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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 27 December 2014
This is the sixth story in the fifth series of Companion Chronicles, stories told by companions of one or more incarnations of the Doctor, usually with one other supporting cast member.

In this story, Susan, the Doctor’s grand-daughter who travelled with the First Doctor (as played by William Hartnell) is telling the story of when she and her grandfather visited Quinnis, a mysterious planet in the Fourth Universe. She is now an older woman, a widow with a teenage son, and is trying to make some sense of where her life has led her. Reminiscing helps her find her way, and the story she tells us of Quinnis is a ‘coming of age’ story for her, where she finds herself placed in difficult moral and ethical circumstances, and where she fears she may disappoint her beloved grandfather.

I really enjoyed this story. I think the creation of the world of Quinnis was tremendously clever; the world is alien, unique, yet we are able, through the clever writing and heartfelt narrative of Carole Ann Ford as Susan, to ‘view’ this world of bridges, wide plains, a trading society built on traditions and superstitions, and the very alien birds who bring doom. The imagery of the world that we are hearing about was absolutely real to me; I could ‘see’ it all quite clearly.

The tale itself is quite unique as well. Firstly, it is set before the first tv serial An Unearthly Child, and the planet on which the story takes place is referenced in the tv series (in Edge of Destruction, where Susan mentions that they lost the Tardis on Quinnis “four or five journeys ago”). So Susan, in this story, is a young woman who has not yet experienced Earth, nor met Ian and Barbara, nor had all the experiences that go into making her the woman she becomes over the course of her journey in the tv series (and in the Big Finish audio stories after that). She is very protective of her grandfather, and is clearly very dear to him, and this story highlights that relationship strongly. Secondly, because of the timeline that this story takes place in, the Tardis’s chameleon circuit is functional, and it’s funny to hear the shape that it materialises in. Thirdly, the other supporting cast member in this story is Carol Ann Ford’s daughter, Tara-Louise Kaye, who does a fine job as Meedla, an inhabitant of Quinnis. And fourthly, the gift that Susan wants her grandfather to buy for her at the market on Quinnis becomes a problem for her later in the Big Finish audio story Relative Dimensions. All very clever, and I think a great story for any Doctor Who fan to cherish, for many and varied reasons.
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Latest Doctor Who companion chronicle. These are a range of talking books in which an actor who played a companion to the Doctor in the tv show returns to the role to read an all new story for their character.

They do all the voices save one which is done by another actor.

And the stories run for two episodes of roughly thirty minutes each and are complete on a single cd.

This one sees Carole Ann Ford return to the role of Susan, the Doctor's granddaughter seen on screen back at the start of the First Doctor's era.

And it ties in to those days.

In the tv story Doctor Who The Edge of Destruction and The Pilot Episode [VHS] [1963] the TARDIS scanner shows an image of a planet which Susan says is 'Quinnis. In the fourth universe. Where they went several trips ago. And nearly lost the TARDIS.'

Big finish have drawn on that throwaway line and built a story from it.

A story of the days when it was just Susan and the Doctor travelling together. And when the chameleon circuit worked and the TARDIS would actually change to blend in with it's surroundings.

A brief opening that ties in with An Earthly Child (Doctor Who) sets the scene [you don't need to have heard that to hear this] as to Susan's life post her final tv appearance. And she tells the tale of their trip to Quinnis.

Quinnis is a world of plains and mountains and little technology, where people live in ramshackle towns. It could be africa, but for the fact that some of the sights are definitely not the kind of thing you would find on Earth.

Nor the plant life for that matter, as we soon find out.

The town has an interesting design, the reason for which eventually becomes clear. And it's experiencing a drought. It needs someone to make it rain. And the Doctor soon gets himself involved, against his better judgment, and has to deliver the rains.

Susan makes a friend in the shape of a young girl called Meedla. And she hears hints about what might await should the rains come.

When they do, she gets a great surprise. And learns some lessons. And she and her grandfather have a struggle on their hands to get the TARDIS back.

This unfolds at a nice sedate pace, thanks to a well realised and evocative setting and judicious use of background music. We meet a very interesting supporting character in part two who makes a nice foil for the Doctor, and there are some fantastically visual scenes to be heard during it.

But this one has episodes of thirty and thirty two minutes length respectively, and ultimately it's just perhaps slightly too long. As ultimately there isn't a great deal to the story.

But it does have great atmosphere, a fascinating setting, and a final scene that is really quite lovely. And like many of this series, it develops the main character throughout letting them learn a few things.

So whilst it's not a classic story it has a lot to recommend it anyhow, and it's well worth a listen.

A trailer for the next release in the range can be found after episode two.

And there's roughly eight minutes worth of an entertaining talk with cast and crew on the final track.
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on 18 October 2015
The planet Quinnis is suffering a severe draught and the local inhabitants believe the Doctor can end the draught. Susan makes friends with a girl called Meedla – who isn’t what she seems. The Tardis even has a working chameleon circuit and has disguised itself as a market stall. This uses the framing device of Susan writing a letter to David after the events of ‘An Earthly Child’, yet in that story David was dead. I haven’t heard the ‘Relative Dimensions’ story from the Eighth Doctor Adventures yet so maybe I am missing something? The story about Quinnis that Susan is recalling is set before the events of ‘An Unearthly Child’. ‘Quinnis’ was written by Marc Platt, and directed by Lisa Bowerman.

With only two actresses, Meedla is played by Tara-Louise Kaye, this relies heavily on narration; unsurprisingly that limits the range of voices, and Carol just can’t even come close to Hartnell’s voice. Susan mentions the planet Quinnis in ‘The Edge of Destruction’, which is a nice tie-in to the original series. There is some good narration and imagery. This just doesn’t have the impact of something like ‘The Last Post’. While the music makes very little impact on the atmosphere at all. The story is ok but merely ok.
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