Doctor WhoMusic/Audio

Doctor Who: London, 1965 by Paul Magrs (CD review).

We’ve often wondered what happened to Barbara and Ian when they managed to get back home. They’d had amazing adventures and been subjected to violence and harm on numerous occasions but even the delights of the Swinging Sixties couldn’t possibly compete with the adventures.

They return nearly two years after they’ve departed with somewhat of a reputation. Their jobs are long gone and people think they ran away together. Surprisingly, Ian’s landlady has kept his room for him but is demanding the back rent. Barbara, meanwhile, is taken in by a friend from the British Museum. They still have hopes and dreams but they seem unable to reconcile this with their adventuring.

Barbara is particularly interested in the Aztec exhibits in the British Museum and her friend Angela is intrigued by her dreams and recollections. Meanwhile, Ian starts to write an account of their adventures in time and space and attracts the attention of a TV producer. What could possibly go wrong?

This is a great trippy story entirely suited to the 1960s we all imagine to be a sea of unlicensed drugs and polyester mini-skirts. I’m sure the reality was more ‘Call The Midwife’ than this tale of unfettered young people who sadly despite their youth seem to have bypassed the freedoms supposedly offered and lurched straight into middle age.

Writer Paul Magrs whips it up into a delightful frenzy that would only have been improved by adding some Angel Delight. He conveys the dreary life of living in ‘digs’ where the only privacy in a small, badly furnished room. The shared experience of Ian and Barbara seems to drive them apart as they realise they cannot tell friends about the real reason for their absence. It’s a little contrived in places and any family are notably absent as having them involved would have caused a slowdown in the plot.

‘London, 1965’ tries hard to be the Beatles and the psychedelic ending at least offers our fab pair a more free-flowing life and, hopefully, they will head off into the sunset to glue themselves to nuclear bases.

Sue Davies

May 2022

(pub: BBC Physical Audio/Penguin, 2022. 70 minutes. Price: £11.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-52913-757-6)

read by Jamie Glover

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