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Audio Book Review


Doctor Who
The Companion Chronicles
Second Chances


Author: John Dorney
Performed by: Wendy Padbury
Publisher: Big Finish Productions
RRP: £8.99 (CD), £7.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 78178 094 7
Release Date: 30 June 2014

From time to time, everybody makes mistakes. Everybody has things from their past that they’d like to undo, but nobody gets a second chance. What’s done is done and we can’t change that. Zoe’s mistakes have led her to imprisonment at the hands of the Company. However, when news reports trigger memories of the Doctor, Jamie and an appalling threat, she begins to sense a way out. An opportunity for redemption opens up to anyone willing to take it. Nobody can alter what’s been done. Nobody gets a second chance – or do they...?

It’s the end, but the moment has been prepared for...

This is the last Companion Chronicle, at least for now. It is also the final story in the “Zoe versus the Company” arc that began with Echoes of Grey and continued with The Memory Cheats and The Uncertainty Principle. It’s well worth listening to those earlier releases or refreshing your memory about them before embarking upon this final journey. The uneasy relationship between Zoe (Wendy Padbury) and her new handler Kym (Emily Pithon) can be a little confusing if you don’t know what has gone before. On the other hand, perhaps that’s no bad thing, because if you weren’t in the know, then you would be fully able to empathise with Zoe’s amnesic predicament.

After being away for a couple of entries in this saga, writer John Dorney returns to finish what he started. There are some deliberate omissions from the companion’s recollections during the first half of this adventure, as Kym demands that Zoe skip over certain bits of “padding” in her story, all the capture and escape stuff. At first, this seems to be merely a satirical swipe at the typical structure of 20th-century Who... but the writer is going somewhere with this. These gaps are later ingeniously filled in, when Zoe gets a chance to go over the events again. In the past, I have criticised this arc for allowing the “older Zoe” aspects of the plot to dominate proceedings at the expense of the “Zoe with the Doctor and Jamie” story, but here we have what is quite possibly the most captivating flashback sequences in this arc so far, involving some jaw-dropping levels of destruction.

In view of the inescapable sense of things drawing to a close, Dorney keeps us guessing about Zoe’s ultimate fate, right up until the concluding moments. Does he bring complete closure to the companion’s story? That would be telling, but it does make for satisfying listening.

Though this is goodbye to The Companion Chronicles, or at least au revoir, a new series of longer stories for the 1960s Doctors, entitled The Early Adventures, begins in September. So the First and Second Doctors will get a second chance after all. Until then, thanks for the memories.


Richard McGinlay

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