Walking to Babylon (1998)

Walking to Babylon is a story that is closer to a Doctor Who story than we have had so far. Like the previous stories, this is adapted from a novel and as I have never read the books I cant really compare. This is the second story to feature Jason Kane who visits his ex-wife with someone who is called The People. The story starts off quite differently from what I would expect, we have a couple of minutes where Bernice and Jason have a nice scene where Jason seems to be trying to be nice to Benny and Benny falls for it until she realises something funny is going on. It was a nice scene because it shows that there is still something between them. The story talks place in ancient Babylon where Bernice has 48 hours to bring back her husband and close down the time path before the people use a bomb to destroy it. Now it seems quite a straight forward adventure and that is why there is an awful lot of Bernice not finding Jason. Time was always going to run down and every so often the countdown was mentioned every so often so as to remind us that there is a time issue in this story. There is more to the story as we have John Lafayette who has come from the early 20th century and is played brilliantly by Barnaby Edwards. At first I thought that it was a slightly odd thing to include in a story but somehow it works and I think the story would have suffered without its inclusion.

The previous stories have featured former Doctor Who stars and Walking to Babylon is no different with Elisabeth Sladen. Sladen plays Ninan-ashtammu and whilst I think that Sladen is a wonderful actress who is much missed I found it difficult to get past Sarah Jane Smith. I liked the character but found that my attention was somewhat diverted. I thought that Lisa Bowerman thrives in this story as she isn’t having to play teacher. As she was just being Bernice it meant I got to find out what sort of character she is and I think it’s a good one.  I thought that it was nice that Stephen Fewell got slightly more to do in this than in the previous story. He was quite comedic at times but I thought that the character was quite a solid one. I know that Kane appears a lot more in future Benny stories and I’m glad as I think that Fewell does well with the role.

I liked the uncertain ending. It was very dramatic and does make the desire to listen to the next story even more strong than it was before. As the first in the Time Ring trilogy its an interesting start to the series of adventures. Walking to Babylon is the strongest Bernice story that I have listened to so far and I must say that I am impressed with how the series is developing. The story was steady and precise in its storytelling and there were characters that were interesting and the whole feel of the story is an enjoyable one.

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