Lucie Miller has been headhunted to join the staff of Hulbert
Logistics, a respectable blue-chip firm apparently located
in Telford - which is rather odd, because she wanted to move
to London. It offers great prospects and a competitive salary
- you dont have to be mad to work here! But wasnt
Lucie made for better things, such as travelling through time
and space in the TARDIS? And why is one little data-entry
error such a huge deal? The Doctor, meanwhile, has been fired
- into a confrontation with the most terrifying of enemies...
Ive already commented (in my review of No
More Lies) upon the coincidental similarity
in story-arc structure between the final three instalments
of the 2007 BBC 7 radio series and the last three episodes
of the 2007 BBC One television series. In both cases, the
third to last episode (No More Lies and Utopia
respectively) ends on a cliffhanger that leads into a concluding
two-part story (Human Resources and The Sound of
Drums / Last of the Time Lords respectively).
The nature of that cliffhanger, the abduction of the Doctors
companion, Lucie Miller (Sheridan Smith), also reminds me
of the Doctor Who Magazine Eighth Doctor comic strip
Children of the Revolution, which ended with another
companion, Izzy, being transported away against her will.
Here, as in Uroboros, the comic strip that followed
it, the Doctors rescue attempt is initially frustrated
when his TARDIS is unable to dematerialise.
However, the repetition is quickly over and done with, and
this is otherwise a highly original and inventive story. Writer
Eddie Robson has crafted an engaging and witty tale in which
corporate life is transplanted into a far stranger situation.
Archetypes of the office environment in general and the sitcom
The Office in particular are readily in evidence, including
cheesy co-worker banter and a David Brent-style inept boss
(played to perfection by One Foot in the Graves
Owen Brenman). Meanwhile, Roy Marsden, who recently appeared
on the Doctor Who television series in the episode
and Jones, is suitably urbane and laid-back
as the villain of the piece, Todd Hulbert.
Marsden is less restrained during the interviews that comprise
the extra features at the end of the disc, ladling on his
praise of this production a little too thickly. Is he after
more work from Big Finish?
My only real criticism of this CD is the fact that the identity
of the monsters, which enter the fray only at the end of the
episode, was given away in pre-publicity even before the programmes
BBC 7 transmission. If by some miracle you dont already
know this detail, then try and avert your eyes from the cast
credits on the front and back cover and the CD itself - then
youll enjoy the well-crafted cliffhanger all the more...
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