This is one of the better spin-off ideas from the Big Finish offices.
One of the most requested spin-off series by fans of Doctor Who finally comes to fruition with this first, impressive release from the Big Finish studios.
Based on a trio of unlikely investigators who first appeared during the Matt Smith era of the television programme, they helped introduce the audience to the Peter Capaldi incarnation of the Doctor. Along the way, the potential for their own series was keenly spotted by Big Finish listeners. The recent Eighth of March boxset provided a teaser for the audience of what the series would be like. This set improves on that outing ten-fold.
Set in Victorian London, the trio (who live in Paternoster Lane) consist of a Silurian, Madame Vastra (Neve McIntosh), her human wife, Jenny Flint (Catrin Stewart) and Sontaran warrior/nurse maid, Strax (Dan Starkey). The three actors are absolutely fantastic and have enormous chemistry between each other. They slip into their roles with ease and carry on where their TV adventures ended.
The Cars That Ate London! by Jonathon Morris is a ripper story that sets the tone of the set well. A design for a new electric motor car has been taking London by storm but Vastra wonders how its inventor, Fabien Solak (Alan Cox), can possibly know about technology 100 years in his future.
A Photograph to Remember by Roy Gill sees the team investigate strange images that appear to be ghosts of dead people and along the way, they encounter a rival team of investigators known as “The Bloomsbury Bunch” consisting of Silurian warrior, Vella (Beth Goddard), Sontaran money-maker, Stonn (Christopher Ryan), and his human partner, Tom Foster (Arthur Hughes). It sets up a rivalry that will, no doubt, be explored in later volumes.
Final story, The Ghosts Of Greenwich by Paul Morris, sees a more supernatural phenomenon take hold of our heroes when they investigate the sudden ageing of people. It all seems to centre around a male-only Royal Observatory, the meridian line, and a crotchety old man named Sir Jasper Eagleton (Trevor Cooper).
A good range of supporting cast round out the set with many fine performances, most notably from Daisy Ashford (Penny Lambeth/Angie Sangster), and Lucy Briggs-Owen (Charlotte Mayfly). Director Ken Bentley delivers with his usual skill in keeping the story moving and is ably assisted by the top-notch sound and music mix by Joe Kraemer.
Whilst the second two stories are not quite as fun or entertaining as the first, they are all, nevertheless, enjoyable. Fun is the order of the day and it perfectly suits the setting and the characters being explored.
A disc of bonus interviews and music round out this commendable package.
This is an entertaining boxset and one that fans of the modern series of Doctor Who will relish. It is great to see that Big Finish are already committed to another three sets from this series, showing their confidence that they will establish themselves as one of the better spin-off ideas from the Big Finish offices.
Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin
Distributed by: Big Finish Productions
Released: June 2019
Approx. RRP: $45 CD, $20 Digital Download