.) and Cawdrey (q.v.). "I'm a logophile. From lógos and philía?"

Extras n. pl. Incidental characters. See also: Attendees, Delegates, Academics, et al.

...ish suffix? Enclitic word (?) of unknown origins, as playing with the voices of its victim(s) or hosts; sentient (?) auto-memetic (?) fragment (?) of the Omniverbum (q.v.?). See also ...ish?? ...ish? ...ish?

Extracts from Book's Lexicon, chief editor Professor Hftzbrn, unpublished.

 Words - where would be without them? They form the basis of a language and a means of communication through history. As The Doctor states 'English! What a remarkable versatile language. Ever expanding, adapting, surviving but never compromising it's integrity nor it's poetry. One of the foremost achievements of humankind, a living language in it's truest sense and a language worth living.'

Sixth Doctor
Sixth Doctor
 But what is Ish and what does it mean? According Book in the Department of Lexicographic Studies it is almost a word but not quite. 'Almost a word. Not quite. A fragment. Something. Slightly askew'.

 But can the findings of The Lexicon be trusted? Because there is a murder amongst a convocation of linguists, lexicologists and logomaniacs who are attempting to showcase the most comprehensive dictionary of the English language ever written - called simply "The Lexicon".

 The Doctor and Peri arrive in the university just as the Head of the Department of Lexicographic Studies, Professor Osefa de Palabra Hftzbrn, is found dead in the Scriptorium. And so The Doctor is drawn into a seemingly archetypal murder mystery with them both immediately finding themselves in the thick of things.

 With everything centring on the conference to present the universe's most complete dictionary the true power of language becomes apparent and The Doctor soon realises that Book, the hologlyph sophisticated artificial intelligence behind the Lexicon itself whose role it is to seek out and define every possible word and their possible connotations, brings the greatest danger.

 But who would want to intentional kill Professor Osefa and so trigger a dangerous state of affairs and create an inexplicable matter that requires all the skills of The Doctor to solve?



 The Doctor's role as investigator, into both Osefa's murder, and the circumstances behind it which are revealed, it soon transpires that there is much more to Warren than just a keen interest in language. What exactly are his motivations which makes the collation of words into dictionaries, such as the Lexicon, so dangerous?

 Peri soon finds herself predominantly with different members of the campus and separated from The Doctor. But things come to head when, during a communication received by Cawdry, the single word 'ish' is uttered, and he and The Doctor then become extremely concerned when the find that the conference attendees all begin to repeat the word over and over again in unison…

 What had Osefa learnt about language? And who might want it suppressed and just how commercial has the Lexicon become? Is there no space outside of Language? Is the letter of law a foreign alphabet? Will The Doctor save the English language and can Peri prevent a mutiny or will she succumb to the most heinous sentence?

 A killer remains at large, threatening to spread havoc and disorder against language and learning the length and breadth of articulate space…
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Important Information
 This release contains an incorrect numbering on the spine for those sent out to subscribers. Big Finish Productions have announced that a corrected insert will be sent out with the next Doctor Who Audio release - "The Rapture" - in September.

  • Featuring the Sixth Doctor and Peri.
  • Serial Number: 6Z/B
  • Number of Episodes: 4
  • Cover Length: 130 minutes
  • Episode Lengths: 1 = 25'02", 2 = 27'27", 3 = 29'18", 4 = 32'18"
  • Total Story Length: 114'05"
  • This story takes place between "Revelation of the Daleks" and "The Trial of a Time Lord" and follows "Whispers of Terror".
  • Cover Illustration: Clayton Hickman
  • Recorded: 6th and 8th March 2002
  • Recording Location: The Moat Studios
  • Released: August 2002
  • ISBN: 1-903654-73-4

On the Back Cover:

 A conference of lexicographers: bromides in tweed. But the leading expert in the field is found dead by her own hand - and by her hologlyphic assistant. Is he responsible? Does the death fit any conventional definitions? Can The Doctor realise who wrote the suicide note and why, exactly, it was riddled with spelling errors?

 Peri should help out, but there's a guy. Someone who loves language even more than The Doctor. Maybe, she realises, enough to kill for. Or perhaps just enough to ask her out to dinner. Unless, of course, he's already spoken for...

 Is it madness? Seeking transcendence in the complete lexicon? Having the right words on the tip of your tongue but never quite knowing when to use them?

 If so, how?


On the Inside Cover:

 IF YOU'VE GOT THIS FAR, you may already have your dictionary out. I'd even say it's possible that during the play you'll reach again for your Complete Oxford or your Merriam-Webster or your Macquarie. If so, I don't apologise. I'm delighted. It means that …ish has the same effect on its listeners that Doctor Who has always had on me.

 Seven years old. Space adventures and obscure vocabulary are what command a boy's interest. So it was entirely appropriate that Colin Baker's Doctor should appear on screen when I was seven. Sitting transfixed, I saw a hero I could admire for the surprising but simple reason that he just didn't speak like anybody else. Sesquipedalian shouting matches were his style - sending me to look up the language he used, and to be struck by its subtleties. So the chance to write for t
he Sixth Doctor, and his relationship with Peri, with all the comedic and dramatic opportunities that their linguistic disfunctions allow, is something I've savoured.

 Have a listen, then heave that lexicon off the shelf once more. Help yourself. Hang around after your initial questions are answered, and explore. Happen on unusual words and let them stick in your head. Hold pages containing all the words you'll probably ever use, and every Doctor Who story not yet written or heard. Hyperbole? Hey. How many other books are there like the dictionary: bigger on the inside than out?
Phil Pascoe,
March 2002…ish

Phil Pascoe sent his synopsis for …ish in to Big Finish out of the blue (well, via airmail from Duncraig, Western Australia in fact). We read it, we liked it and so we asked him to write it. Thus he is the first Antipodean to write for us, and was the first writer to receive a commission for something we hadn’t actually asked for.

Production Notes:

 Although not the first to go before the microphone (2001's The Eye of the Scorpion has that distinction), Phil Pascoe's …ish was the first storyline that caught the eye of producer Gary Russell during a mammoth blitz on the unsolicited submissions pile. It offered a take on a story that hadn't been done before in Doctor Who where, usefully for an audio, the words really were all-important. Equally important was that The Doctor's companion was Peri - for the sequences where her Americanisms could conflict with The Doctor's Queen's English to great effect. As viewers of quiz shows such as Crosswits will know, Colin Baker is pretty sharp where words and definitions are concerned, so we wanted a script that would challenge even him. However, just as it looked as if he'd beaten us again - we cheated, and made a few words up!

Full Cast List:

The Doctor Colin Baker
Peri Nicola Bryant
Book Moray Treadwell
Professor Osefa de Palabra Hftzbrn Marie Collett
Symposiarch Cawdrey Oliver Hume
Warren Chris Eley

The Production Team:

Writer Phil Pascoe
Director Nicholas Briggs
Sound/Music Neil Clappison
Theme Music Mark Ayres
Producers Gary Russell and
Jason Haigh-Ellery
Executive Producer for the BBC Jaqueline Rayner
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