Just weeks into her travels with the Doctor, Charley Pollard
finds herself on board a strange airship bound for... who
knows where? Her fellow passengers include a rag and bone
man, a seismologist, a farmer, a diplomat, an assassin and
a dead man. One thing they all have in common is an encounter
with a strange alien who should perhaps have left them alone...
is the first Short Trips collection to feature a framing
narrative, though Big Finish's Bernice Summerfield anthology
Life During Wartime also used such a device. However,
the narrative in this instance is rather looser than the one
employed by Paul Cornell in Life During Wartime, as
Charley talks to each of the airship's passengers in turn
to discuss how they all crossed paths with the Doctor. Many
of the linking sequences simply amount to one passenger ending
his or her discussion with Charley before the next one comes
forward to speak.
linking the individual stories, the framing narrative also
limits them to an extent. Because each of the storytellers
must inevitably end up becoming a passenger on board the airship
(which, by the way, is not the R-101 from Charley's
debut audio drama Storm Warning), many of the stories
do not feel quite complete in their own right. The respective
conclusions to Iain McLauglin and Claire Bartlett's The
Time Lord's Story, Trevor Baxendale's The Ghost's Story,
Peter Anghelides' The Seismologist's Story, J. Shaun
Lyon's The Inquisitor's Story (which, incidentally,
doesn't feature Darkel from The Trial of a Time Lord
and the Gallifrey miniseries), Eddie Robson's The
Juror's Story, Todd Green's The Farmer's Story
and Andy Russell's The Republican's Story would seem
unsatisfying or just plain confusing if read out of context.
said that, three of the above are among my favourite stories
from this collection. The Time Lord's Story is a substantial
yarn featuring the Eighth Doctor/Romana/K-9 team last heard
in Big Finish's Shada. The Juror's Story is
a sci-fi spin on Twelve Angry Men, in which the Doctor's
role in the jury at a murder trial becomes ever more complex
and manipulative. As well as being a gripping tale of political
unrest and deadly disease (specifically the Black Death),
The Republican's Story also provides an ingenious context
for the Fourth Doctor's throwaway line in Pyramids of Mars:
"We don't want to be blamed for starting a fire. There was
enough of that in 1666!"
a lover of continuity, I similarly appreciated Colin Brake's
The Rag and Bone Man's Story. Whilst suggesting reasons
why the TARDIS required a lengthy stopover in 1963 and why
the Doctor didn't deal with the Hand of Omega upon his return
to 20th-century London in The War Machines, Brake also
manages to tell a most enjoyable and witty tale. As with The
Time Lord's Story, Andrew Frankham's The Dead Man's
Story deals with a rare TARDIS team: in this instance,
the Third Doctor and Jeremy Fitzoliver, as heard in the radio
dramas The Paradise of Death and The Ghosts of N-Space.
favourite of all is Andrew Collins' The Assassin's Story,
a blackly comical yet appalling tale revolving around a history-altering
attempt on the life of Margaret Thatcher. Appropriately enough,
given its mid-1980s setting, this story features my best-loved
Doctor, the Fifth.
less successful are the over-complicated Seismologist's
Story and the frankly perplexing Bushranger's Story,
by Sarah Groenewegen. Meanwhile The Diplomat's Story,
by Kathryn Sullivan, is good, although the Sixth Doctor and
Evelyn depart less than half way through, which seems odd.
most anthologies, Repercussions has its high points
and its low points. Ironically, though, given its title, the
end result seems somewhat inconsequential.
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