The Great Space Elevator (2008)

The Great Space Elevator is the second offering from the third series of Companion Chronicles, this newly extended series from four to twelve. The previous Second Doctor stories have been a mixed bag. Fear of the Daleks from the first series and featured Zoe was a mess with not much to take from it. Whereas Helicon Prime from the second series was my favourite story of that series. This story sees Victoria return to the series, she was played by Debroah Watling from 1967 to 1968. She was a very interesting character in that she was from a time in history when time travel wasn’t as known about as it is today and so taking someone from a primitive time and thrusting them into a more modern age. It’s happened in Big Finish who with Erimem but Victoria was 40 years before.

The story sees the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria land in Sumatra. They are captured by guards and find themselves an elevator up to the space station above them. When they get there they find themselves confronted by an alien force wanting to create chaos on Earth.

As a story its very enjoyable because it feels like a Second Doctor adventure. For most fans they will have enjoyed (or not) the Second Doctor stories on audio due to the fact that the majority of his stories have been wiped, so this story just blends in well with them. My main issue with this story is the alien itself. It just doesn’t have a menacing threat that we come to expect, you would think that an alien force would not go through all the palaver of using the space station when it clearly has the power to just wiped humanity off the face of the Earth.

Considering it’s been so long since she played the role its amazing to see how easily Watling took to bringing back the character. The actress and the character have obviously aged and that shows because the character was certainly not as annoying with her screaming and irritating as she was on TV. Helen Goldwyn is the only other actor in this story as Tara Kerley. She is a very good character and contributes a nice sense of what is going on. Goldwyn has been in other Big Finish stories but this is her first in the Companion Chronicles range. The character of Kerley had the feeling of being this brutish nasty woman but then slowly mellows and by the end of the story she becomes a nicer character.

Cliffhangers are a difficult thing to try and get right, it is important the companion pitches it just right because no matter what the writer does if there is a poor delivery then the cliffhanger is just flat and meaningless. The cliffhanger in this story wasn’t brilliant but wasn’t poor either. It involved Victoria (obviously) who got pushed into a corridor and then the lights went out and moments later there is a crackling noise and Victoria feels her skin starting to tingle and it was in the room with her. Again not bad but not brilliant. The music and sound effects are also worthy of a mention. David Darlington has done very well in creating a scenario that at times feels eerie.

This is a minor issue because what we are left with is a story that makes us for the average previous story Here There Be Monsters. The Great Space Elevator shows what is needed to make a very good story. I have nothing further to say about this story other than it finally feels like this series has got started.


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