The Mists of Time (2009)

Free releases with Doctor Who Magazine have become a regular thing. The last release was Cuddlesome (2008) and previously The Veiled Leopold. This freebie is somewhat different as it is the first to be a download from the Big Finish website. This is also the first that is a companion chronicle. The Mists of Time features Katy Manning as Jo Grant. Having already starred in The Doll of Death last year I was familiar with what style Katy Manning would use to tell this story. Jonathan Morris pens this story and has a difficult job in trying to remain loyal to the format of the other 18 Companion Chronicles (not including The Drowned World!) and also structure it in a way that newcomers to the series would understand.

The atmosphere of the story was quite eerie and reminded me a bit of Home Truths (2008). The music and the descriptions given help set up the setting of this planet that is depressing and would be the last place you would want to visit. There are several curious moments such as how does Jo not remember she got to the point of time that we join the story at? There is also the matter of how can someone who has died a long time ago and on another planet. We get this with Jo’s Uncle who died when she was only a child. Then there are the visions of the Brigadier and Mike Yates. This is revealed as being ghosts from the minds of people on the planet. They cant be touched and only visible for a short time. This is a wonderful idea because then you could bring family members who have passed away.

Katy Manning is a joy to listen to. She sounds different to how she did in The Doll of Death but still manages to sound like Jo Grant from 1973. I thought that she gave a superb performance and still manages to retain some of the innocence of the character on TV. She also does a good impression of Jon Pertwee, it wasn’t Rory Bremner standard but it was a good shot. The other actor in this play was Andrew Whipp who plays Calder. He doesn’t try and steal the limelight from Manning and only interjects to perhaps give Katy a chance to catch her breath. The character is the last on the planet and the final reveal that Jo is actually a ghost is the last chilling moment acted brilliantly by Whipp.

I think that Jonathan Morris has written a superb script. It is structured in a way that keeps the tension going but doesn’t drag it out. I think that the explanations were believable and didn’t spoil my enjoyment. My only issue is with the editing of this story. There was the first part which was expected but then there seemed to be a smaller second part followed by a third part. Surely it would have made more sense to edit the second and third part together. Apart from that I really enjoyed this story and found to be a highly enjoyable adventure and for a freebie I think that if I had to pay for it, I wouldn’t grumble.


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