Leela’s soul has been reborn and now regales Emily, the child in whom she resides, with tales of her travels with the Doctor…
As if something as minor as death could stop Louise Jameson’s Leela from continuing to be part of the Doctor Who universe! Nigel Fairs, who charted Leela’s final days in previous Companion Chronicles, now writes and directs this new start for the wise warrior woman.
The format takes a little bit of getting used to, particularly when Emily picks up the story mid-sentence. We start to get a picture of who the young girl is as the story progresses – there doesn’t seem to be any correlation between when Leela died and when she is reincarnated, so don’t expect this to be on some future Earth necessarily – and Leela has the opportunity to guide her, in much the same way that the Doctor did her. It’s a neat piece of reversal of roles, and suits Jameson (and as the CD extras reveal, it’s highly appropriate for the two actors involved).
It does feel slightly odd, after seven new stories featuring Tom Baker and Jameson together, to hear the actress voicing the Doctor’s role once more, but that’s nothing compared to what’s asked of the actors in the second episode. No spoilers, but I am surprised that Big Finish hasn’t gone down this route more often (mild clue: it’s something that, if I remember rightly, Paul Cornell started in the novels way back in Timewyrm: Revelation for those of you with too-long memories).
Verdict: An appropriate tale to listen to on the turn of the year, as old things are re-imagined for new challenges. 8/10