Latest audio in the current batch of audio plays that feature Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor Who.
Whilst this one is relatively self contained the twists and turns of the season so far do mean that if you're following it in order you may not want to read this review till after you've heard the previous story.
But if you're happy to read on...
The Doctor owes Lucie a good christmas. And what do you do at christmas? You have the relatives round. So he's invited his granddaughter Susan and Alex his great grandson along as well. This does tie into some previous audios but you don't need to have heard those to hear this.
This isn't a two parter as usual. It's one fifty six minute long episode on a single cd.
It begins with some great character moments as the Doctor and Lucie prepare for christmas dinner and present giving, happy to get to do that without any alien invasions to contend with. When the guests arrive people bond, old issues come up, individuals consider their future, and danger awaits in the depths of the TARDIS. Because of something that Susan and the Doctor did long ago....
The danger allows for some great TARDIS scenes and a few great continuity references, and shows us bits of the ship never mentioned before. It also uses the concept of a time machine in a clever. And just like another more recent christmas special there's also a flying fish. But the timings means that's a complete coincidence.
The problems are all of course resolved, but they're not the heart of the story. It's all about character. And a few life decisions are made by the end. Resulting in a final few minutes that might bring a tear to your eye. And make you smile at the same time. And long term fans will be amused by the final lines, which are a clever homage to...well, you'll know what I mean when you hear it.
A lovely little drama and a great reminder of all that's best about the show and it's main character, this is a perfect production. There's also some great christmassy music and songs from a real choir, which all adds to the atmosphere very nicely.
The trailer for the next release in the season can be found after the end theme music.
There's fifteen minutes or so of interviews with cast and crew after that.
The Doctor's granddaughter and great-grandson return in this story, as the Doctor fulfils a promise to Lucie to have a proper Christmas. So he invites his family to join them. While Susan is happy to share fond memories and stories of the past, Alex is inclined to think his newly found great-grandfather is a bit `barking'.
But while they're in the Tardis, things start to go bump in the night.
This story is strongest, not in the plot, which is fairly humdrum, but in the characterisations and in the `fond memories'. It works well for me in that I can remember fondly the `classic' Doctor Who with the Tardis and with Susan and the earlier companions - the Doctor keeping a holding area of all the previous companions' rooms is part of what makes the Doctor just who he is. The Doctor seems somewhat sad and melancholy in this story when he's not struggling against the events that threaten them in the Tardis - and at the end he seems to be alone, once again. Or is he?
This is recommended best for someone who knows Doctor Who from old - someone who is keen to find out where Susan and her family are at, and to be more introspective with the Doctor, rather than a man of action. Highly recommended.