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Audio Book Review


Doctor Who
The Companion Chronicles Resistance


Author: Steve Lyons
Read by: Anneke Wills
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £8.99 (CD), £7.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 378 1
Available 30 March 2009

February, 1944: France is occupied by the Third Reich, the French Gestapo has an iron grip and the native Resistance attempts to overthrow the invaders. On one quiet winter’s night, a British plane crashes to the ground, leaving a flying officer desperate to escape via the evasion lines. Separated from the TARDIS, Ben and Jamie, the Doctor and Polly find themselves with enemies on all sides. Trapped in one of the darkest times in history, Polly discovers that humanity can be just as dangerous as any threat from outer space. She resolves to make a difference - even if it means leaving the Doctor forever...

Resistance feels like an authentic contribution to the Second Doctor’s era, for a number of reasons.

First of all, it’s set at a point in the show’s production when purely historical stories such as this one were being phased out (the final one being The Highlanders) in favour of science fiction adventures.

Secondly, we have Anneke Wills (Polly) re-creating the accents and styles of delivery (if not the exact tones of voice) of her former fellow cast members, Patrick Troughton (as the Doctor), Michael Craze (as Cockney sailor Ben Jackson) and Frazer Hines (as Highlander Jamie McCrimmon), just as she did during her reading of Doctor Who and the Cybermen.

Finally, there’s the fact that the Second Doctor very nearly visited 1944 on television. Operation Werewolf, a serial intended for inclusion in Season 5, penned by Douglas Camfield and Robert Kitts, got as far as a full script being written for Episode 1 before the idea was abandoned. Though not a pure historical (it involved Nazis teleporting troops), Operation Werewolf would have seen the Doctor allying himself with the French Resistance (as he does here) and uncovering traitors therein (Polly uncovers one here). Whereas Operation Werewolf would have included a descendant of Jamie, Resistance mentions Polly’s uncle, who died during the war.

Ben and Jamie are absent for much of the story, allowing the spotlight to fall squarely upon Polly. Once again, writer Steve Lyons toys with the possibility, or rather the impossibility, of altering the course of history.

The only thing that is slightly out of kilter with the era is the Doctor’s uncanny ability to steer the TARDIS when it suits the purposes of the plot. Otherwise, this can be considered a victory for the forces of, um, audio books.


Richard McGinlay

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