Top positive review
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on 22 August 2015
This is the seventh story in the fourth series of the Companion Chronicles. These are stories that tell of an adventure of a past Doctor, usually told by the Doctor’s companion at the time. Unusually, this story is told by two of the First Doctor’s companions, Steven Taylor and Vicki. Also unusually, this story is about 150 minutes long, whereas most of the Companion Chronicles are about 60 minutes (although the back of the cd case that I have of this story does say the story is 60 minutes, this is incorrect).
The story is told first by Steven, and then picked up on the second cd largely by Vicki. As they are separated for part of the story, this is a good way for the listener to be able to piece together the entire story, as they each tell the other the whole story from their own perspective.
The Tardis materialises in a rocky landscape, one which Steven thinks feels and looks like England, Earth. But the Doctor is convinced that the fossil they find is not of Earth, but an alien artefact. When Vicki takes ill, they take her in search of help, and Steven is quite delighted to find that they are, in fact, in England – the Doctor must have been wrong. The year is 1912, and the Suffragette movement is causing social discord, while in the scientific arena the Piltdown Man discovery is causing great discussion.
This is a great story. The historical aspects of the Piltdown discoveries, and the Suffragettes are seamlessly woven into the tale of the Tardis travellers. Both Peter Purves as Steven, and Maureen O’Brien as Vicki perform their roles, the other roles in the story, and the narration wonderfully. Maureen O’Brien doesn’t sound any older than she did when she played Vicki all those years ago, and both actors do perform the idiosyncracies of the First Doctor wonderfully. There are some wonderfully comic moments as well, which any listener will find hugely easy to imagine playing out before them, and rather delightfully entertaining. This is a wonderful Companion Chronicle, and a really great story by Jacqueline Rayner.