The Last Post (2012)

The Last Post is the last story to feature Caroline John as Liz Shaw. I remarked when I was reviewing ‘Binary’ that when this story came around it would have a different feel to it. This is the second story to be written by James Goss who previously wrote ‘The Time Museum’ which I wasn’t a big fan of. This story also sees Liz’s family introduced as the other person playing her mom.  The story is quite similar to ‘The Three Companions’ as the majority of this story takes place in letters and phone calls, this is quite different to how other stories in the series are structured and it was done rather well.

The story sees people who are going to die and they receive a letter that tells them of this. Now I like this idea but what makes it work even better is that it ties in several deaths that we encounter in the stories on TV that feature Liz. That’s quite a clever thing that James Goss has done and it doesn’t feel like its indulgent but just a nice thing to do.  It’s a wonderful way of making this feel like it takes place in the period that its suppose to be. It’s not something that I think has been pulled off in a Liz story. The early part of the story starts off with a mystery as to who or what is sending the letters and also perhaps just as importantly why. This is a mystery that is part of what I liked about this story. When we discovered what was causing this it occurred at just the right time and more importantly it made sense and suited the style of the story.

Despite the Liz Shaw stories not always being as strong as they could be, Caroline John always played the role with such grace and love that you would almost forgive the story not being up to scratch because it enabled us to hear Caroline. The fact that we have a family introduced into this story means that it gives Caroline John a chance to play a different side to Liz as we have never met anyone from her personal life except for a friend in ‘The Blue Tooth’ way back in 2007. The desperation in her voice when she knows her mother has had a letter was one of the many highlights of this story. Rowena Cooper is brilliant as Dame Emily Shaw.  She is a very charismatic person and its nice that she has achieved as much as her daughter and you can see where she gets here intelligence from. The cliffhanger that involves her is one of the best cliffhangers that I have heard for quite sometime, its quite difficult to achieve this in a companion chronicle but Goss has pulled it off.

It was planned that we would have many more adventures with Liz’s mom but sadly this wont happen which is one of those things that we will wonder ‘what if’. It’s quite nice that the last Liz Shaw story was the best. It was nice to listen to and I’m surprised that whilst I was listening to it I wasn’t thinking that it was to be the last one. I was instead thinking what a wonderful companion chronicle it was. I think it’s the best one of the year just beating ‘The Rings of Ikiria’, I don’t think its because of it being Caroline John’s last story but just because it’s a solid story from beginning to end…and also it’s the best Liz Shaw story ever.
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