James Goss provides the first part of this interlinked series of adventures from BBC Audio set (given one of the passing references) after Last Christmas when the 12th Doctor and Clara are off travelling around the universe. The first part of the story heavily features eight year old Diana Winter, with whom – of course – Clara develops a rapport, while the Doctor continues to not get the whole child thing. (His lecture to Diana about what the worst day of her life could be is brilliantly unsuitable for a child of that age – but an older character gives the Doctor as good as she gets on that score.) And when you discover what it is that Diana needs the Doctor to do, you’ll probably be laughing, not just at the situation but how you know this incarnation is going to react – and you won’t be disappointed. There’s a wonderful line about the Doctor’s eyebrows among many other spot-on descriptions.
It’s a serious story at its heart though as the Doctor and Clara help Diana and those around her with the alien Golhearn. Goss has nailed what sets this incarnation apart from his predecessors and there are plenty of moments in this that you’d love to see Peter Capaldi perform, not least the way he hitches a lift on the Golhearn homeworld.
Clare Higgins gives us a distinctive Doctor and Clara, as well as a range of voices for the other characters; David Darlington’s sound design gives the story the big budget feel that it needs, and treats the alien voices sufficiently without making it difficult to comprehend them.
Verdict: A good start to this quartet of tales. 8/10