Producer Michael Stevens
Script Editor Jacqueline Rayner
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs
Written By: Ian Atkins
Directed By: Lisa Bowerman
One should never meet their heroes, as you will only be disappointed in the reality. This is the basis for The Man Who Wasn't There, Big Finish's 23rd Short Trips story, which features the eighth Doctor and Charley Pollard.
Somehow though, meeting your hero isn't a problem for the Doctor and Charlie, who are searching history for Charley's hero, Pieter Mon Marchè, an adventurous and fearless Victorian explorer. They have Charley's favorite book on her idol that chronicles his appearances across the globe, but whenever and whenever they turn up, expecting to find him, he is never there. They can't find him anywhere. They stumble across a drunk fake, and a 'representative' - but where is Pieter? Finding him suddenly becomes a race against time that is fueled by the wrath of the Time Lords, as not finding Pieter could impact the future of the human race.
The Man Who Wasn't There, takes a very simple story and runs with it to create a cleverly written, self-perpetuating paradox, that becomes so grave that (much to the Doctor's joy) the Time Lords themselves feel the need to interfere, and start to ask him pertinent questions about Charley Pollard's very existence.
Ian Atkins has come up with a great idea, one that I'm surprised hasn't been used in Doctor Who before. The story uses the TARDIS and time travel to great effect as our heroes try to track down the legendary adventurer, but only seem to find themselves further and further from the man himself.
India Fisher narrates the story expertly, exploring her own character and giving us a great version of the quirky eighth Doctor. The final reveal doesn't particularly come as any great surprise, but it is a fun and twisted path getting there.
The story itself is only a brisk forty minutes long, but is packed with great moments. The Man Who Wasn't There comes highly recommended.
The Man Who Wasn't There is available from Big Finish as a digital download now.