Doctor Who: Stranded: Volume 1 by Matt Fitton, John Dorney, Lisa McMullin and David K Barnes (CD/download review).

February 27, 2021 | By | Reply More

‘Stranded’ couldn’t be more lockdown if it tried. Released in June 2020, just as the general public of the UK was coming out its enforced isolation and trying out its rather shaky wings it is curiously apposite for our times.

Anyone who was feeling trapped and could only access travel virtually might feel a great affinity to this story of the grounded TARDIS. Following the events of ‘Ravenous 4’, the time team are brought down to Earth with a bang. The TARDIS is now an empty box. They are stuck in 2020.

There’s no UNIT for this earthbound Doctor. He’s not made for the 9 to 5. What will become of him if he can’t adjust?

There are four stories which form a complete arc:-

1.1. Lost Property by Matt Fitton

‘a boxful of stories’

The Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann), Liv Chenka (Nicola Walker) and Helen Sinclair (Hattie Morahan) arrive in London and manage to find the house the Doctor owns in Baker Street. After some initial hiccups, they are able to move into the empty flat. It seems in his absence that Thomas Brewster, who was left in charge, has maximised the income at least at the start by boxing up several flats. Before they can establish true ownership, they initially resort to selling off the contents of the Doctor’s pockets.

Returning to the house one day, Helen is intrigued when a man in the street is interested in the TARDIS. She finds it has become a book swap box and there is still no sign of life in it.

1.2. Wild Animals by John Dorney

‘somewhere with the illusion of freedom’

The Doctor is not on track with fixing the TARDIS and he’s almost lost the plot. Helen thinks he should learn to cook. After all, they have fire insurance, don’t they?

Meanwhile, Liv has a job in the corner shop because someone has to pay for the food and fire insurance. It should be quiet occupation for someone who’s used to being a troubleshooter through time and space. Nothing is that straightforward and events conspire to put the travellers at risk that the Doctor wants to help. That might just be the worst thing to do.

1.3. Must-See TV by Lisa McMullin

do we have a fugitive amongst us? How exciting!’

Sergeant Andy Davidson (Tom Price) is visiting the house in Baker Street. Just why is he so interested in it or its occupants?

There’s a new tenant in the attic. Mr. Bird (Clive Wood) is really useful but the Doctor is a little bit jealous even though he can’t actually bake lemon drizzle cake. The TVs in the house are on the blink. Mr. Bird might just fix those, too.

1.4. Divine Intervention by David K Barnes

A time lord throwing a tantrum, just what we need’

Robin (Alan Cox) is bored and neglected by his parents. Helen tries to take a little bit of the parental responsibility but there is something missing. Can it be that the Divine Intervention group take over from his absent parents? Or is there something more sinister going on? Of course there is, don’t be ridiculous. Meanwhile, the group are all going on a date night which comes as a bit of a surprise to Tania (Rebecca Root) and Liv.

‘Stranded’ makes great use of the location available. Its limited nature actually gives the writers great freedom to create a really intense drama. Instead of one or two companions’ the Doctor finds himself responsible for a whole houseful. That’s a big ask, the scripts have a lot to incorporate without it feeling jammed in. Bad things happen in life and it’s not just about alien intervention, most people don’t have time for that as they need to pay the bills.

But there is plenty of mystery to be unwrapped in what might appear to be everyday life. The message that comes across very strongly through all the alien weirdness, the earthly lockdown, the helplessness, is that life is good, it goes on regardless and sometimes in making the best of it you discover that things can get better. These are truly excellent adventures with some creeping menace alongside some humour focused around a group of people who are used to travelling and solving problems who now have to solve real life.

Production crew and cast interviews are always a part of the Big Finish offer and it’s always good to listen to the origins of stories and characters. Putting the creation process in context is fascinating and listening to the brain leakage of the writers who help meld the storylines together enhances the whole experience.

The interviews also reference that it was recorded just before Christmas, assuming 2019, we didn’t know what was around the corner and how relevant this kind of drama would be to the rest of us staying home. All hail to the continually evolving Big Finish audio drama.

Sue Davies

February 2021

(pub: Big Finish, 2020. 4 CDs 291 minutes. ISBN: 978-1-83868-165-4. Price: CD: £24.99 (UK) Download: Price: £19.99 (UK).ISBN: 978-1-83868-166-1

cast: Paul McGann, Nicola Walker, Hattie Morahan, Rebecca Root, Tom Price, Tom Baker, Aurora Burghart, Jeremy Clyde, Alan Cox, Joel James Davison, Raj Ghatak, Avita Jay, Robert Portal, David Shaw-Parker, Clive Wood and Amina Zia

check out website: https://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/doctor-who-stranded-1-2169

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Category: Doctor Who, Music/Audio

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