Doctor WhoMusic/Audio

Doctor Who – The Companion Chronicles: Upstairs by Mat Coward (CD review).

‘Upstairs’ sees the return of Steven and Vicki with the First Doctor in a joint venture ‘Companion Chronicle’ with Maureen O’Brien taking the main parts with help from Peter Purves. An earthbound adventure, this might be but there is something peculiar lurking in the attic of 10 Downing Street and the three adventurers must keep their wits as they stumble through the upper floor of the seat of British power.


The Doctor, Vicki and Steven arrive in the TARDIS in what appears to be an attic. As they look around, it becomes increasingly clear that something has disturbed the boundaries of space and time and they find they are trapped within its confines.

This would have had its tongue firmly in cheek if Jean Marsh could have been Sara Kingdom, given her past association with the TV series ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’. Written by Matt Coward, ‘Upstairs’ is a tight claustrophobic mystery that keeps the secret as long as possible, which is probably why the actual ending seems incidental to the plot. The problem with the knowledge that the Doctor and his companions will always escape in an audio makes the tension building that much harder but still it’s enjoyable listening to the story as perceived by Vicki, one of the Doctor’s youngest companions. Maureen O’Brien also does the First Doctor’s lines and it was a surprise to hear a different take on this as Peter Purves has done this so many times, we are used to his almost channelling the Doctor.

This is Mat Coward’s first ‘Doctor Who’ story for Big Finish. In his other incarnation, he is one of the QI Elves and has written a series of murder mysteries. He obviously had fun with the format and the character of Vicki comes across well in this audio and I’m sure he will come up with another wacky idea to add to the zillions that now reside in the vaults of Big Finish.

Sue Davies

October 2013

(pub: Big Finish. 1 CD 60 minute story. Price: CD: £ 8.99 (UK), Download: £ 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78178-085-5)
cast: Maureen O’Brien and Peter Purves
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