When thinking back to Jon Pertwee’s first full series of Doctor Who, one often remembers the high amount of bureaucratic pen pushers that tried to stand in the Doctor’s way. From The Silurians to The Ambassadors of Death and especially in Inferno, that’s not to say that it didn’t happen in other Third Doctor stories but in Pertwee’s first year in the role, the planet Earth threw every snob nosed committee member they could at him.
The Last Post, the latest Companion Chronicle from Big Finish starring Caroline John as Liz Shaw, seems to be James Goss’ “revenge story” – one that channels his frustrations over interfering types and gives them quite the thrashing they deserve. In fact if the 1970 series of Doctor Who had had anything like an end of series finale story, then this would have been perfect.
Liz meets with her mother, played with a strength and courage by Rowena Cooper that deserves her own separate story with the Third Doctor, to discuss the matter of several high up bureaucratic colleagues from various committees that have been receiving letters telling them exactly when and how they will die. However, Liz’s mother, whilst on the side of all things good, knows about events taking place and even has a few ideas as to who’s behind them. This leads to a rather dramatic and beautiful cliffhanger at the end of part one which rather leaves you enthralled and engaged for the stories well paced and exciting second half.
The Last Post is full of nods and winks to Jon and John’s first and only series of Doctor Who together, stories are interwoven here and explanations of suspicious activity of individuals from television episodes are tied into the overall plot. There’s a lot to make Doctor Who fans smile, especially in part two when revelations about the mysterious Doomsday Clock all start to make sense.
Of course, this is sadly the last story that Caroline John recorded for Big Finish before she passed away but this is a wonderful adventure for her to finish her fourty two year tenure on Doctor Who with. It feels very much like Goss has managed to take the best of Liz Shaw and write a personal and delicate love letter to the character. This is one of the stronger Companion Chronicles of 2012 and an essential purchase for fans of the Pertwee era or, as Season 7 should be remembered, the Liz Shaw era.
The Last Post is available from www.bigfinish.com on CD or download now.