This is one of the companion chronicles series of stories, where stories of travelling with one of the incarnations of the Doctor are told by (usually) one of his companions at the time. In this case, the story is told by Sara Kingdom (played by Jean Marsh). As any Who fan will know, Space Security Agent Sara Kingdom died after only a brief time travelling with the Doctor and Steven. But in the wonderful world of Big Finish, Sara lives on, and the story she tells her to her visitor, Robert (played by Niall MacGregor) is set between episodes seven and eight of The Daleks’ Masterplan tv story.
The companion chronicles stories featuring Sara are excellent – the aspect in which she appears in these stories opposite Robert are wonderfully gothic and enthralling. The world outside, where Robert and his family are existing is evoked for the listener, but it is inside the house, and inside the story told by Sara that the listener finds themselves most deeply involved.
Excellent stuff – a great story, wonderfully written (by Simon Guerrier), wonderfully performed by Jean Marsh and Niall MacGregor, and a great addition to the companion chronicles range.
first in the fourth series of doctor who companion chronicles. these are talking books featuring an actor who played a companion to the doctor in the tv show returning to their role to tell an all new story featuring the character. the format usually has one other actor doing the voice for one supporting character.
this one features jean marsh as sara kingdom, short lived companion to the first doctor back in the 60's. it follows on from earlier release Home Truths (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) but gives enough information that anyone who didn't hear that should be able to get into this.
home truths featured robert, a law enforcement man in a far future britain that has been flooded and has gone low tech and almost feudal. a man of high moral character, very well voiced by guest actor niall macgregor, he found a strange house where sara kingdom lives on. in a manner of speaking.
and without spoilers that's all you need to know to get into this. sara tells him tales of her time with the doctor. and in this story he's back to visit her, because there's one he wants to hear again. the tale of her trip with the doctor to an asteroid being mined by humans. when the rather strange native lifeform of this world fights back, sara is in the middle of a desperate struggle to survive, and is forced to confront a few things about herself.
this story is complete on one disc, containing two episodes both of thirty minutes duration. both have moments set on the alien asteroid and in future britain. in part one the latter is more interesting than the former.
but come part two things come together very well. sara's story gets very exciting, thanks to some excellent sound design. and although it's ultimately nothing desperately original, it's all so very well done that it's an excellent listen. back in future britain we find why robert is so interested in the story. and he's faced with a moral dilemma and a hard choice as a result.
featuring two excellent actors and some great sound design and some very good use of incidental music, this is a very strong start to the latest batch of these. the second episode is stronger than the first, but as a whole it's a highly rewarding listen.
the disc begins with a short trailer for the second in this batch, and ends with a fun and lively six minute long interview with some the cast and crew
For me this Companion Chronicle just doesn't quite work. Having listened to most of it four or five times, I still don't really follow it. I have wasted time I could have been listening to the next 3-4 stories. I know you might think that this reviewer is daft, but I had listened to 6 Companion Chronicles (5.07-5.12) prior to this and fully understood them on just one listen. I also followed the related stories; Home Truths and Guardians of the Solar System.
Despite good sound effects and Marsh's wonderful tones, The Drowned World just doesn't get the story across in the right way as I am sure from the fragments I do follow that the story elements are good. The balance of narration, pace and lack of interaction of other characters are what I believe to be at fault. I feel I need a detailed plot synopsis to piece together my understanding.
Having listened to 32 Companion Chronicles (series 1,2,3 and 5) this is the first story I have not followed. It is probably better suited to textual fiction as some of the scenes are of not particularly interesting action just go too long whereby those words could have been put to better use. I like bits of this but am so frustrated that I cannot follow the complete narrative.
Recommended for 'completists' only because it helps to have some understanding of Sara Kingdom and to have listened to Home Truths (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles), but then most of the Companion Chronicle audience are 'completists.' This story acts as a reminder of how much harder going Companion Chronicles can sometimes be than the top notch monthly full cast audios.