Sunday 20 September 2015

Companion Chronicles 8.08 - The Sleeping City

Maybe I think too much, we all know that Doctor Who is “just a TV show”, but boy does it fire the imagination, when I first saw The Chase back in the early 1990′s, my early twenty- something fan brain latched on to the fact that Ian and Barbara were returned a year late, a whole year of their lives missing, how could this be explained, how could they explain the disappearance of one of their pupils, some twenty-two years later, these issues are addressed (somewhat) in the latest Companion Chronicle release from Big Finish: The Sleeping City.
Reprising the role of Ian Chesterton is William Russell, and it opens with Ian and Barbara in a heap of trouble, unable to explain their missing year to the authorities, they are both accused of being Soviet Agents and are under interrogation, but Ian’s interrogator, Gerrard, played by John Banks, seems very interested in The Doctor, and is all too keen for Ian to tell him about their adventures to convince him that he is not a Soviet Spy, and the story Ian tells is an odd one.
Feeling reminiscent of the last couple of episodes of The Keys of Marinus, Ian recounts his visit, along with The Doctor, Barbara and Vicki to the City of Hisk, a City where the citizens share their leisure time in a shared dream experience, but there is nightmare hiding in the dream state and soon Vicki has been marked for death and it is up to the Doctor to solve the mystery of Hisk and expose the rotten core at the heart of the dreaming.
The early 1960′s era is captured excellently by William Russell, he has Jaqueline Hill, William Hartnell and Maureen O’Brien’s intonation captured to perfection, he easily recreates the banter between Ian and Barbara, there is such love between the characters, and he paints a wonderful picture of a gleaming sci-fi cityscape along with its citizens, he makes it very alive and very real with just a few words.
It’s an entertaining little play, more of a table wine than a vintage, but perfectly drinkable (if you will excuse the analogy), maybe I worked out the ending too early on, or maybe I was spoilt by Dark Eyes 2 being so good, but as a piece of retro 1960′s Doctor Who it succeeds admirably, and massive praise to William Russell for making it such a visual audio.
Overall 7/10

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