Welcome to the town of Stockbridge. Again. And again. And again. And, well, you get the point. Picking up on the heels of last monthâ€™s The Castle of Fear Doctor Who adventure, The Eternal Summer takes us into present day Stockbridge with a bang.
The Doctor and Nyssa find themselves in a bit of a Groundhog Day situation, but with a twist. While time seems to be repeating itself, it doesnâ€™t always happen in the same order, or in fact the same year. The is also the fact that death seems to be a constant theme.
One thing that is always great about time related stories is how it folds in on itself. Keey an ear out for a phone call the Doctor makes, I personally found it to be one of the best examples of this type of situation. Likewise the story telling takes advantage of the time situation and uses it as a unique way of following the Doctor and Nyssa on their separated paths.
As usual in these separated situations, the Doctor tends to adopt a temporary companion, you know someone to talk down to and let them ask all sorts of questions that other people canâ€™t seem to ask on their own. What?
In this case it Big Finish have turns to the pages of Doctor Who Magazine once again (previously they have given us a real life Frobisher and more recently Izzy for the Eighth Doctor Adventure The Company of Friends) and brought in that most famous of the idyllic English village Stockbridge’s inhabitants, Maxwell Edison, who is voiced by actor Mark Williams (Harry Potter, The Fast Show).
Max is a bit of the typical stereotype of a UFO watcher. Sounding completely unfit, wearing an anorak, and not possessing the ability to have a life. But somehow this paranoid conspiracy theorist tends to hit gold quite often, and usually while the Doctor is around.
Mark Williams breathes life into Max in exactly that manor. After reading DWM for years, I must say that this is not the voice I had in my head for Max, but now that I hear how Mark has played him I canâ€™t seem to get that voice out. It is Max.
After the comedic tone of the last story, The Eternal Summer pitches for a more serious tone. However with characters like Max, and well, the entire population of Stockbridge, itâ€™s a bit hard to go completely serious. However the mix of comedy, tragedy and adventure in this story is so evenly mixed that you could drink it. It just works on every level and makes for a more engaging story than last month. Writer Jonathan Morris is no stranger to Big Finish and letâ€™s hope he never becomes one.
Much like the Key 2 Time before it, The Eternal Summer makes very good use of the trilogy format making each story a direct continuation of the next, rather than have a gap in between stories for other misadventures. In effect taking our heroes out of the frying pan and into the fire and then into the pits of hell. If the current pattern holds true than then Plague of the Daleks should be a non-stop thrill ride.
Untill then, pick up a copy of The Eternal Summer from Big Finish and wrap your mind around the time twists and turns inside. You wonâ€™t be sorry.
The Eternal Summer stars Peter Davison as the Doctor,Sarah Sutton as Nyssa, Mark Williams as Maxwell Edison and Pam Ferris as Lizzie Corrigan and is available now on CD and MP3 from Big Finish – go to www.bigfinish.com for more!