I’m not going to lie, I picked up Simon A. Forward’s Doctor Who: Short Trips download Mel-evolent solely because of the title. Bonnie Langford narrates a first-person story from Mel where she and the Sixth Doctor discover a magic mirror of sorts in the bowels of the TARDIS — one that’s letting something evil through from another world, something that’s taken Mel’s form. And so Mel finds herself having to take its form in return…
Simon Forward hasn’t contributed to Big Finish for over a decade, astoundingly, but his work was always distinguished by his interesting concepts — Dreamtime and The Sandman are no ordinary Doctor Who stories — and Mel-evolent continues this trend. It’s kind of like the Doctor and Mel are fighting the villainess from a 1980s dark fantasy film, and it’s good fun all the way through.
Mel having to pretend to be evil is of course perfect, given she’s “as truthful, honest, and about as boring as they come”. The story also does a good job capturing the gentle teasing of Mel’s relationship with the Sixth Doctor, and a surprising plot function for a piece of exercise equipment made me laugh out loud. I might have picked Mel-evolent up for the title, but I stayed for yet another well put together Short Trip.
Mel-evolent (by Simon A. Forward; read by Bonnie Langford) was released by Big Finish Productions in February 2018.