The Gathering (2006)

Following on from the emotional yet powerful The Reaping we have another story from Joseph Lidster that boasts something that we have never heard of in the Big Finish range. The Gathering is the first story to feature Janet Fielding as Tegan. Fielding returns to the role she swore she would never play again. She played the role from 1981 to 1984 and until now remained the only person to star in the original series to play their character on audio. Thankfully she changed her mind however I don’t think this was the best story for her to return to. Unfortunately it followed on from the superb Reaping story so ultimately.

The 8687 plot is something the spreads across both stories. It finally gets answered in this story. I thought that it was quite clever but perhaps a bit drawn out. It was something that never got explained properly in The Reaping and the idea that the Doctor planted this 8687 code to remind him of Kathy in his Sixth Incarnation does smell a bit like Rose and the Bad Wolf thing.

I thought the moment when the Doctor and Tegan first met was well handle and also the subsequent revelation that she is dying was a massive shock. It was interesting to see how Tegan has survived without the Doctor. She doesn’t just rush back into the Doctor’s arms but seems happy with her life in Australia.

Janet Fielding sounds exactly the same as she did when she left the show back in 1983 albeit a few years older. She was fantastic and played the older and more sicker former companion really well and hopefully she will play it again real soon. This was another good performance from Peter Davison. You could tell there was some tension between the two of them but it was coming more from the Doctor’s side that Tegan.

Joseph Lidster has done a good job writing two stories that manage to deliver something in each one. The Reaping was definitely the stronger one but I think that if you would need to listen to this after listening to The Reaping otherwise on its own the story is just a simple case of the Doctor meeting up with Tegan and there being some problems nearby.

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