Fans of Rose Tyler and her family will be delighted to see Rose’s story continue after she left the TARDIS.
When Billie Piper was announced as the first companion in the rebooted Doctor Who series to play Rose Tyler alongside the new Doctor, there was a lot of scoffing from fans. Yet over two seasons, and courtesy of the amazing writing of Russell T Davies, the character of Rose became a fan favourite. Her departure from the series is still one of the most heartbreaking moments in the modern series. She would return onscreen in a later season to help farewell David Tennant’s Doctor and then reappear (sort of) in the 50th anniversary adventure Day of the Doctor.
Two years ago, Piper made her Big Finish debut alongside Tennant in the Tenth Doctor Adventures series, although it was obvious that Piper was not yet comfortable behind the microphone. What a difference a couple of years (and better scripts) make!
With some assistance from Davies, the team at Big Finish, along with Billie Piper herself, have created a spin-off worthy of the character. Piper leads a cast of returning favourites (Camille Coduri and Shaun Dingwall return in sparkling performances as Jackie and Pete Tyler) alongside a strong supporting cast headlined by Mark Benton as Clive Finch as well as Joe Jameson (Rob), Waleed Akhtar (Mook Jayasundera), Syrus Lowe (Patrice Okereke), Alistair Petrie (Wallace Richards), Dan Starkey (Mr Finch/Machines), and Claire Wyatt (Cee-Cee/Jean Regan).
The stories revolve around Rose’s search for the Doctor and her adventures through a number of different alternate universes. Each story is set in one dimension to varying degrees of success. Jonathon Morris and Lisa McMullin’s scripts for the first half are decent enough with much engaging dialogue and action while AK Benedict’s third episode (Ghost Machines) is the best of the four. Sadly Matt Fitton’s final script (The Last Party on Earth) is somewhat of a disappointment in terms of bringing this series of stories to a close with only a tenuous link to the Doctor Who universe. That being said, the set as a whole is one of Big Finish’s stronger entries this year.
Director Helen Goldwyn makes a good effort in bringing the stories to life and keeps the action from getting too bogged down in over-exposition or padding. The episodes crackle along, aided by the fine sound mix of Josh Arakelian and Joe Kraemer. Kraemer also provides the incidental music which continues a recent trend of outstanding original theme tunes. Also included is a disc of bonus interviews with the cast and crew that highlight the journey that this series had to be made. It is well worth a listen.
Fans of Rose Tyler and her family will be delighted to see Rose’s story continue and provide some answers as to what happened after her departure from the TARDIS. Hopefully Big Finish will continue to engage the services of Piper who is a wonderful actor and who has, at last, made the leap into a much deserved spotlight.
Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin
Distributed by: Big Finish Productions
Released: September 2019
Approx RRP: $47 CD, $20 Digital Download