Big Finish's Eighth Doctor has been through a lot in the last twelve months. He has gained a new companion on BBC7 and in the Monthly Series release before this, 'Absolution', he lost C'Rizz. This story follows on from that story and picks up the threads it left dangling. It is a story about the end of a relationship and coming to terms with that.
It is entirely appropriate that we end as we began - with Alan Barnes. He created Charley in the audio adventure 'Storm Warning' and shifted their relationship forward in 'Neverland'.
The script for 'The Girl Who Never Was' is much more complex than that of 'Storm Warning', spreading its narrative over multiple time zones. Complicated narrative structures can sometimes be the kiss of death for an audio as the medium requires concentration and engagement at the best of times but this holds up nicely with strong lead and guest performances keeping attention and a few superb twists along the way.
It is a script that draws together on what has come before however so unless you have heard previous Eighth Doctor and Charley stories you will likely feel lost and much less engaged. Likewise if you have never liked this pairing the story will likely leave you cold as much of its appeal is linked to its audience hoping that the Doctor and Charley do not part on bad terms.
In fact the strong emotions of Charley and the Doctor superbly contrast with the cold, emotionless Cybermen who serve as the physical threat to the Doctor and Charley. They sound excellent (Cyberfans: picture The Invasion Cybermen with Tenth Planet voices) but in many ways they are not the focus of this story. However I felt that this worked well and ensures that there is an action story there alongside the emotional journey of the Doctor and Charley.
'The Girl Who Never Was' is a very enjoyable audio adventure, mixing character drama and the return of one of the most popular 'monsters' in the Doctor Who canon. Whilst it will not suit those who have not been following the Eighth Doctor and Charley arc closely, for those who have it is a touching and emotional close to a memorable era of Doctor Who.
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