Once again, Big Finish tries a different format with the Companion Chronicles, and overall it’s a success (my one reservation is dealt with below). To all intents and purposes, this isn’t Caroline John “performing” Binary – it’s Caroline John playing Liz Shaw in a full-cast play, Binary.
Eddie Robson’s story is admirably simple in set up: there’s an alien computer, UNIT don’t want the Doctor interfering (for reasons that aren’t particularly important), so Liz is deputed to deal with it. Computers aren’t her forte, so she needs some help, which is forthcoming… to a certain extent anyway.
Some of the twists in the story are neatly based on our knowledge in 2012 of what a computer can and can’t do, and a modern-day level of technology that is way beyond Liz’s – even if she comes from a time of Mars Probes and other such futuristic endeavours. Chances are that the listener will sometimes be ahead of her in realising what is going on – a situation helped by the involvement of the Doctor kept to a minimum.
My only caveat about the play comes with its very final scene which breaks the format – and annoyingly the addition of the single word Brigadier would have solved the problem! That aside, this is a fast-moving, enjoyable tale. 7/10