The end of a week of Doctor Who audio-blogging – book-blogging will return shortly, but I also will try and keep more up to date with the other media I have been consuming here.
Lost Warriors is the third volume of plays featuring Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor, following from the welcome first set and the excellent second set. Two are OK and one that is excellent.
The first of these is The Hunting Season by James Kettle, a new writer for me, bringing the Ninth Doctor to a posh country house in the early twentieth century, which he naturally dislikes, with aliens infesting the estate. Not all is as it seems of course. Annette Badland is great as the cook, but it doesn’t quite seem to find its soul. One reviewer comments that it is the only one of these three not rooted in historical events, which may be part of it.
We’re on an upward curve with the next one, The Curse of Lady Macbeth by Lizzie Hopley. This is largely a two-hander between Eccleston and the lovely Neve McIntosh as Gruach, the historical Lady Macbeth, with an optimistic reading of her role in Scottish history which surely nods to Dorothy Dunnett’s King Hereafter, bothered by aliens again of course but also fulfilling a progressive government role.
And it peaks with Monsters in Metropolis by John Dorney, where a lone Cyberman gets involved with Fritz Lang’s movie-making in 1920s Berlin. It has a similar plot to the TV story Dalek, with Nicholas Briggs playing the monster which is changed by its survival in a human world, but the historical setting and intersection with early sf make it very different. Helen Goldwyn, a Big Finish veteran actor, director and writer, shines here as one-off companion Anna Dreyfus, Fritz Lang’s assistant.
Dorney throws in a lovely and not completely gratuitous reference to Norman Hartnell, the fashion designer whose career was just getting started at the time that Lang was making Metropolis. His cousin William, seven years younger, is also known to Doctor Who fans.
And finally, I finish this write-up of recent Doctor Who audios with one that didn’t come from Big Finish.
Doctor Who: Redacted is a ten-part audio story featuring Jodie Whittaker’s Thirteenth Doctor, released by the BBC between April and June 2022, mostly by Juno Dawson. Although Whittaker makes frequent appearances, along with Anjli Mohindra as Rani, Jemma Redgrave and Ingrid Oliver as Kate Stewart and Osgood, and a recast Doon McKichan as Madam Vastra, the protagonist is Charlie Craggs starring as Cleo Proctor, supported by Lois Chimimba as Abby and Holly Quin-Ankrah as Shawna, three podcasters who are trying to get to the bottom of the mystery of the Doctor and her blue box – especially when people associated with the mysterious traveller start to disappear. It’s all very well done.
The whole thing is very different from a Big Finish production – much more podcasty, much less TV-on-the-radio. It’s something of a hymn to fandom, but given Dawson’s authorship and Craggs’ leading role, it’s not surprising that it’s also a salute to Who as a safe space for inclusivity. And it’s the BBC showing the way yet again: it’s difficult to imagine Big Finish running a story with a trans lead and the two most important supporting roles played by actors of colour, or at least it was until the BBC showed it could be done.
Even outside the UK I was able to download all 10 episodes (none longer than half an hour) for free from here.
Back to books. Soon.