Doctor Who: Enemy Aliens (Destiny of the Doctor)

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Responding to a message from his future self, the Doctor leads Charley on a ripping escapade to discover the secret of the Enemy Aliens.

Enemy Aliens is performed, for the most part, by India Fisher, who plays Charley Pollard alongside the Eighth and (spoiler!) Sixth incarnations of the Doctor. Charley is the first companion to originate from the Big Finish audio canon, and has been wildly popular and successful. Introduced in Paul McGann’s debut Storm Warning, and returning recently in The Light at the End, the character will will soon be heard in her own much-anticipated series.

Charley is a great companion, a self-styled Edwardian Adventuress, she’s funny and plucky and incredibly likeable. It’s a shame we’re unlikely to see someone like her on the television series again; she’s not from modern-day Earth, and she’s posh. India Fisher is a consummate audio performer. She’s great both narrating and acting as Charley, while giving a good rendition of McGann’s emphases. Her co-star Michael Maloney provides a suave counterpoint, while verbally matching pace with India. The slightly more literary style also lets us in one her characters thoughts in a way the usual  audio plays do not allow.

The story reminds me of The 39 Steps, a book I absolutely love. The time travellers end up being chased across the country by shadowy enemies, unsure of who they can trust. They even stop briefly in Carlisle and Gretna. It’s a rare and exciting event when the place I live pops up in a Doctor Who story;  particularly when it isn’t describing Carlisle as the opposite of bliss! The story is set in 1935, close to Charley’s own time, which gives her an advantage for once, in terms of knowing the customs and culture.

The story is written with flair; rich language and verbose alliteration suits both the genre and Charley. There’s clever word-play, double-meanings and puns at work, which creates a huge twist you never see coming and demands a re-listen to listen to the clues again.

The best compliment I can pay this story is that it is up there with this TARDIS team’s first two seasons together, which is when this is set. It really recaptures the playfulness and joie de vivre of their early adventures; the innocence that was lost from Zagreus onwards.

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Order Enemy Aliens from Amazon:

Doctor Who: Enemy Aliens (Destiny of the Doctor 8) (Dr Who Destiny of the Doctor 8)

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