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Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
7
Ghost in the Machine (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles)
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£5.77+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 7 August 2015
Featuring: The 3rd Doctor and Jo Grant, performed by Katy Manning and Damian Lynch as Benjamin Chikoto
Stand alone? : Yes

The TARDIS has landed in a very dark destination. The Doctor is gone and Jo Grant exits the TARDIS only to find him in some sort of coma. As she wonders around she soon realizes that there may be something lurking in the darkness, the reality of which is so much more sinister than it first appears.
Jonathan Morris has created an eerie and atmospheric two part companion chronicle, which quickly becomes skin crawling creepy. It’s a full cast drama rather than a narrated one, however with the Doctor temporarily out of the picture it pretty much consists of Jo Grant talking to herself about her surroundings at first. Therefore the idea of having Jo record the events on the TARDIS log was a very good idea. Old research bases with experiments gone terribly wrong always make for a good ghost story and the concepts in this one are some of the best I’ve heard on big finish.

I’ve never listened to Katy Manning on audio before but it became clear to me as I did just how talented at voice acting she is. The way she delivers the lines and changes her voice is spot on.
Jo Grant may not be the brightest crayon in the pack but my god is she one of the bravest.
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on 16 March 2015
This companion chronicles release is slightly different from the others because it had no narration and is happening present tense. This is one of the best audios I have ever listened to simply because it is very tense and frightening.

Katy Manning's portrayal of Jo Grant is played really well as well as her impersonation of Pertwee. In this story we deal with an enemy we can kind of all relate to, but you must listen to it to find out. Once again, a brilliant story and enjoyable listen to.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 19 September 2016
This is one of the series of Companion Chronicles (the fourth story in the eighth 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, written by Jonathan Morris features a story set in the time of the Third Doctor, with his companion Jo Grant.

The story is told by Jo as it unfolds, not from the perspective of a past event, so it is quite unusual in that way. It is quite unusual in several other ways, which we discover as the story narrative progresses. Jo and the Doctor are travelling in the Tardis, and when Jo can’t find the Doctor after the Tardis lands, she heads out to wherever they are, to see what she can see. As she travels through the unfamiliar environment, she tells us what she sees and finds. When she finds the Doctor, her troubles are far from over, as she tries to work out what’s happened to him, what he would expect her to do, and what she must do now to save them both. All she has to work with is the ship’s log recorder, and the note – ‘Use Me’.

This is an extremely clever story. The idea of the Doctor being incapacitated, and Jo having the ship’s log recorder has been used in a classic Third Doctor story on tv (Planet of the Daleks), but this familiar idea is by no means an easy way out for the writer of the story. Instead, what we get is a really complex narrative, which,as it unfolds, reveals itself layer by layer; we only find out as Jo does what she’s really up against. How she can ever hope to find her way back to safety, and to save the Doctor as well, is a real mystery to the listener all the way through. A real edge-of-the-seat story, where we don’t know from one moment to the next how this will be resolved, and a great listen from beginning to end.

Katy Manning does a great job as the young Jo, and as the voices of the other characters that she is called upon to use in the story. She is ably supported throughout by Damian Lynch as Benjamin Chikoto.
One person found this helpful
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 19 September 2016
This is one of the series of Companion Chronicles (the fourth story in the eighth 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, written by Jonathan Morris features a story set in the time of the Third Doctor, with his companion Jo Grant.

The story is told by Jo as it unfolds, not from the perspective of a past event, so it is quite unusual in that way. It is quite unusual in several other ways, which we discover as the story narrative progresses. Jo and the Doctor are travelling in the Tardis, and when Jo can’t find the Doctor after the Tardis lands, she heads out to wherever they are, to see what she can see. As she travels through the unfamiliar environment, she tells us what she sees and finds. When she finds the Doctor, her troubles are far from over, as she tries to work out what’s happened to him, what he would expect her to do, and what she must do now to save them both. All she has to work with is the ship’s log recorder, and the note – ‘Use Me’.

This is an extremely clever story. The idea of the Doctor being incapacitated, and Jo having the ship’s log recorder has been used in a classic Third Doctor story on tv (Planet of the Daleks), but this familiar idea is by no means an easy way out for the writer of the story. Instead, what we get is a really complex narrative, which,as it unfolds, reveals itself layer by layer; we only find out as Jo does what she’s really up against. How she can ever hope to find her way back to safety, and to save the Doctor as well, is a real mystery to the listener all the way through. A real edge-of-the-seat story, where we don’t know from one moment to the next how this will be resolved, and a great listen from beginning to end.

