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Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who
Relative Dimensions


Starring: Paul McGann
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £10.99 (CD), £8.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 481 8
Available 31 December 2010

Christmas is a time for family, they say - which is why the Doctor has invited his granddaughter Susan and his great-grandson Alex to join him and Lucie for Christmas dinner aboard his time and space machine. But who, or what, is the spectre at their yuletide feast? Venturing deep into the dark heart of the TARDIS, Susan uncovers her past, Alex is told his future, and the Doctor finds himself caught in a deadly dangerous present...

For the second year running, Big Finish’s Eighth Doctor range includes a Christmas special. Just like the television show’s seasonal specials, Relative Dimensions is a one-hour episode, rather than comprising regular-length instalments.

The events are a logical extension of developments in the previous year’s Death in Blackpool and An Earthly Child. The Doctor (Paul McGann) wants to make up for the dismal Christmas he inadvertently inflicted upon Lucie (Sheridan Smith) last year, and also seeks to reconnect with his granddaughter Susan (Carole Ann Ford) and great-grandson Alex (McGann’s son Jake), by hosting Christmas dinner in the TARDIS. He wants all the arrangements to go perfectly, and maybe even gain a travelling companion as a result - a wish that is, of course, doomed to failure, as is so often the case with festive family get-togethers! Quite apart from the awkwardness that exists between the characters, there’s the small matter of a strange creature loose within the ship...

For the second year running, Big Finish’s Christmas special coincidentally mirrors the TV show’s yuletide offering. Death in Blackpool, like The End of Time, was full of EastEnders-style doom, gloom, betrayal and revelation. Relative Dimensions, like A Christmas Carol, is a far more festive tale, which also happens to feature a giant fish that can swim through the air (the presence of which ties in with the simultaneous Companion Chronicles release Quinnis). It’s strange how great minds (the respective episodes’ writers Marc Platt and Steven Moffat) think alike.

Also in common with the television series, the soundtrack (by Jamie Robertson) includes real vocalists (in this case Ian Elliot and the Poringland Singers), adding a real Christmassy flavour to the proceedings.

The CD concludes with 15 minutes of interviews with the cast and crew, including Carole Ann Ford, Sheridan Smith and both McGanns, who discuss, among other things, getting into the Christmas spirit (with the aid of mince pies!), despite working several months in advance.

Just as A Christmas Carol is the most Christmassy Doctor Who television special to date, Relative Dimensions is certainly the most festive audio adventure yet.


Richard McGinlay

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