This latest release from Big Finish is a companion chronicle in more ways than one. As well as being narrated by Carole Anne Ford, it also provides some background for the recent Eighth Doctor tale Relative Dimensions. It’s a rather neat idea, and never fear- the listener doesn’t need to listen to one to enjoy the other.
The other neat thing here is that this is set way back before we had even met Susan and The Doctor in An Unearthly Child. I’m not sure this era has been visited many times before- something tells me that I’d read it was ‘off limits’ for some reason, but I do remember a novella by Kim Newman set there (or should that be 'then'? Or both?).
The ending of this tale dovetails nicely with the beginning of the television series, as we learn why Susan ended up in a school in London in 1963.
But before we get to that, we have this adventure to experience! Like other companion chronicles, this one has a limited cast and is mainly read by Carole Anne Ford, who does a wonderful job in evoking both the characters and the location. The world on which this is set is a great sci-fi location and reminded me of the kind of over the top and wildly imaginative location you get in an Iain M Banks novel.
The story itself is very good, but does not unfold in a wholly unexpected fashion. That being said, there were some plot twists I didn’t see coming to balance out the ones I did.
This really benefits from having Carole Anne Ford reading it though. It’s amazing to hear her play a character she first played half a century ago, and still sound as enthusiastic as she did back then.