Sunday, 20 September 2015

Companion Chronicles 8.11 - The Elixir Of Doom

Instructions on how to make an Elixir of Doom:
Take one Katy Manning, clone her until you have two…
Add a pinch of Derek Fowlds…
Sprinkle liberally with 1930′s era Hollywood Glamour…
Infuse with essence of Eighth Doctor…
Throw in some monsters for good measure…
Allow to simmer for about an hour…
Sit back, relax and enjoy….
So the latest in the Companion Chronicles series sees the unequivocally fabulous Katy Manning in not one, but two starring roles, as Jo Jones (née Grant) and Iris Wildthyme.
This version of Jo is contemporary with our time and has been travelling with Iris Wildthyme since “Find and Replace” (well worth a listen).  They turn up in 1930′s Hollywood with the intention of crashing a few parties, hob-nobbing with celebrities and generally living it up, but they stumble upon a dark secret and also the 8th Doctor.
With the party in full swing, it is crashed by a real horror film monster, the Lizard man, not a man in a suit, the real deal, dealt with beautifully by the Doctor by singing the Venusian lullaby.  But why are the monsters real, and what relation do they have to the ex husbands of the starlet, a character Jo has met before in her past, but in the future…..?
Katy Manning excels here, if I didn’t know that she played both Jo and Iris, I never would have guessed.  She plays Jo as an older, more worldly wise version than we are used to on the TV, but retains her essential kookiness and compassion, Iris on the other hand is a hoot, a real force of nature, blundering in, thinking later, they make a wonderful double act.
Plaudits also to Derek Fowlds as Claude, a quiet lapdog of a man.
It’s a real shame that we may not see any more of the Jo/ Iris pairing as the Companion Chronicles are coming to an end, how’s about a Christmas Special? The tone of the story is a lot more serious than the title suggests, it’s real body horror and actually quite tragic, but not morose and retains a sense of fun. It’s quite strange to have a story with Jo not being paired with the Third Doctor, but, surprisingly, his presence isn’t missed, testament to the script and the strong performances by Katy Manning and Derek Fowlds.
Overall a monster mash-up of a story! 9/10.