Monday, 5 September 2011
Doctor Who: The Perpetual Bond, by Simon Guerrier – reviewed by Stephen Theaker
Like the other Companion Chronicles CDs, The Perpetual Bond falls midway between an audiobook and a play. Peter Purves narrates most of the story, and reads the dialogue of Steven and the Doctor, while Tom Allen narrates other sections and plays Oliver Harper, a shady sort with a good heart who seems likely to appear in future stories. Both acquit themselves well, but the story suffers from Doctor Who’s peculiar problem: a programme for children whose spin-offs are often aimed at adults. In this story that manifests itself in a setting and plot that’s rather dull for children, read in a way that seems patronising to an adult.
That aside, I did enjoy it. It feels very true to that period of the show, and the first Doctor is very much in character, a twinkle in his eye, a naive sort of craftiness to his dealings with the villains. Its reflections on the relationship between a government and its people are very pertinent to the present day, while more positively it offers a time traveller’s view of how progress might be measured from one era to the next: more spectacles, more teeth, and so on. We tend to expect the future to be worse, but I think we’re all glad to not live in a time when diabetic children would simply die upon the disease’s onset.
The two-episode structure works well. It avoids the need for too much superfluous action and lets the idea take centre stage. A very pleasant way to spend an hour.
Doctor Who, The Companion Chronicles: The Perpetual Bond, by Simon Guerrier, read by Peter Purves and Tom Allen, Big Finish, 1xCD. This review originally appeared in BFS Journal #3.