You wouldn’t know that this was actually Jenny Colgan’s first audio adventure (others have come out previously but were written subsequently, in a suitably timey-wimey way) – there’s the very odd moment of unnecessary description, but of the three stories in the box set, this is the one that uses the audio medium the best. The effects of the Time Reaver could have been a hard sell (on TV chances are a director would go for the obvious – you’d just slow everything down in a Matrix-y sort of way), but there’s a clever combination of scripting and audio treatment that does the trick – nice work from Colgan, director Nick Briggs and sound designer Howard Carter.
Colgan perhaps spends a bit more time with Donna than the Doctor, but that’s no bad thing – she has a clear handle on not just what makes the relationship between the two of them tick, but what motivates Donna. As she does in the novel In the Blood, out at the same time (and linked to this story), Colgan gives us a Donna who’s definitely learned from her time with the Doctor but still has elements of the Chiswick temp she used to be.
She also gives us an interesting new adversary who sounds a bit Sil-like, but is actually an octopoid creature with plenty of nefarious intent. John Banks sounds like he’s having far too much fun as Gully, and there are strong performances once again from all the guest cast – particularly given that they’re dealing with David Tennant on fire as the Doctor as his righteous anger explodes.
Verdict: An insightful and highly enjoyable tale. 9/10
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