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Audio Book Review


Doctor Who
The Companion Chronicles
The Rings of Ikiria


Author: Richard Dinnick
Performed by: Richard Franklin
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £8.99 (CD), £7.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 623 2
Available 30 June 2012

An investigation into crop circles leads the Doctor and UNIT to Sark in the Channel Islands. UNIT is accustomed to dealing with visitors from outer space, but nothing has prepared them for Ikiria, a beautiful alien artist bearing gifts of golden rings. Could Ikiria’s designs be something more than aesthetic? As the Brigadier turns against him, Mike Yates goes on the run. Can he save the world - or will he just learn an important lesson in betrayal...?

This is Richard Franklin’s first Companion Chronicle since The Magician’s Oath in 2009, though he has kept his hand in, having been partnered with Tom Baker’s Doctor for several AudioGO releases in recent years. The latter are overlooked by author Richard Dinnick, in interview mode during 12 minutes of extras at the end of the CD, when he asks Franklin what it’s like to return to the role after so long. As Franklin points out, he never really left it.

The Rings of Ikiria is the most traditional Third Doctor story we’ve had for quite some time. Indeed the plot, with its beautiful alien visitor offering gifts, bears comparison to The Claws of Axos. The twists lie in the setting - the small island of Sark in the Channel Islands, with some dramatic descriptions of its cornfields - and the focus on Mike Yates, who must go it alone when his friends and colleagues turn against him. Dinnick and Franklin develop the character convincingly, explaining that he feels more at home at UNIT than he has ever done anywhere else, foreshadowing both the tragedy of Yates’s own betrayal in Invasion of the Dinosaurs and the hypnotic effects of certain blue crystals in The Green Death.

Felicity Duncan plays three different female characters, primarily the ethereal Ikiria, while in addition to Mike, Franklin also gives distinctively individual voices to the Brigadier, the Doctor and Sergeant Benton. It has to be said that Franklin’s impressions exaggerate vocal characteristics that Jon Pertwee and John Levene played down during their own performances and might not have wished to have pointed out: Jon’s lisp and John’s West Country accent.

Another downside is that it seems a little soon in Yates’s UNIT career for him to consider the Brigadier a close friend. He can only have been serving under the Brig for about a year at this point (this story takes place before Mike’s on-screen debut in Terror of the Autons).

That aside, this is an enjoyable tale with a familiar ring to it.


Richard McGinlay

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