Review: Doctor Who: Big Finish Audio: C.C. 808: The Sleeping City

Sleeping City, The coverWhy are the police so interested in what Ian and Barbara got up to with the Doctor?

Sufficient clues are given during this neat tale by Ian Potter as to what’s going on that you might deduce the answer to the question above before the final revelations, but it’s constructed well enough that you won’t feel that you’re being blindsided if you haven’t. Potter reminds us that the Hartnell era is just one part of the whole Doctor Who tapestry and you may well find yourself wondering whether a sneaky reference to some new-era Who is involved here.

There’s a fun almost fourth-wall breaking moment where Ian Chesterton/William Russell’s versions of his fellow TARDIS travellers have a chance to give him their opinions of his interpretations of them (and it’s as convoluted as that sentence has just become). Potter also ensures that Ian and Barbara don’t understand some of the advanced technology around them, even if Vicki and the Doctor (and we as eavesdroppers) do – it means that for once the audience understands more about what’s going on with the situation than the characters. The solution to what’s going on in Hisk is a little derivative, but given everything else that surrounds it, this can be forgiven.

There are strong performances from both William Russell and John Banks, and director Lisa Bowerman makes sure that we’re always clear exactly what location we’re in – which sometimes isn’t as straightforward as it might seem.

Verdict: Farewell to one of the Companion Chronicle stalwarts, with a suitably 1960s-ish tale. 8/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order The Sleeping City from Big Finish

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