The Doll of Death (2008)

The third story of the third Companion Chronicles series sees Jo Grant return to the show for the first time in 30 years. Katy Manning played Jo Grant from January 2 1971 to June 23 1973 and is one of the best female companions in Doctor Who history. She just has that sort of aura about her and it might also have something to do with the time that she appeared in the show. Her dress sense as well as her urge to get involved in matters despite being told not to interfere by the Doctor. Even though Jon Pertwee only had three companions, Jo Grant was the best, she seemed to form the best bond as with Liz Shaw (Caroline John) was more cleverer and on the Doctor’s intelligence level and Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith) just didn’t really seem to fit with Pertwee’s Doctor and really shined with Tom Baker’s Doctor. Elisabeth Sladen is still a very good companion but she only really suited Tom Baker’s Doctor. The story was written by Marc Platt who makes his third contribution to the Companion Chronicles series and this also sees Lisa Bowerman direct her third CC story in a row.

I liked the idea that Jo had stuck with her principals and was still an environmentalist and still living with Cliff. You wish she had not gone off with the Welsh Hippie but had in fact either gone off with Benton or Yates. The story hinged on a toy shop and the actions of Mrs Killebrew who always had something to hide. The use of the idea of Retro causation is not something that I have ever heard of. Despite this lack of knowledge it didn’t stop me from enjoying certain elements of this story. The idea that things were running backwards was something that I struggled to try and understand but there was something that I found quite interesting. The cliffhanger was perhaps the best that has been done in this series because it had been building for sometime and the execution was bang on. Another point worth raising is the point of impersonations. Now normally they are not brilliant and actually in this story there not much better but then again Katy Manning isn’t an impressionist but what she does do is sound like Jo Grant did 30 years ago and also get the mannerisms of the Brigadier and the Doctor right.

Marc Platt is perhaps one of the best writers of Doctor Who. His stories are complex but unlike Alan Barnes who tends to writer complex stories, Platt manages to get enough elements to help the listener understand. The Doll of Death is not the best story to come from Marc Platt but its still a good effort. Lisa Bowerman does a really good job with this story. Despite the complex story, Bowerman keeps the story interesting with eerie sound effects and dramatic direction. Katy Manning is simply great as Jo Grant. I think that she has a really good voice and it is used to good effect in this story. She does the other roles really well and makes the story enjoyable. Jane Goddard is also very good as Mrs Killebrew, her character interacts with Jo very well and was a very strong and well written part of the story.

Overall this is a good story but not quite as good as other stories of this season. Theres enough for people like me who doesn’t like to complicated a story to happen to often. Its worth a listen even if your not a Marc Platt fan cause there are some really good things happening in this story.

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