This is one of the series of Companion Chronicles (the eighth story in the seventh series). These normally feature a past companion of one of the Doctor’s incarnations, narrating a story from their time with the Doctor, and performing the roles of most of the cast along the way, with usually one other actor playing a key role in the story. This story features main roles being performed and narrated by Frazer Hines (Jamie) and Anneke Wills (Polly). Between them, they also perform the parts of the Second Doctor, as played by Patrick Troughton, and their other companion Ben, as played by Michael Craze. The story was written by Steve Lyons, who also wrote the Companion Chronicle The Selachian Gambit, which this story is set after, and which has the odd reference to made by a character in it.
The story has Polly and Jamie separated at the start from the Doctor and Ben, and the Tardis crew are all in what appears to be a casino, or a gambling den as Jamie understands it. But this casino has a mix of alien creatures in it, and the games played are strange and new to all. While Ben finds himself caught up in the gambling, Polly feels uncomfortable in the alien environment, and Jamie watches all that goes on around them with great interest. But they, and the Doctor, soon find themselves caught up in casino business when alarms are triggered by time travellers – something strictly forbidden in a gambling environment. Surely the Doctor, Polly, Ben and Jamie aren’t doing anything wrong?
I found I had to listen to this story twice to really appreciate it. The first time round, there are quite a lot of breakpoints in the narrative, as the story moves between various threads, both of people, and circumstances, and timeframes. The second time round, it all came together very neatly for me, and I could really appreciate the cleverness with which it has been woven together. A very good Companion Chronicle, and a very good Second Doctor era story, this really plays well on the relationships between the Doctor and his friends travelling with him. All the characters are well written, and the performances by Frazer Hines and Anneke Wills really bring them all to life for the listener.
Latest Doctor Who companion chronicle. These are a range of talking books that see an actor who played a companion to the Doctor on TV return to the role to read an all new story for their character.
They do all the narration and all the voices save one which is done by a guest actor.
They usually are complete stories in two episodes that run for just under thirty minutes each with both on a single cd.
This is another that sees Anneke Wills return to the role of Polly, whom she played alongside both William Hartnell and then Patrick Troughton back in the 1960's. The story features the Second Doctor, Polly, Ben and Jamie. Frazer Hines is the guest actor here, returning to the role of Jamie.
The story sees the Doctor and friends at a casino on an alien world. A place that offers all sorts of games of chance. And danger as well. From vicious robot guard dogs to the Sidewinder syndicate, aliens who dress and act like 1920's gangsters but who have heads like snakes.
The casino also doesn't take very kindly to time travellers. Not least because of the opportunities for cheating that the technology offers gamblers. When the TARDIS crew fall into danger, can they find a way to escape with their lives?
This one does take a little while to get going, but you do slowly get used to the setting and the style of the story. Anneke Wills does some decent narration and an excellent range of voices for other character. Frazer Hines slips back into the Jamie role as effortlessly as he always does. And the aliens of the piece are quite decent creations. They originally appeared in a comic strip story in the magazine Doctor Who Adventures, where they fought the Tenth Doctor. Which for them came before this story. But you get the picture.
The first episode does click come the very good cliffhanger, and then in part two the story does use the idea of time travel to very good effect.
The Doctor is rather sidelined from the action for a while, but he does come into it in the final third. The way things are resolved is very nicely done. But what makes this one especially memorable are two great character scenes at the end. The second of these with live with you for a while.
This is not the greatest release in this range, but it's a good solid story that ably recatures the feel of it's era and it's well worth a listen.
There's a trailer for the next companion chronicle on the track after the end of part two.
And just over seven minutes of interviews with cast and crew on the track after that.