Andrew Smith’s lively story has some moments of real nastiness in it – which I guess fit elements of the period in which it’s set, although the Doctor’s reaction is markedly at odds to the way that he might have been on screen. There are some thought-provoking ideas at its heart, and its theme (or one of them anyway) about parents needing to let go will strike a chord with many listeners. The final sequence (which brought to mind the Doctor and Xoanaon at the end of The Face of Evil) gives both listener and Time Lord something to consider, and gives a different perspective on a scene which we’ve got used to seeing out of context.
The Doctor and Flip are separated for a good deal of the story, and Lisa Greenwood takes the opportunity to show us how much young Miss Jackson has progressed during her time with the Doctor. The running theme regarding Peri hopefully is going to be paid off in the not too distant future, and the final comment from the Doctor seems horribly reminiscent of the attitude of Doctor and companion towards the end of David Tennant’s first season towards their future travels – although hopefully it won’t resolve quite so drastically.
Nick Briggs keeps the story moving with a lot of carefully differentiated audioscapes so it’s always clear where we are, even in quickly intercut scenes. His comment that this could almost be a Hartnell story seems to have been meant as a negative but in fact it is one of its strengths: there’s a simplicity to the linear plot that allows the other elements to come forward.
Verdict: Well worth listening to the very first scene again as soon as you’ve completed the whole tale – the way in which you’ll regard it the second time around reflects the many shifts within the whole story. Recommended. 8/10