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Doctor Who Companion Chronicle: Shadow Of The Past by Simon Guerrier

1/07/2010. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Doctor Who Companion Chronicle: Shadow Of The Past in the USA - or Buy Doctor Who Companion Chronicle: Shadow Of The Past in the UK

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pub: Big Finish. 1 CD 60 minute story.Price: CD: 8.99, download: 7.99 (UK)ISBN: 978-1-84435-465-8)stars: Caroline John and Lex Shrapnel.

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It's been a long time since Liz Shaw came to UNIT and all those she loved have long since moved on. The Doctor, her Doctor, was a unique character. 'I've heard there are many all with different faces', she sighs. This is the scientist, the woman reduced to handing test tubes to a great mind. Her Doctor was in prison on Earth. She never got to see the universe, all of time and space, in the TARDIS. Budget cuts and the Time Lords saw to that. Eventually, she left. She moved on before he did. Liz Shaw, a woman who would have appreciated the travel, never did get to see the life and death of the cosmos.

Now here she is again. Recalled by UNIT to deal with an ongoing situation, Liz (played by Caroline John) is here to recall just what happened all that time ago with her Doctor. Liz needs someone to tell the story to and Sergeant Marshall who meets her in the vault is just the person.

A long time ago when a spaceship was spotted and Liz and the Doctor drive off to catch the falling star, she share his exhilaration at this challenge. She senses his grief and his isolation as he feels the pain of his exile. As they prepare to open the ship, she wonders what they will find.

This is quite a personal story as Liz returns to the special days with the Doctor and laments how she failed to recognise what a great gift she shared. This is also a tale of suspense. Why is she telling this story and what purposes does it serve? Why does the soldier in the vault need to know?

'Shadow Of The Past' is another example of how the simpler format can tell a gripping story with a thrilling sense of adventure even as it is told in past tense. The growing sense of where this is leading can be relived on repeat listening and it becomes even more delicious releasing its secrets with plenty of period atmosphere for the older listener. You can almost feel the ruffles on the Doctor's cuffs.

Sue Davies.

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