1/8/2010. Contributed by Sue Davies
Big Finish: 2 CDs 120 minute story. Price: CD: £14.99, Download: £12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-459-7). cast: Colin Baker, Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, Steven Kynman, Abigail Hollick, Ian Gelder, Charlie Ross and Nicholas Briggs
check out web site www.BigFinish.com
So it ends, as the Doctor and Jamie are washed up on the shores of the Land of Fiction. Their last visit was when the Doctor was a funny little man with a mop of black hair.
All is not well as reality threatens to break in. The land is under attack from the Cybermen who would like to eradicate imagination. Jamie and the Doctor must evade capture, find allies and get to the heart of the Land of Fiction before the stories are re-written with unhappy endings.
There's an opportunity to ask a few questions about what happened to Jamie and Zoë after the Doctor was isolated in the twentieth century. For Zoë re-appears, fresh as a daisy and just as young as when Jamie last met her. For Zoë only a month has passed and her arrival in the Land of Fiction allows her to access her memories of the Doctor. Meeting the new' body' also allows for some comedic misunderstanding. Zoë gives Jamie his memories back, too, and he is pained by what they reveal. His questioning of the Doctor is enhanced by the knowledge of just how close they were when fighting all those monsters.
Although this story features action and adventure, there is still plenty of expositing and great word play between the real and 'fictional' characters, all of them out of copyright for obvious reasons. Meeting the Artful Dodger with advanced weaponry makes the Doctor realise just how much have changed here and hearing about how Wonderland burned might well make you shiver. This is a story that takes on our love of fiction and examines how much we invest in a good book. It also has tremendous fun with storytelling and manages to get some rhyming couplets in there as well. You just won't believe it!
It's been good to have the old companions back. They do excellent 'Companion Chronicles' but getting them involved in the ongoing story is even more fun. Giving the 'retired' companions a voice - sometimes raised in protest - makes us ponder on how quickly we forget the Doctors and their companions as we chew them up and move onto the next.
Whilst the discarded Doctors and regular rotation of companions has allowed the continuous re-invention of the show, this story shows up how fickle we all our in our constant demand for new stories and new characters. Echoing a line in the recent TV 'Doctor Who', 'In the end, we are all just stories', the third episode reaches a dramatic conclusion and leaves us bereft all over again. Just don't expect a happy ending.
There are heartfelt reunions, thrilling encounters, battles and a vampire all wrapped up in a flight of fancy hardcover that takes its inspiration from the original 1960s Doctor Who story 'The Mind Robber'. For those who recall the original, it's a chance for a little wallow in nostalgia and for those who don't, you can now get it on DVD.
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