Catherine Tate makes her return to Doctor Who three years after her brief appearance in The End of Time with a story that gives her a chance to demonstrate multiple different voices. In addition to her natural tones as the narrator, she falls back into Donna’s strident ‘don’t mess with me, spaceman’ attitude, as well as getting David Tennant’s Estuary English Doctor – even getting the pathos of his ‘sorry’ line with his inflections. Her Matt Smith isn’t the most polished we’ve had in this series, but it’s clear who it’s meant to be.
Darren Jones’ script has assorted twists and turns, separating the Doctor and Donna for a good part of the time, giving Tate the chance to express the temp from Chiswick’s… discomfort, shall we say, at what she has to do in order to stay safe along the way. Duncan Wisbey provides sterling support in a couple of roles.
There’s quite a high level of horror in this piece, reminding me at times of Tennant’s Christmas story Voyage of the Damned (there are some structural similarities as well). It’s definitely one where the only guaranteed survivors are the Doctor and Donna, which makes it all the more interesting. What isn’t in this, which I had expected, was some degree of set-up for the finale.
Verdict: Great to hear Tate back (and her comment at the BFI that she’d be up for more audio adventures can only be a good thing) in an entertaining tale. 7/10