I must make a confession here and admit that I’m not altogether familiar with the companions Polly and Ben. I think I’ve only seen one Who adventure with them in (although for all I know, that may be the only one left!). So, with that in mind, I cannot judge Anneke Wills’s performance by comparing it to her previous work, but I can say that it’s rather wonderful. In fact I did the rare thing (for me) of listening to this one again immediately after listening to it for the first time.
Wills does a great job at Patrick Troughton’s Doctor, too. Yes, her voice sounds nothing like his at all… but at the same time, because she has the inflections and phrasing accurate, it works well.
As for the tale itself, it’s a nice meaty one. It is a proper sci-fi adventure with a solid sci-fi concept at the heart of it. The aliens have a great USP too, and one that I don’t recall seeing in a Who tale before, although (as with most good ideas) one that seems obvious for stories of this sort.
The framing device used is quite ingenious- having the older Polly addressing a room full of delegates after a world-wide crisis. It does, however, negate some of the tension in the tale itself, as she has already told us who lives and who dies (or doesn’t).
But, for me at least, the biggest treat was the return of Frazer Hines. Jamie is possibly my favourite Who companion (well, Martha Jones is great too, but for different reasons) so it was an absolute delight to hear him here.