Katy Manning does a great job as the young Jo, and as the voices of the other characters that she is called upon to use in the story. She is ably supported throughout by Damian Lynch as Benjamin Chikoto.
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on 15 November 2015
'Ghost in the Machine', is an odd little story. It's good, but for me it gets off to a shaky start. The Doctor is out cold and has left the Tardis log with a note that just says, "Use me." This means Jo spends the first ten minutes, or thereabouts, talking to herself. Once we get past all this and there is a proper reason for Jo doing this the story begins to pick up speed. I couldn't help thinking of 'Whispers of Terror' while I was listening to this, but thankfully this isn't just a rehash, and if you can forgive the first ten minutes this you will be paid back with a very enjoyable tale.

One of the good things about this is the acting. It's just Damian Lynch, who puts in a very good turn, and Katy Manning who plays a duel role and who gives the best performance I have heard from her. I was surprised to note that Louise Jameson directed this, but something about this trio worked, and did so really well. Another enjoyable aspect was the soundtrack. No real music but filled with constant creaking and breathing in the background, it helped create a claustrophobic and eerie presence.

Looking back on it, I think having Jo start this tale on her own was probably a wise move, rather than having the Doctor chat with her and pass out early on because it helped establish Jo as an isolated figure who was forced to go outside of the Tardis. I am not sure I will listen to it again in a hurry as it relies on surprise, and once you know what's going to unfold and how then I imagine it takes the shine off somewhat, but as I said, well-acted with a fresh, creative story which was a joy to listen to.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 10 November 2013
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 adventure for their character.

They do all the voices save one, which is performed by a guest actor.

The stories are usually complete in two parts, of twenty five to thirty minutes each, and come on a single cd.

This one sees Katy Manning return again to the role of Jo Grant, whom she played opposite Jon Pertwee's Doctor back in the 1970's.

The two episodes both run for just over thirty one minutes [approx].

The story sees Jo come into the TARDIS console room. Only to find no sign of the Doctor. Outside the doors, she fins herself in a place where something terrible has clearly happened. And a log recorder, with the words 'Use me' on it.

As she records her investigation into the place, and her hunt for the Doctor, onto the recorder, she slowly becomes aware of something very dangerous lurking in the shadows. And of something that isn't quite right...

It takes a moment or two at the beginning to get used to Jo talking to herself, but it does feel in character. And when she has the recorder, it then works perfectly.

This grips from the beginning, though, because you are as much in the dark as Jo is as to what is going on. Her investigations and the gradual unfolding of the truth are involving because of that.

The episode is a long one simply because the nature of the threat is gradually revealed, via a few moments that might make you go 'oh! hang on a minute!'. All this is subtly done and unsettlingly scary because of that. Once you do realise the full horror of the situation, it does make for a very effective cliffhanger.

How things are resolved in part two is decidedly clever. With some superbly original ideas. You do need to concentrate fully on the episode as there's some clever stuff going on. But that makes it all the more worthwhile.

Scary, clever and very original, it's an excellent release. And well worth a listen.

There's a trailer for the next release in this range on the track after the end of part two.

And just over ten minutes of interviews with cast and crew on the two tracks after that.
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on 14 March 2015
Great Companion Chronicle that typifies why these can be both a story about a "companion" and a "companion" product to television Doctor Who.

It is the nearest you can get to believing you have a full cast drama with only two people because the claustrophobic feel of the story and Manning's vocal versatility do not leave a gap in the dramatic construct.

I am impressed here and other products that Manning does at how well she can capture Pertwee's Doctor - an older person of the opposite gender.

I never want to give spoilers about the plot but this is a story about a media/medium (sufficiently ambiguous). There are some nice concepts about the medium that bizarrely only gets done on audio occasionally when it could probably be done more.

There is little to this story but all of it is resourcefully used which makes great writing. Some of the narrative is Jo Grant talking to herself, and of all the companions, Grant is the most likely to do this.

If there was one slight weakness, in an otherwise perfect product, it will be in the latter part where some listeners might lose track of where the characters have been displaced to, but that is a minor quibble - here I was fully engaged with the narrator, and other narrators have me lose interest in the story and then I cannot track it which is far worse.

Ghost in the Machine really ticks all the boxes for my interpretation of the Companion Chronicles. I would recommend this to anyone wishing to explore what Doctor Who can be like on audio. It represents the range very well, captures the essence of the 70's third Doctor era and explores the audio medium to great advantage.
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