Latest Doctor Who companion chronicle. These are a range of talking books which see an actor who played a companion to the Doctor on tv returning to the role to read an all new story for their character which has never appeared before in any other format.
They usually run for two episodes of roughly thirty minutes each. Are complete on a single cd. And have the actor doing all the voices save for one, which is done by a guest actor.
This one sees William Russell return to the role of Ian Chesterton, who he played opposite William Hartnell's Doctor back at the very start of the show.
It follows all the format mentioned in the second paragraph, except for the fact that isn't narrated like they usually are. It has the lead and guest actor perform the whole thing as a two hander dialogue play. A format that the companion chronicles have used a handful of times in the past.
The story sees an aged Ian, many years after he and Barbara left the TARDIS, waking up to find himself in a museum. With tableaux based on moments from his life when he was travelling with the Doctor. He meets a man there called Pendolin, who tells him that the museum is under attack from hostile forces and the two are forced to flee through the place. But not all of Ian's memories are coming back to him the way that they should. Can he find what's really going on here, and then get home?
William Russell and guest actor Philip Pope are the only two performers in the entire story so they have a lot to accomplish, but they both do superbly well with excellent performances. Pendolin remains a mystery for a lot of the story and his character goes through a lot, all of which is very will written and acted.
There's a lot for fans to enjoy in William Russell's dialogue because the listener is often a step or two ahead of Ian, since things he says will make more sense to them from their knowledge of the show. Some of these references go a bit beyond the tv stories of the First Doctor/Ian/Barbara/Susan or Vicki era, so that's an even bigger delight.
But then it gets quite clever by twisting these around unexpectedly, so you can never quite be sure what's coming.
The cliffhanger is excellent and really allows the two stars to stretch themselves. Although the resolution to it isn't quite what you might have expected.
Another common feature of this range is that the main character will have something of an epiphany about their life and their relationship with the Doctor. And Ian has an excellent one here.
The end of the story though isn't quite as conclusive as you might hope and it does take a while to sink in. Do be sure to listen to the very end of the credits on part two because there is an extra scene after those.
This is an excellently written and superbly acted play and it's a great look at Ian as a character and his life as whole. It just doesn't quite have the impact to be five star material, but it's a well above release and well worth a listen.
There's a trailer for the next in the range on the penultimate track on the disc.
And just under six minutes of interviews with cast and crew on the track after that.