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Dr Who: The Companion Chronicle: Night's Black Agents by Marty Ross

1/8/2010. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Dr Who: The Companion Chronicle: Night's Black Agents in the USA - or Buy Dr Who: The Companion Chronicle: Night's Black Agents in the UK

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pub: Big Finish. 1 CD 60 minute story with extras. Price: CD: 8.99, Download: 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-467-2). cast: Frazer Hines and Hugh Ross

check out web site www.BigFinish.com

Fleeing from the City of Spires, Jamie McCrimmon reflects on his choice of companion. They are heading back to where the Doctor's strange blue box known as the TARDIS is located. The Doctor says they need it to escape but Jamie can't see the point of the enormous blue crate. Then they find a dying Redcoat who warns them of the danger from the Kelpie, an enormous horse made of water. But that's a myth, isn't it?

As the pair continue to trace the TARDIS' tracks, they hear someone quoting lines of poetry and it sounds like an invocation. Soon they are fleeing from the not so mystical water horse only to be rescued by a mysterious, twisted clergyman. He is now the laird of the local estate, Ravenswood, on the edge of Lammermoor, due to a fortuitous series of accidents which befell the previous incumbents. Reverend Merodach reluctantly takes them in, where they meet the lovely lady of the house, Lucy, who seems to have been entranced into marriage with the devilish vicar.



Soon, the Doctor is incarcerated and Jamie finds where his true loyalty lies. How can he help the beautiful Lucy and find the secret at the heart of Lammermoor?

There are black deeds afoot in this surprisingly reflective piece. James McCrimmon is in fine form and this is more than a talking book. Once again we get a sharp two-hander with Hugh Ross playing the spooky Reverend Merodach. This directly follows the 'City Of Spires' story and leads into 'Wreck Of The Titan'. With just the two actors, it falls between an audio book and a full audio play and, as always, Big Finish like to play around with the format. Fraser Hines recreates his Jamie character very well and the passing years are merely incidental. It is a spirited and energetic piece which allows Jamie to reflect on his travels which, of course, he doesn't remember. His loyalty to a man he doesn't even remember is also addressed as he is besieged by the Reverend and his wife to change sides.

There is a great, dramatic conclusion with a real air of menace and the whiff of brimstone. There is also a coda by Jamie McCrimmon which left me with a lump in my throat.

What fun this is! There are clues, too, as to what is going to happen in the next instalment, 'Legend Of The Cybermen'. This 'Companion Chronicle' adds greatly to the enjoyment of the trilogy. Once again this is one to re-listen to after the trilogy, so you can go, 'Oh yeah!' I even strangely dig the 1980s theme tune. I need to get out more. Probably without my ipod.

The ten minute extras consist of a bottle of reasonably priced bottle of bubbly and a chat with the team of director Lisa Bowerman, Fraser Hines, Hugh Ross with producer David Richardson. They obviously had a ball making it and shows through the recording. There is real passion in the lines and Marty Ross has put a serious amount of thought into the script and lots of words which despite the quantity leap out of the speakers and wrap you up in the story. Fantastic. I want Jamie McCrimmon on my Satnav. He knows where he's going.

Sue Davies

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