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Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles - The Drowned World by Simon Guerrier

01/11/2009. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Doctor Who The Companion Chronicles The Drowned World in the USA - or Buy Doctor Who The Companion Chronicles The Drowned World in the UK

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pub: Big Finish. 60 minute CD. Price: CD: 8.99 (UK), download: 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-424-5) cast: Jean Marsh with Niall McGregor.

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The traveller returns to speak to the 'ghost' presiding over the house of wishes. It used to be known as Sara Kingdom and travelled the stars with the Doctor. The man, Robert, has come to pass judgement on the ghost that grants wishes. He comes across the drowned land, a person defined by this environment where technology and science has almost all been lost and only superstition remains. This is also the last place on Earth where dreams and nightmares can come true.

Jean Marsh returns to the role of Sara Kingdom. Her first Companion Chronicle, 'Home Truths', was the story of how her 'soul' came to reside in the house. She's there to give it judgment, to prevent the awful mistakes the soulless technology made when it tried to imagine the wishes of its inhabitants. Now her careful, considered approach is a moral reflection of the person she was. But Sara Kingdom was a person of ethical dilemma and it is possible that this version of her might have its own agenda.

Sara foresees dark events for the world outside of her domain but Robert wants to listen to a particular story. It's something he needs to sell to the elders, to stop them ordering her destruction. She must tell him how she travelled with the Doctor and Stephen to a mining colony on an asteroid. They arrive after an earthquake and must quickly escape from a room where a mysterious pool of water threatens to engulf them. Even as they manage to climb out from the chaos, the TARDIS slips into the pool. The trio meet a group of miners stoically waiting for rescue but they don't know what's in the water and when Stephen and the miners attempt to rescue the TARDIS, they find out just what they're up against.

There are two stories in this audio, it is dealt out as a spectacular two-hander by Jean Marsh and Niall MacGregor. There's a nice balance between them as the narratives are divided and fed out gradually to the listener. It's done well and is delicately played out, dropping little hints as it goes. The quality of the story is very high but the acting and presentation is superb and the final question is whether there will be more. It looks like Simon Guerrier is down for a third instalment. Quite frankly, I could listen to one of these every month.

Sue Davies

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