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Audio Drama Review

Book Cover

Doctor Who
Grand Theft Cosmos


Starring: Paul McGann
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £10.99 (CD), £8.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 306 4
Available 10 May 2008

“Here’s to crime, Doctor!” The Doctor and Lucie visit nineteenth-century Sweden, where they become embroiled in an attempt to steal the infamous Black Diamond of Claudio Tardelli. But they are not the only would-be thieves attempting the heist of the century. The Headhunter is back, and this time she’s bought a friend! The stone, however, is guarded by forces not of this world...

The heist story is not an entirely new area for Big Finish’s Doctor Who (the company touched upon the subject in another tale of a purloined jewel, the Doctor Who Magazine giveaway The Veiled Leopard, issued a couple of years ago) but nevertheless there’s an atmosphere of energy and fun to Grand Theft Cosmos. Lengthy scenes of planning the job, though typical of the genre, are eschewed here, because they wouldn’t work as well in the audio medium as they do in a movie, and in order to fit the story into the 50-minute running time of this single CD. As an added gimmick, the Doctor (Paul McGann) and Lucie (Sheridan Smith) are among those attempting to steal the Black Diamond, though they have the best of reasons.

As a piece of crime fiction in a period setting, this release is perfectly timed to tap into the interest of television viewers who recently enjoyed the Agatha Christie episode The Unicorn and the Wasp. By sheer coincidence, both of these stories feature a guest turn by the wonderful Christopher Benjamin (who previously appeared in Inferno and The Talons of Weng-Chiang). Another returning actor is Colin Spaull, who has similarly appeared in both the old TV series (in Revelation of the Daleks) and the new (in Rise of the Cybermen / The Age of Steel).

Writer Eddie Robson also brings back a partnership he created in Human Resources, with the return of the Headhunter (Katarina Olsson) and Karen (Louise Fullerton). The two of them make a likeable pair of felons, with Karen evidently still learning the ropes, though I have to admit that I had forgotten the Headhunter had recruited her at the end of Human Resources last year.

The extras at the end of the CD reveal a few interesting facts, including the revelation that all of Sheridan Smith’s lines were recorded separately, owing to the actress’s busy schedule. Sadly, Eddie Robson skips over details of story ideas for this release that didn’t make it into the final production, but hopefully he’s merely saving them for discussion some other time...

If you pick up Grand Theft Cosmos, I guarantee you won’t feel robbed.


Richard McGinlay

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