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Recap / Big Finish Doctor Who Specials The Maltese Penguin

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This was the second Big Finish episode to feature the shape-shifting companion Frobisher, taking place in the Doctor Who Magazine comics canon rather than the Big Finish canon. It takes place before "The Holy Terror". Its official production number is "Monthly series 33 1/2", although it was released in the bonus range instead of in the monthly range (still with us?).


Frobisher, narrating, tries to get back into working as a detective after having said goodbye to the Sixth Doctor for a while. He's not even remotely successful at it, but when the Doctor vworps in for a social call, Frobisher's a bit too proud to admit it and refuses to become a companion again. Instead, he takes on the case of a Femme Fatale named Alicia, who begs him to spy on her cheating husband. She asks him to be inconspicuous, so Frobisher shapeshifts into the one humanoid form he knows best... that of the Sixth Doctor.

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Frobisher, now sounding like Colin Baker impersonating Robert Jezek playing the Sixth Doctor (while also still narrating in his regular voice), finds said husband dead in a pool of blood. The case turns out to be linked to the interstellar commerce empire of Mr. Dogbolter. The mobster has taken over all production on the entire planet, made it all as stagnant as possible in order to stabilise the economy, and has outright banned creativity and innovation, as even the smallest new invention could completely undermine the ever-present mediocrity that secures his power over the planet. But now, it seems, Alicia's mysterious dead man has innovated a... something.

Frobisher is nearly executed a few times over, does some back-and-forth shapeshifting, brushes off the Doctor (who vworps in a few times to see if he really can't be of help) and confronts Alicia about her lie. She practically throws herself at Frobisher and (after a good snog) confesses that it was all a ploy to trick him — the man was not her husband, but the inventor of something that could very well change Dogbolter's empire forever.

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The "something" turns out to be a microchip, containing the sentence "... you don't have to be crazy to work here, but it sure helps!". By activating the chip out of curiosity, Dogbolter accidentally broadcasts it to all his workers, who promptly start laughing and talking to each other and other such highly forbidden things. Realising that the economy is becoming entirely too unstable for him again, Dogbolter flees from the planet.

Alicia reveals herself to be Frobisher's shapeshifting ex-wife, who faked being the dead man (and the pool of blood on the floor) in order to get the microchip into Dogbolter's hands. And although she and Frobisher still love each other very dearly, they both realise that they'd rather compete with each other than try to live together in harmony. Frobisher decides to go back to being a companion.

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