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Audio Drama Review


Bernice Summerfield
Escaping the Future


Starring: Lisa Bowerman
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £10.99
ISBN: 978 1 84435 527 3
Available 31 October 2010

The galaxy has been torn apart by merciless invaders from the future. A coalition of worlds set up by Braxiatel has been comprehensively defeated by the superior technology of the Deindum. Only a few scattered pockets of resistance are still active. Bev is running the Braxiatel Collection as a refugee camp, living in constant fear of attack. Adrian and Doggles are hiding in a bunker on Earth’s moon, trying to launch covert attacks on the enemy with limited resources. Hass is stranded on the occupied planet Maximediras. Bernice and Peter are free for the moment, travelling around through time in an attempt to learn more about the Deindum: where did they come from, what do they want, and can Bernice find a way to strike back at them...?

In the previous audio release, Resurrecting the Past, Braxiatel’s (Miles Richardson) long-running story arc was brought almost to its resolution. Following the events of that release and of the book Present Danger, Escaping the Future brings Braxiatel’s tale to a close.

Machinations that had gradually unfolded in the Bernice Summerfield and Gallifrey series, which could have been interpreted as references to Doctor Who’s Time War (they were certainly seized upon as such by me), proved to involve a different, though thematically similar, conflict. Instead of xenophobic, time-travelling, hovering machine creatures we have xenophobic, time-travelling, hovering reptile heads. You don’t need to have read Present Danger in order to follow the audios, but it does help to enhance the sense of scale of the Deindum threat.

Future releases promise a new direction, a chance for newer listeners to jump on board without fear of complicated back-story. Will Bernice be grounded in time following this adventure? The sheer amount of reckless time travelling that she and others get up to in Present Danger and Escaping the Future leads me to speculate exactly that. Will some characters be written out? It seems almost inevitable. Will some of them die? That would be telling. What I will say is this: with the ever-present risk of death at the hands (well, the heads) of the Deindum or, even worse, of being erased from existence itself by an altered timeline, writer Eddie Robson toys with the lives of his characters (including Harry Myers as Adrian, Louise Faulkner as Bev, Sam Stevens as Doggles, Paul Wolfe as Hass and Thomas Grant as Peter) on numerous occasions as the story approaches its dramatic conclusion. After this, anything goes - nothing and no one from the old continuity is safe.

In view of such a threat and such a new broom, if it were up to me I would have extended the war with the Deindum for a couple more releases and made this the finale to the season. However, despite its mid-season position, and a few moments when I found the mechanics of what our heroes were trying to achieve somewhat difficult to follow, Escaping the Future provides excellent escapism.


Richard McGinlay

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