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Audio Book Review


Doctor Who
The Companion Chronicles
The Perpetual Bond


Author: Simon Guerrier
Read by: Peter Purves
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £8.99 (CD), £7.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 506 8
Available 28 February 2011

When the TARDIS materialises in a very familiar junkyard in the 1960s, the Doctor and Steven are soon embroiled in a mystery in the City of London. Who are the enigmatic bowler-hatted businessmen with their deadly umbrellas? What secret is young Oliver Harper desperately trying to conceal? Contracts have been signed, a deal is in place, and the Doctor discovers that perhaps not even he can stop a terrible business...

The presence of bowler hats and umbrellas, and a cool ’60s-style soundtrack (by Richard Fox and Lauren Yason) initially led me to expect an homage to The Avengers or some other film series, but the plot of The Perpetual Bond is fairly traditional Who. There are nostalgic references to 76 Totter’s Lane (to which the TARDIS returns by sheer coincidence), Ian Chesterton, Barbara Wright, Katarina, Bret Vyon and Sara Kingdom, and the Doctor defeats his foe with typical cunning.

Actually, Simon Guerrier’s plot feels rather slight. Thinking back over the events that take place, the level of incident seems more like that of a short story than a two-part Who serial. I had expected the Totter’s Lane landing to have more significance, but really it’s just a means to bring the Doctor back to 1960s London. However, the story’s context adds weight to the proceedings. It opens with a moving recap of the ending of The Daleks’ Master Plan, with Steven (Peter Purves) mourning the loss of so many recent friends, especially Sara.

Fortunately, he soon gains a new one in the intriguing guise of Oliver Harper (Tom Allen), a businessman with a secret, who joins the TARDIS crew at the end of this adventure, the first in a trilogy of stories featuring the character. Having given new companions to the Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors, it’s great that Big Finish can now do the same for the First Doctor. However, I must say that I think Oliver would have needed a closer shave to hold down a job in the City - the stubble depicted on the front cover simply would not do!

As is discussed during the 14 minutes of interviews at the end of this CD, The Perpetual Bond often feels more like a full-cast audio drama than a two-hander audio book. This is largely thanks to Purves’s impersonation of Hartnell’s Doctor and the modulation of one of the performers’ voices (I can’t tell which one) to portray the alien Fulgurites.

This is an intriguing tale, though I suspect that its introduction of Oliver is the aspect that will leave a perpetual impression.


Richard McGinlay

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