Starring Paul McGann & Sheridan Smith
Written by Nicholas Briggs, Alice Cavender, Eddie Robson, & Alan Barnes
Directed by Nicholas Briggs
Released by Big Finish - July 2019
Once upon a time, it was not as accepted to be a nerd in the mainstream. In college, I was slowly rediscovering my love for such nerdy things as Star Trek, when I discovered Doctor Who. Tennant was still the Doctor, just about to start his second series in the role, and I watched and rewatched his debut series and then the preceding one with Eccleston over and over again. But because being a nerd was still not something that people proudly declared to the world, I would tell myself that I only liked the new series, I wasn't someone who would get sucked into that old show. Of course, I got sucked in and went back and watched the entire classic run as well. But I'd never be such a nerd that I'd listen to those audio stories.
But Big Finish released the first adventures with Lucie Miller, and for whatever reason, I gave them a listen. They were easily digestible, made in the style of the new series, and they had a Doctor that hadn't much of a TV run, so why not listen to these stories to see if maybe beyond his rather bad movie he could actually be good. And McGann was great...and Lucie Miller was a fun companion to have along for the ride. Eventually, I gave up trying to convince myself I wasn't "that big of a nerd" and just listened to the whole back catalogue of Eighth Doctor adventures, starting with Storm Warning on, and I became a massive fan of anything Eighth Doctor. But every time a new series with Lucie Miller came out, I was always ready and excited. As good as some of the early Charley stuff was, as good as epic boxsets that have come out since can be...nothing comes close to the Lucie Miller run in terms of consistent quality for me.
Sheridan Smith has returned for this boxset, set in between her first and second series, and it sees her reunion with the McGann, eight years since Lucie departed in To the Death. In the set the get trapped in a black hole with some confused Daleks, take down an evil mega-corporation with Roller Derby, help some people trapped in a warped Downton Abbey nightmare planet, and finally take on the return of the evil Fendahl. It's a fun set, and while all the stories are fun and well written, it is the return of Smith and McGann's rapport that is the star of the show. They play off each other well, and they don't feel like they have missed much of a beat.
If you were a fan of the Lucie Miller era of the Eighth Doctor audio adventures, you no doubt want to get this already. As a sampler for new fans looking to dip their toe in with the duo, it is decent. I think it probably more fun for fans who already loved this team. If you really want to see if you like them together, I suggest just starting with their first series. Obviously, it is more cost-effective to buy this, and if you want a taste of this dynamic I can tell you that it does not rely heavily on continuity, and you won't be lost.