Big Finish continue to add to their ever-growing range of spinoffs from the Doctor Who universe with this release which sees the return of Lady Christina de Souza, as played by Michelle Ryan in Planet of the Dead (one of the last adventures to feature the David Tennant Doctor). Her character also appeared in one the Tenth Doctor Chronicles released earlier this year and that appearance served to whet the appetites of the fanbase for this full release.
Lady Christina comes from a rich background and she spends her time being one of the most successful cat burglars on the planet. She drives an old London bus (fitted with alien technology) and is always on the run from fellow thieves or UNIT. Michelle Ryan is a wonderful lead with much charisma. She carries this boxset with a twinkle in her eye and good dash of humour but it would have been great if the scripts for the series gave us some extra light and shade and let us in to her character more. We briefly meet her father, Lord Alfred de Souza (played with a stiff upper lip by William Gaminara) but, apart from that, we know little of her motivations and her reasons for leading the life she does.
The scripts by John Dorney, James Goss, Tim Dawson and Donald McLeary lean heavily on fun and they recreate the feel of a 60’s spy thriller. There are appearances by Sylvia Noble (played brilliantly, as she was in the TV series by Jacqueline King) and the Slitheen just to keep the Doctor Who fans happy. Of the four scripts the first (It Takes A Thief) and last (Death on the Mile) are the most entertaining. None of them strike particularly original ground but they serve their purpose in helping create the vibe of the series.
Director Helen Goldwyn has assembled a fine supporting cast which includes Warren Brown (Sam Bishop), Matt Barber (Ivo Fraser-Cannon), Cristina Barreiro (Flavia Santos), Christopher Ryan (Grunt/Handley), Jenny Lee (The Keeper), Tracy Wiles (Jacqui McGee), Melissa Collier (Elaine/Janice), Richard Hansell (Robin), and Ewan Bailey (Sir Edward Scott Cameron/Biggs) amongst many others. The sound design and music by Alfredo Acosta is up to the usual standard we have come to expect from the Big Finish team. A disc of bonus interviews with the cast and crew round out this release.
Undoubtedly, Big Finish will wait and see if the fans take to this series before commissioning another one but, if given the chance, let us hope we will get to know the character of Lady Christina a lot more in future. This series feels like the warm up before the main game starts.
Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin
Rating out of 10: 7
Distributed by: Big Finish Productions
Released: August 2018
RRP: $41 CD, $20 Digital Download