Doctor WhoMusic/Audio

Doctor Who: Stranded 2 by Lisa McMullin Roy Gill Matt Fitton and John Dorney (audio review).

This second instalment of the ‘Stranded’ is four more stories about the Eighth Doctor, Liv and Helen as they live their lives in the Baker Street house in 2020. The stories incorporate a range of additional companions all of whom are the Doctor’s lodgers.

2.1: Dead Time by Matt Fitton

‘I didn’t want a scout troupe.’

With the unexpected conclusion to the last four stories the Doctor (Paul McGann) seeks to take the healing TARDIS to the future to investigate. It turns out that the TARDIS needs to be bigger on the inside as the Doctor takes far more passengers than usual. There’s a catch this is more like the HG Wells time machine and they find they can’t control its trajectory and it can only travel in time not space. The TARDIS always has her own mind but is the mind fractured too far? They’ve gone into the future where nothing is left and there may not be a way home.

Stowaway Robin (Joel James Davison) is fed up of being young and unimportant and, of course, he gets into trouble. Tania (Rebecca Root) finds out more about the Doctor and wonders, as she witnesses the end of time, whether there is a future for her and Liv (Nicola Walker). Sergeant Andy (Tom Price) is mostly comic relief except when he is reeling from future shock. On some occasions, he’s not himself at all.

This is an odd one. It is very much walk through the quarry with me and contemplate our existence. There is more beneath the surface and of Earth, too, and it does set up a new a TARDIS escape that probably can’t be justified by any science but then neither can the TARDIS.

2.2: UNIT Dating by Roy Gill

‘I’ve got good reasons not to trust Doctors.’

A blast from the past for fans, the cover of ‘Stranded 2’ gives away that the Brigadier is featured when they travel to the 1960s. Here he is played by Jon Culshaw. The Doctor takes Sergeant Andy see if the TARDIS works in reverse but he’s crossing his own timeline to get to UNIT and he will meet squaddy Ron Winters (Oscar Batterham) and lab assistant Tony Clare( Ewan Goddard).

Meanwhile, in 2020, Helen attempts to explain the recent events to Ron (David Shaw-Parker) and Tony (Jeremy Clyde) but is struck by Tony’s vagueness. There is something Ron wants to tell her but first she needs to get Liv to talk to Tony and memories are funny things when the past is changing. It seems the past is fragile and relationships hang by a thread. The Doctor might be about to destroy something good with his interference, although it’s Sergeant Andy that blunders into matchmaking.

This is a great timey-wimey story that throws all the balls in the air and sends them spinning to the past and future. It’s quite an emotional ride, too, as we witness Tony’s potential dementia and Ron trying to come to terms with change. It also looks at their bond as it develops in 1970s UNIT. The story sheds a new light on the Brigadier and the Doctor’s on-going friendship.

2.3: Baker Street Irregulars by Lisa McMullin

‘Does the good you do outweigh the damage?’

The street is cordoned off by an unexploded bomb and the Doctor is keen to get the sisters Zakia (Avita Jay) and Aisha (Amina Zia) on side by taking them for a trip in the TARDIS.

It seems that their grandmother had a secret life and this also centred on Baker Street. A simple trip inevitably results in putting their existence in jeopardy and there are unexpected truths that emerge. Meanwhile, Tania and Liv discuss whether to get a cat and how to defuse a bomb. I like the way the story manages to incorporate some relationship developments and I’m relieved about the cat.

2.4: The Long Way Round by John Dorney

This bottle episode is as close as it could get to representing how we have all felt during lockdown. The companions re-split from each other and individually interrogated and we are unsure what the interrogator’s motive is.

This will either intrigue you or annoy you. Nothing happens, everything happens. By the end of it, there is a little enlightenment but it also sets up a big mystery for ‘Stranded 3’.

Out of the four stories, I really loved ‘UNIT Dating’ the most. It incorporates much of what makes both classic Who and new Who so appealing. I loved Jon Culshaw being the Brigadier and I’m open to more of this. The story set in two time periods was poignant and moving. We learn more about the companions and the lodgers revealing that Ron and Tony have led a much more interesting life than we might have believed.

Tom Baker appears sporadically as the mysterious Curator. His true purpose is as yet unclear and I’m sure he will be back again. His rich voice adds import to everything he says. Who doesn’t wish there really was an under gallery in Trafalgar Square?

The four stories highlight how each person has something to offer but the core team and I’m including Andy in this are at the heart of the TARDIS adventures. I look forward to more.

Sue Davies

March 2021

(pub: Big Finish, 2021. 4 CDs 293 minutes. Price: £24.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-83868-167-8. Download: Price; £19.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-83868-168-5)

cast: Paul McGann, Nicola Walker, Hattie Morahan, Rebecca Root, Tom Price, Tom Baker, Oscar Batterham, Stewart Clarke, Jeremy Clyde, Jon Culshaw, Joel James Davison, Annabelle Dowler, Ewan Goddard, Avita Jay, Anjli Mohindra, David Shaw-Parker, Homer Todiwala, Venice Van Someren and Amina Zia

check out website: https://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/doctor-who-stranded-2-2170

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