Other Lives (2005)

Other Lives is the second story in three releases for the Eighth Doctor, C’Rizz and Charley. Now the natural thing to do is to compare it to Scaredy Cat but that would be unfair as both stories are different in terms of what they are about. Other Lives is a light hearted adventure which sees the travellers arrive in London in 1851 during the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace. The story is more about an accumulation of accidents as opposed to an alien invasion intent on wiping humanity off the face of the earth.

The story is about (as the title suggests) the other lives of the Doctor and his companions. Charley and C’Rizz have their doubles who are French aristocrats who have nicked the TARDIS. It’s not just the companions that have their own double but the Doctor does who is a missing married man. The Doctor spends his part of the story pretending to be Doctor Edward Marlow. The real Edward Marlow’s wife Georgina Marlow (Francesca Hunt) is on the verge of being thrown out of her house by Mr Rufus Dimplesqueeze. Charley pretends to be a French aristocrat to prevent a revolution. C’Rizz’s story is perhaps the most interesting and the most important. C’Rizz being a Eutermesan was always going to have problems when he sets foot on earth and when he goes outside of the TARDIS he is kidnapped by Jacob Crackles Esquire who runs a local freak show.

Out of the three it is the Doctor that has the lighter story. Essentially all he is doing is defending a woman’s honour which isn’t exactly challenging stuff. Paul McGann essentially has to take a back seat in this story, he has to play a different character for most of this story but it’s not totally different from the Doctor. Charley’s is also not exactly nail biting stuff but it is more enjoyable than the Doctor’s story. India Fisher does seem to enjoy the different role she has to play. Its not 100 miles away from the Charley that we first met in Storm Warning but it’s an enjoyable performance from Fisher. Conrad Westmaas is the driving force of this story. His treatment is terrible and he has to fight his inner demons to get him through. This is Westmaas’ best story so far and shows what can be done with the character if given the right script.

This story is in effect a character piece. It’s also more of a comedy in certain places. I think that it’s refreshing when Big Finish do this because with all the drama in recent stories then it’s nice to have a light hearted piece. The supporting characters were all very likeable and were all believable. Gary Hopkins has written a sound script and Gary Russell has directed the story with a pace that helps time fly by.

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