Dr Who - Short Trips 8.06 - The Siege Of Big BenBookmark and Share

Thursday, 12 July 2018 - Reviewed by Matt Tiley
The Siege Of Big Ben (Credit: Big Finish)

Producer Ian Atkins; Script Editor Ian Atkins
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

Written By: Joseph Lidster; Directed By: Lisa Bowerman


Camille Coduri (Jackie Tyler)

"He was BORN IN BATTLE......apparently.... which basically means he's a grumpy prawn...."


Jackie Tyler has everything she's ever wanted: a loving husband and, two children. But a terrible, far-reaching plan is underway, and only Jackie and a single friend stand in the way of it.

But the Doctor isn't the man he was...

I'm not going to lie - I love Jackie Tyler. I know the sniffier segment of Who fandom turned their noses up at some aspects of the Russell T Davis era of the programme for being too soapy - but I fully believe that by normalising the companions through giving them a family, new Who's success was firmly cemented.

Jackie Tyler is a stand out character. We all know a Jackie Tyler. She is the busy body down the street, heart of gold though. Here, we catch up with her talking to her friend Beryl, recounting a recent adventure.

We are of course in 'Pete's World', so things are a little different. Football is played backwards, and UNIT has a base in Big Ben. Talking of UNIT, they have a very familiar scientific advisor in the shape of the tenth Doctor....well....not exactly the tenth Doctor, as this is of course the meta-crisis Doctor that we left behind in Journey's End.

It is quite interesting exploring this version of our Doctor. He's definitely not the same as the Doctor from our world, he's not as brave, and not as much of a hero. Jackie thinks that if he were given the choice of having his TARDIS back or staying with Rose, the TARDIS would win, and he would leave Rose in a second.

The story is classic base under siege (which is given a very meta mention in the actual story). The base being Big Ben, where Jackie and the Doctor are trapped by a menacing alien race. 

There is a twist, and it's quite a touching one that then also highlights the differences in this Doctor and ours.

Joseph Lidster is on writing duties, steering the story expertly. Of course he has penned a fair few Short Trips already, as well a number of other Big Finish audios. Not to mention a few Sarah Jane Adventures, and a bit of Torchwood along the way. The writing is incredibly confident and hauls the listener in with sheer glee.

Of course Camille Coduri reprises Jackie perfectly. I'm very happy to see that in two releases time we have another Short Trips set in this Universe - Flight Into Hull. Once again written by Lidster and narrated by Coduri. I don't think this will be the last we hear from Jackie Tyler.

The Siege of Big Ben is one of my favourite of this range so far, and is well worth a few quid as a download. Go on, do it. You can find it here.