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Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles: The Wanderer by Richard Dinnick

01/06/2012. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles: The Wanderer in the USA - or Buy Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles: The Wanderer in the UK

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pub: Big Finish. 1 CDs 60 minute story with extras. Price: CD: 8.99 (UK), Download: 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-621-8). cast: William Russell and Tim Chipping.

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It's always a treat to hear the calm and reassuring tones of Ian Chesterton (William Russell) telling us about another adventure he had with the First Doctor. This time, they meet The Wanderer (Tim Chipping), a strange man who will have his own part to play in history.

When the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan arrive in late 19th Century Russia, they find that a shooting star has been seen overhead. An alien box is poisoning people and soon the Doctor and Susan fall ill leaving Ian to cope with a stranger who shows an unhealthy interest in what the box really does. His name is Grigory and he is a wanderer, too. Ian finds he has much in common with this man, far away from friends and family, alone in a hostile universe.

This is another two-handed play, bigger than the sum of its parts. 'The Wanderer' is a dramatic encounter of the space refugees with another kind of refugee and also a deeper look at relationships, trust and hope.

It empathises once again how good these Big Finish 'Companion Chronicles' can be when unleashed and the aliens are almost incidental in a crowded plot that loops up a Tunguska-like incident with Russian dynastic history and world politics.

'The Wanderer' has a profusion of special effects and is packed full of references to the history of the Doctor and his enemies. You might miss all this on the first run-through and it rewards multiple re-runs. In addition, there is a short interview with the participants at the end, including director Lisa Bowerman and writer Richard Dinnick
If you are an Ian Chesterton fan (and who isn't?), this is another fine example of William Russell's comfort with the part. He also interprets the text and the First Doctor so well, it's as if William Hartnell was in the room. If you want to catch up with Ian's adventures try 'The Transit Of Venus' by Jacqueline Rayner, 'The Rocket Men' by John Dorney and he'll be returning in 'The Time Museum' later this year.

Sue Davies

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