Over the course of three stories we’ve got to know this plucky girl and seen her prove her worthiness to travel aboard the TARDIS but as with everything that’s good, it must sadly come to a close. Flip has already been through more than enough in her early travels with the Doctor, she’s encountered Davros, Daleks, Napoleon, deadly TV characters and has even died. Her first two adventures were big, bold and full of action whereas Wirrn Isle is an altogether different story that wraps up her time travelling journey on a far more sombre note.
Arriving some forty years or so after the events of The Ark in Space, the Doctor and Flip are teleported to the icy remains of what was once Loch Lomond in Scotland. Far from Nerva City and human colonists, they encounter a single family who are trying to re-establish the colony they abandoned a long time ago. Unfortunately for all involved, the Loch is not the safest place to be as the Wirrn are on the prowl and they’re not there to extend the hand of friendship.
The setting of Loch Lomond is an apt one for this particular adventure, the cold, frozen lake, with no comfort or welcome surroundings parallels greatly with the Buchman family’s plight as they try in vein to work out their differences and stick together as a unit. It also serves as an excellent base of operations for the Wirrn to conduct the nasty business of attempting to kill everyone they encounter.
As hidden family secrets come to light, we are offered some real, down to earth arguments, not about aliens or giant insects but about love, adultery and betrayal. When Wirrn Isle starts, it’s a cold and bleak affair but by the time it ends pretty much any hope for happiness has been thrown out of the window completely.
Colin Baker gives us a far more gritty presentation of the Doctor’s sixth incarnation, not as callous as his early television stories but much more separated from the humans that he’s trying to save, echoes of the fourth Doctor bleed through in this tale as the Doctor doesn’t have time to mourn those that don’t make it out alive. Lisa Greenwood also gives us a noticeably more affected version of Flip, for all her running about in the previous two tales she’s bought back down to Earth with a heavy thump and really put through the emotional and physical wringer here.
A sad tale of loss, envy, greed and irrational jealousy, Wirrn Isle is also a great way to end Flip’s trilogy of tales and showcase exactly how well Lisa Greenwood gets on as the Doctor’s companion. Listen to this on a frosty Sunday afternoon for the full effect.
Wirrn Isle is available now from www.bigfinish.com on CD for £14.99 or to download for £12.99.