Seasons of Fear (2002)

We are halfway through the second series of Eighth Doctor adventures. Seasons of Fear is written by husband and wife couple Paul Cornell & Caroline Symcox. This is Cornell’s second contribution to the Big Finish world. After a terrible opening story and a classic in the form of The Chimes of Midnight it was going to be interesting to see how Seasons of Fear would go. The story sees the Doctor finally take Charley to Singapore in 1930 where she was originally going when she stowed away on the R101 in Storm Warning.

The Doctor encounters a man by the name of Sebastian Grayle, who claims to have met the Doctor despite the fact that the Doctor has no recollection of him. This in itself is quite a mystery especially as it transpires that Grayle kills the Doctor in his future. This now leads the Doctor and Charley to travel through time to find out just how he does this. Each episode is a bit like an episode of QI where we learn something. There is a shocking moment when Grayle meets his future self and his original self is shocked with what he becomes kills himself ultimately resetting things. In the closing moments we are treated to a massive twist. The Doctor has spent the whole story narrating the adventure. What’s most surprising is that he is narrating this story to someone else. It’s this mysterious third person that states that the Doctor must take some of the responsibility.

Paul McGann and India Fisher are very good in this story. McGann in particular is very good. His scenes with Grayle were very good and there was a sense of urgency for the Doctor to try and find out how Grayle has managed to kill the Doctor. Fisher plays the companion very well as Charley shows an urgency to find out how to stop Grayle. However it is Stephen Perring that steals the show. Grayle has to be one of the most interesting characters that Doctor Who has come up with in quite sometime. Perring gives the character an interesting slant to it that perhaps another actor would have failed to do.

Whilst this story isn’t as good as The Chimes of Midnight its still a very good offering. The Doctor and Charley relationship has gone to full strength in this story and with three other stories in this series its shaping up to be a good series. Only time would tell. The Cornells have written a very strong story that has a fair bit amount of paradox’s but still manages to be fun and engaging.

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