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Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles: Empathy Games by Nigel Fairs

01/01/2009. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Doctor Who The Companion Chronicles Empathy Games in the USA - or Buy Doctor Who The Companion Chronicles Empathy Games in the UK

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pub: Big Finish. ISBN: 978-1-84435-353-8. 60 minute CD. Price: 8.99 (UK). Download: 7.99). . stars: Louise Jameson and David Warner.

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Leela is trapped in a prison and there is no escape. She is waiting to die. Her captors, destroyed by a virus she carried and there is no hope of rescue. All her fellow prisoners will suffer the same fate of starvation and death. Leela is a warrior but she cannot fight this ultimate challenger. Instead, she has a little time to reflect on her past adventures with the curly-headed Doctor and recall a planet where she was coerced into playing the Empathy Games.

The TARDIS is on fire and, for the first time, Leela sees the Doctor show real fear. They are forced to land on a planet that is full of peace and harmony. But something is not quite right in the tranquil city of Synchronis. The shimmering waters of empathy hang up above the city and, although everyone seems very happy, something dark is at the heart of this world.

No one carries a weapon but there is something mysterious going on. The Doctor is seriously hurt by the attack of a vicious rodent. Leela knows he will recover and takes up the insistent offer of Coordinator Angell to fight in the

David Warner is instantly recognisable as the leader Coordinator Angell and as always we reserve our judgement about his true nature. Jameson competently provides the rest of the characterisations becoming variously a nurse, a talking rodent and the Doctor himself.

Production values are as high as ever but something about the story didn't engage me as much as usual. It did seem to take its time and I wasn't convinced by the motivation of Leela. She seemed to take the almost fatal injury of the Doctor too much in her stride before she races off to perform in the games. The framing device that follows on from her last 'Companion Chronicles' is good and the expansion of her two-dimensional character is an interesting idea. Leaving that reservation aside, it drags in places and I'm not convinced that Leela would have left the Doctor's side when he was dangerously ill. Still, even an average story is better than nothing and 'The Companion Chronicles' attempt to plug the gap of the missing Doctors. Hats off for trying, but this left me not wanting more from this companion.

Sue Davies

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