Review: Graceless: Big Finish Audio

The continuing adventures of Abby and Zara, last seen in the Key 2 Time trilogy

Okay, I’ll admit it: I misjudged this series, after listening to the first 20 minutes or so, and thinking that it had really strayed too far from the core of the Big Finish Doctor Who universe. It sounded as if it was going to be a domestic drama, albeit on a space station, with characters who weren’t grabbing me.

Luckily, I gave it a second chance. While I maintain that some of the first story of this box set could have done with some judicious pruning (perhaps for once telling rather than showing!), it turns into a very neat piece of drama, which will definitely appeal to those missing the late and lamented Sapphire and Steel range… including the presence of David Warner in a pivotal role.

Simon Guerrier’s tale range from a gambling den drama to a period mystery (my favourite of the three) to an outer space adventure, with links between the three that mean it’s really one story, told over three CDs, rather than three standalone tales. You don’t need to have heard the Key 2 Time stories in which the characters first appeared to make sense of it – Abby confusingly being called Amy there but you can guess the reasons that changed. There’s enough recap/exposition given to understand what’s motivating both girls.

Director Lisa Bowerman elicits strong performances from both Ciara Janson and Laura Doddington, and they’re supported by a good cast, including Blake’s 7’s Michael Keating, as well as Patricia Brake and Fraser James in a key role.

Verdict: Something a little different from the usual Big Finish fare.  6./10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order Graceless from Big Finish

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