Even if we are consciously unaware of the fact that one day we have to pass onto whatever lies beyond this life, it is always there like a dark shadow at the very back of our respective closets, next to which stands the time that measures our life, both beginning and end, and the choices that we make that determine if that time is worthy or wasted, a life of promise or a life of despair.
But what if you could change one of those choices?
Guardian of the Solar System is the next chapter in the tale of Sara Kingdom (Jean Marsh), who first made an appearance in the epic The Daleks’ Masterplan in the third season of the original run of televised Doctor Who. In the story, Sara Kingdom goes through a variety of events, such as her faith in her leader being deceived, killing her own brother on suspicion that he is a traitor and eventually her own death. These fascinating events made Sara interesting enough to find inclusion in Big Finish’s Companion Chronicles series of audio plays, with her character appearing in three connected tales, with the events of the plays taking place between episodes seven and eight of the saga, and involve Sara telling the tales of previously unheard adventures she experienced with the Doctor to a man name Robert (Niall MacGregor) inside a house that seems to have a copy of Sara’s mind.
If all this seems a bit confusing not to worry, there is a nice recap at the start of the play that covers all that bases needed, although to be honest it does drag on a little bit, but the story beyond this more then makes up for it.
The First Doctor, Steven Taylor and Sara Kingdom arrive inside a giant clock one hundred years before the events of Masterplan that happens to power all of the Earth’s space travel. The Doctor is ignorant of this and is more concerned with stopping the clockworks, which he is certain are evil, as Sara tries to change her personal future by dabbling in the past.
These plot points make for an interesting tale that expands one of the most epic sagas in Doctor Who, as well as presenting a story that has much to say about consequences and cost. As Sara wrestles with both her fate in the story and in the house, it shows her to be deeper as a companion that did not get much time in her first outing, making her worthy to be in the company of the Doctor, rather then a one and done supporting character in Masterplan.
Propped like a few bookends throughout this tale is the ongoing story of the relationship and nature of Sara, Robert and the house that they inhabit and which at times seems to inhabit them as well, and the scenes are well written enough that they entertaining in their own way, even if you have little knowledge of the back story of the two previous installments.
Also there is not let down here as this part of the play has a charm all it’s own and the sense of imprisonment and feeling trapped is conveyed well, as is the weight that seems to hold down both Sara and Robert to the odd house that grants wishes.
As the ending draws near, the conclusion is one that does leave you wondering what will happen next, as the climax was quite unexpected and the various questions it poses make you wonder at the limitless possibility’s for the next chapter in the history of Sara Kingdom.
The Guardian of the Solar System is out now, and available on CD or MP3 direct from www.bigfinish.com.