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Bernice Summerfield and the Criminal Code
on 11 November 2015
This is one of the Companion Chronicles range by Big Finish, and features the intrepid archaeologist (among other things) Bernice Summerfield. In this story, Benny narrates and performs the majority of the story, with a small part played by Charlie Hayes (interestingly, the daughter of Wendy Padbury, who played the Second Doctor’s companion Zoe).
Lisa Bowerman really ‘is’ Benny Summerfield, and she has inhabited the character for so long you can’t imagine anyone else ever attempting it. And she plays Benny perfectly in this story, which features the Seventh Doctor attempting to broker a peace settlement on the planet Shanquis. The Doctor is feeling the stress of the situation, and Benny finds something to entertain herself at an archaeology conference; the story of a Shanquin ‘forbidden language’ intrigues her greatly …
This is a story which seems to start off as one thing, and somewhere towards the end it morphed into something quite different; unfortunately, it didn’t do it totally satisfactorily for my liking, and ended up being a bit of a muddle – too many things in too short a space. The story itself therefore is not great; but it stays relatively high in my overall enjoyment levels because of the great performance of Lisa Bowerman, and the totally in-character portrayal of Benny. The cd is rounded off with an interesting talk with Lisa Bowerman and Charlie Hayes, talking with John Ainsworth, the Director.