Doctor WhoMusic/Audio

Doctor Who: Charlotte Pollard – The Further Adventures: The Mummy Speaks by Alan Barnes, Lisa McMullin, Eddie Robson and Nicholas Briggs (CD review).

We return to Charlotte Pollard’s early adventures with the Eighth Doctor. Its twenty years since ‘Storm Warning’ launched this dynamic duo and it feels like five minutes ago. Those early adventures still stand up to listening and these new ones have deliberately drawn on those to bring us right back up close to the pair.

The Mummy Speaks! By Alan Barnes

Looking forward to the Belle Époque, Charley (India Fisher) still carefully dressed in a steward’s uniform from the doomed airship the R101 is disconcerted when she’s mistaken for an aristo in boy’s clothes. It seems the timing of the TARDIS is off again and they’ve landed in a period when Madam la Guillotine is still in full swing. Not so Belle then.

Luckily, there’s another intriguing situation is the advertising for an ancient mummy that speaks. Drawn into the mummy’s orbit they are soon running for their lives as its murderous intent is unleashed.

Lots of fun and games here until someone loses an eye-or rather their head. The Doctor (Paul McGann) and Charley enjoy the friendly banter of companions although at this point she’s not always sure he’s going to turn up to save her.

The mummy is suitably sonorous and his keeper a wily one. There is a drop or two of Edgar Allan Poe too so overall lots to enjoy.

Eclipse by Lisa McMullin

If you’re a little bit phobic to moths then this is not the story for you. Lisa is herself, phobic to moths but for reasons unknown even to herself, she decided that her story for the pair should be about giant, man-eating moths on a planet colonised a few years previously.

The Doctor and Charley are once again at odds with the population as they seek to uncover the truth about the moths’ nightly outings which leave the settlers in fear for their lives.

This is a bit of a darker outing for the pair but not for long despite the death and destruction. There’s even a hint of Doctor Doolittle with those giant moths. Interesting but you may end up having some audio nightmares.

The Slaying Of The Writhing Mass by Eddie Robson

Unusually for the Doctor, he finds that the TARDIS has become trapped in a temporal traffic jam. Seeking a quick exit, he attempts to jump the queue which results in an unexpected melding with a timeship containing a rather raucous class of kids who’ve come to view the slaying of the writhing mass which is a set part of every school curriculum on the planet of Leiko.

Mostly played for comedy, we find that the TARDIS has some neat moves in traffic and that school kids are annoying throughout the universe.

Heart of Orion by Nicholas Briggs

In a call back to Sword of Orion, from the original adventures, the pair returns to the Garrazone System, where they had a life-threatening encounter with the Cybermen. No surprise then that the pesky aliens make a return appearance along with a certain android that seems intent on keeping the Orion War going.

The final story feels deeper and darker but still fits with the others. Nice neat use of previous characters and, if you feel like catching up on the original adventures, and why wouldn’t you as they are still available. I listened to ‘Sword Of Orion’ as research and it has endured well also with our brave adventurers.

There’s something reassuring about the pairing of the Eighth Doctor and Charley who seems quite naive and brave compared to her later quite complex issues with both the Sixth and Eighth Doctor. The stories are pure escapism and there are elements of influence from the Universal horror movies to Red Dwarf. I like the Doctor as straight man to Charley’s adventurous Edwardian. They sound like they are having huge fun in these capers and long may it last.

Sue Davies

March 2022

(pub: Big Finish, 2022. 4 CDs 295 minutes 4 stories. Price: £34.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-83868-720-5. CD: Price: £29.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-83868-721-2)

cast: Paul McGann, India Fisher, John Banks, Mark and Cyril Nri

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Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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