All of the stories in this first collection capture the feel of this era of Doctor Who, but James Goss’s finale also completely gets the “turn on a sixpence/dime” emotional writing that Russell T Davies brought to the series. It’s aided by David Tennant and Catherine Tate’s best performances, and sterling work from Alice Krige, Beth Chalmers and Blake Ritson as the inhabitants of the out-of-the-way kingdom that has had peace for 500 years… for a damn good reason. Alan Cox’s Death seems to speak the dialogue in the small capitals that we’ve come to associate with the representative of all that…er… isn’t… since the debut of Discworld, which leads to some cracking scenes with Tate.
It’s one of those stories that there are times that you really can’t see how it’s going to get to the ending it has to have (the Doctor and Donna departing for further adventures), and there’s plenty of comedy, pathos and character development for both Time Lord and companion along the way. The difference between the Donna Noble of The Runaway Bride and now is something that is central to the resolution, and it makes her eventual fate all the more painful now we know yet more of what she was prepared to do during her time with the Doctor.
Let’s hope that producer David Richardson can work more miracles and get Tennant and Tate (or indeed Tenant and Freema Agyeman or Billie Piper or even Michelle Ryan reprising Lady Christina!) back in the studio before too long. I suspect that these stories will attract people to Big Finish, and they’ll be begging for more!
Verdict: The best kept for last. 10/10
Go to www.bigfinish.com to order these stories