This monthâ€™s Companion Chronicle is a healthy mix of old and new. Echoes of Grey (itâ€™s all in the title people!) features the Second Doctor, Zoe and Jamie and is acted out by Wendy Padbury.
The plot is very clever: Zoe, now older but not necessarily wiser, is a recluse with forgotten memories of her past – she has no idea why but we know. Until one day, she meets a woman named Ali (Emily Pithon) who has a machine that can let her experience long forgotten memories. Cue Zoe reliving (in real time) a brand old/new adventure.
And what a blast from the past it is.
Harkings back to the classic Second Doctor formula of scientists doing misdeeds in an isolated area and a terrible something stalking them for their efforts, you can almost feel the black and white seeping through the speakers.
But while this is an affectionately written piece that evokes everything you may have loved about the Troughton era, it also takes elements from twenty first century Who as well. Â The threats in Echoes of Grey, the enigmatic Achromatics, are as mysterious as they are unstoppable. They draw parallels to the creatures from 2007â€™s 42-so much so that when listening to this play, one can not only visually imagine a 1960â€™s story but also see it with FX done by the new seriesâ€™ Digital Effects team The Mill.
Wendy Padbury shines enough rays here to power an entire planet, her return as Zoe is welcome and the character development she receives is excellent. To add to this, she also does a brilliant voice for the second Doctor and Jamie which can only make one smile as it feels that the old team really are back. Effortlessly interchanging between three leads at any given time whilst also providing an array of other characters Padbury runs with this like no one else could. So much so, that this isnâ€™t simply listening to a narrated adventure that never actually took place, this is effectively listening to a BBC soundtrack to an officially produced BBC Doctor Who adventure from the 60â€™s that got wiped years later.
Sound design, direction and production values are pushed to the limit in the Chronicle and it really shows as events in the play lead to a great twist and a satisfying conclusion.
This pushes the bar so far for a Companion Chronicle; itâ€™s going to be hard to better it but knowing Big Finish, not impossible.
Echoes of Grey is available from www.bigfinish.com for Â£8.99 on CD or Â£7.99 on download.