At Christmas, the Eighth Doctor and Lucie Miller parted ways for good. Now that heâ€™s had some time on his own to get over his latest break up, the Doctorâ€™s ready to find a new friend to travel with and thatâ€™s how season 4 of the Eighth Doctor Adventures kicks off.
Situation Vacant revolves around four potential companions gathered in a hotel function room who have responded to an advert to travel time and space. The Doctor turns up and informs them that thereâ€™s a mystery to be solved and the person who performs the best will win the role of his latest travelling companion. Itâ€™s very akin to The Apprentice and X Factor (the cover for the play even emulates the latter).
What follows is a strong season opener much like 2008â€™s Partners in Crime - a lightweight episode with a friend trying to prove themselves to the Doctor, a jaunty upbeat incidental score, a middling threat to be resolved and some layering of mysteries yet to be solved.
McGann is on form as the Doctor as always and the auditioning companions are well rounded and acted out well. We wonâ€™t tell you who the Doctor chooses (if he in fact chooses anyone) but the end results are extremely satisfying.
The loss of Sheridan Smith is felt in Situation Vacant, her brash northern twangs have become so loved and expected in this run of plays that when they donâ€™t appear it starts to raise alarms but as always with the Doctor, thereâ€™s so much going on that thereâ€™s little time to look back as the TARDIS team are thrown into the present.
Judging by this play alone, this looks set to one of the strongest Eighth Doctor series yet.
Situation Vacant is available this month on CD or download from www.bigfinish.com!