Criss-Cross is the first official story for Miranda Raison as Constance Clarke. I say official because this was supposed to be the first story for her but then Big Finish decided to release The Last Adventure early and so we got to hear what the character would be like earlier than expected and it was difficult to know what to make of the companion based on just one out of context story. This was going to be the story that would decide whether the character would work or not. After the rather dramatic way that Flip’s last story was and the passing of Maggie Stables, it was perhaps time for Sixie to have a new companion and Constance Clarke is a strong minded woman from the 1940’s which is quite a clever choice from Big Finish because we’ve never had a companion from that period.
Lets dispel any suspense by saying that I like the character of Constance. She is strong minded as I said but what I think works is that Miranda Raison plays the role perfectly and is likeable despite butting heads with the Doctor at first. I think that her sudden decision to join the Doctor could have been handled slightly better but on the whole I think that the combination of the Doctor and Constance is going to work very well. Colin Baker rarely puts a foot wrong in Doctor Who stories anymore. In fact I cant remember the last time he blundered and he seems to have new life having teamed up with Raison. The two appears in 2010’s The Wreck of the Titan together but this time they are working together and Baker is enjoying himself with the story and now that he has a new companion that has brains but also is lacking in some aspects of life due her time period.
As far as the story is concerned, I liked it very much. I have to confess that I haven’t always been the biggest fan of Matt Fitton’s writing. It’s not that he is a terrible writer – far from it – but there was just something that didn’t quite work all the time. I have enjoyed stories such as Afterlife (2013), Survivors: Revelation (2014) and his Early Adventures An Ordinary Life (2014) is his best work. I think that he has written a story with a great setting and a threat that is easy to understand and its easy to understand why it’s doing what it is doing. I don’t think that this is quite as good as An Ordinary Life but it is a highly enjoyable story and its got to be in my top three of the year.
Criss-Cross is a good start to the series and I have to say that I am loking forward to the remaining two stories in the series. The steady improvement of the main range continues and I think that this is one of those stories that will grow on me and I could easily see this story doing well in this years Tomstardis Awards. Time will tell.