Relative Dimensions (2010)

The final story from the Eighth Doctor of 2010 is a truly family affair. After all the drama with Crows, Monks and Ice Warriors it seems that in this festive period that we should have a Christmas themed Doctor Who. Relative Dimensions is a TARDIS bound story and that is something that I have been waiting for since I first saw ‘Inside the Spaceship’. This story also sees the return of Susan and Alex who previously appeared in the 2009 subscribers special ‘An Earthly Child’. It still seems odd that Susan calls the Eighth Doctor Grandfather and even odder than Alex is the Doctor’s Great-Grandson. I think that you would have needed to have listened to or at least be aware of ‘An Earthly Child’ before listening to this.

The story has a slow build up. A large chunk of the first half is getting the Doctor, Lucie, Susan and Alex into the TARDIS for Christmas dinner. Its clear something is not right. What we learn is that there is a creature which is causing these problems and it came from Susan room. Which is as we learn has been moth-balled in a never before heard of thing where the Doctor stores the rooms of his previous companions. I’m not sure whether if this would still be going on with the Matt Smith Doctor. But it shows either that the Doctor is deluding himself or nostalgic. Either way it seemed quite a clever use of introducing and explaining the monster. Another thing we saw was whether the Doctor was trying to persuade Alex to join him in the TARDIS. This creates a mini-conflict with the Doctor and Susan. Whilst the story reaches a good conclusion we are left with a snippet of a story arc when Lucie decides she is going to travel with Alex.

It’s impressive how the story works with just four characters. Paul McGann puts in another solid performance, instead of having to play the hero and stop some mad scheme to colonise a planet or something and has to play host and a grandfather. It’s nice to have Sheridan Smith back and she puts in a lovely performance having some wonderful scenes with Jake McGann. I think that Jake McGann puts in a good performance and gets into his stride in the second half of the story. But for me the best performance was from Carole Ann Ford who is just brilliant. I think that Carole Ann Ford doesn’t sound that different from when she was on TV. She doesn’t have the slight irritation that she had on TV but thanks to Big Finish the Susan we get here is more mature and that’s gives Carole Ann Ford something to work with and give a stronger performance.

Relative Dimensions isn’t the most action packed story of the year but that is what I like about it. I like this story because its more of a character piece and its what is needed every so often. It’s another Christmas Special like ‘Death in Blackpool’ but I think this one is better. Marc Platt has written a good story that uses all the characters to their potential and doesn’t make the story too complicated. Barnaby Edwards has done a good job as director and keeps the story going throughout. A lovely end for the Eighth Doctor year of adventures.

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