Reborn (2011)

Never has a title been more appropriate to a Big Finish release. Reborn is essentially the reboot to the Gallifrey series after a near five years gap. For me it’s not been as long as it has been for other because I came to the party quite late so the wait hasn’t been as long for me. This series came out in March but due to an excessive back log of other Big Finish stories I have only just got to this story now. Anyway this story is a curious one because it doesn’t immediately jump out as a traditional Gallifrey story but the plot is that Romana and the rest have stumbled across an different reality where Mary Tamm is Romana and she married Andred and has a son. Leela’s parallel is also different as she is the one that searched for the Key to Time not Romana and also Lalla Ward’s Romana calls herself Astra in a nod to The Armgeddon Factor. There is a great feeling of nostalga which I wonder whether it would get lost on newer fans.The story is about trying to get out of this version of reality and preventing Antonian from joining them. This is quite a nice simple plot strand and some might be slightly frustrated by this but to be honest I really liked it and found it to be a refreshing change.

It’s brilliant that Mary Tamm is back as she was thoroughly impressive during original stint. Here she gets to play a nice Romana who seems relatively close to the Romana and it still seems odd for her to have been married (to anyone) and have a child. It’s also good to have Conrad Westmaas back in a Big Finish play as to my knowledge this is his first story since the departure of C’Rizz in Absolution towards the end of 2007. The character he plays does come across as a bit of a spoilt brat but due to Westmaas’ performance it isnt an irritaiting character. Well played by him. I also quite liked Sarah Douglas’ performance as Chancellor Dondquest. Not only is it one of the finest names that I can remember being in a Doctor Who played but it’s a nice strong performance from Douglas. Louise Jameson has been the most listened to individual for me in Big Finish. I’ve just finished listening to the third series of Jago and Litefoot and spending the last few months listening to the other Gallifrey stories I think that the character has become stronger than during her TV days. Like Colin Baker’s Doctor, Big Finish have rejuvenated the savage character. It does seem to be a bit of a comedy thing to use by putting Leela in a privileged position in Gallifrey.

Reborn is a story that does two things. It gentily reintroduces everyone to the structure of the Gallifrey and it also tells a very good story. I was thoroughly impressed with the writing in this story and despite it being a bit strange at the beginning it was still a promising start to this fourth series and whilst I don’t think for a second that the stories will be as simple as this one I still have high hopes it was as entertaining.

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