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Doctor Who: Lucie Miller by Nicholas Briggs

1/04/2011. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Doctor Who: Lucie Miller in the USA - or Buy Doctor Who: Lucie Miller in the UK

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pub: Big Finish. 1 CD 60 minute story and extras. Price CD: GBP 10.99 (UK). Download: GBP 8.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-502-0) cast: Paul McGann, Sheridan Smith, Niky Wardley, Graeme Garden, Carole Ann Ford, Jake McGann, John Banks and Nicholas Briggs

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The plague has come to the world and Lucie Miller (Sheridan Smith) has it. There is darkness at the heart of her narrative as she pleads for her life to the absent Doctor (Paulk McGann). She relates her tale of illness, despair and love never knowing if it will ever be heard.

This is Lucie’s story, at the darkest of times. She’s been travelling with the Doctor’s great-grandson, Alex (Jake McGann) and they are in Thailand when she is struck down by a virus. But it’s not just Lucie but the whole world that is falling down. Many more people die but Alex nurses Lucie while he tries to contact his mother Susan Foreman (Carole Ann Ford) in the hope that she can help them to a safe place.

Soon no one will be safe, because the Daleks are coming. Susan’s seen it all before but this time the Daleks encounter no resistance because the Doctor isn’t coming to help.

‘Lucie Miller’ is the story of the fight against the overwhelming odds. It is the story of despair, comradeship and hope. Written and directed by Nicholas Briggs, this is part one of two which take us to the end of the fourth series of the Eighth Doctor’s adventures with Big Finish. This is the culmination of much planning and plotting. This is the beginning of the end of Earth.

I was absolutely gripped by this production. It is very much held together by the stunning performance of Sheridan Smith as Lucie Miller who creates the very intense atmosphere with just her performance. She does a lot of narrating in this which is entirely appropriate to the events she is recounting. I had a lump in my throat quite a lot of the time. She really nails the move from the carefree Lucie to the damaged full-on resistance fighter.

To make things even murkier, the Monk (Graham Garden) has returned although it’s not certain what he is doing on Earth at first. He is still seeing the bigger picture but getting mixed up in his own machinations. Tamsin (Niky Wardley) is with him but is starting to question just exactly what he is doing helping the Daleks.

Lucie’s role leaves a little room for the other actors to fill in the narrative gaps and they do a good job in support. It really is her show and Briggs’s writing is exceptional here, too. The pace is fast and almost breathless as we witness the fall of the Earth to the Daleks. It brings to mind ‘The War Of The Worlds’ but also has its roots in the early episodes and film of the 1960s, although this conquest is altogether dirtier and darker than that could ever be. Briggs is writing here with a foot in the worlds of the old and the new TV ‘Doctor Who’, where there are significant body counts of people Lucie cares about, enough to dent our own complacency.

There is some good input from Nick Briggs on the extras and no spoilers for the final episode. It’s one big love-in from the cast which presumably is one of the reasons it sounds so cohesive. As ever the sound production, music and Daleks all pull it together and enhance the tension.

This is part one to be completed in ‘To The Death’. The era of the Eighth Doctor is also coming to an end as he will become part of the monthly series from now on. This is a time of great change for the Doctor. Somehow I doubt he will ever be the same again.

Sue Davies

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