The Doctor’s companions find themselves united and in deep trouble. Steven and Ian barely have the time to reintroduce themselves before they are pursued through a mazelike structure by a Dalek, while Polly and Sara Kingdom get to know each other while being pursued by dinosaurs. Nyssa, imprisoned in a cell, has only Daleks for company. The Doctor’s friends and allies join forces, certain that their time-traveling old friend is involved. When the Doctor finally makes an appearance, having just escaped from a platoon of Sontarans, his friends who knew his first and second faces are startled by his youthful appearance, and explanations ard in order. The Doctor has just escaped from the Death Zone on his home planet, Gallifrey, and believes that this place and its combatants – former companions and enemies alike – were also intended to be taken there, but were misplaced by whoever controls the Time Scoop. Now the Doctor must find a way to help his friends escape… without also releasing his enemies.
Cast: Peter Davison (The Doctor), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), William Russell (Ian Chesterton), Peter Purves (Steven Taylor), Jean Marsh (Sara Kingdom), Anneke Wills (Polly), Dan Starkey (Sontarans), Nicholas Briggs (Daleks)
Notes: The Five Companions was the subscriber-only exclusive released in 2011 alongside the audio story Army Of Death. Dan Starkey has played numerous Sontarans since they began appearing in the current Doctor Who TV series, as well as playing the part of the imp Randall Moon in Russell T. Davies’ series Wizards vs. Aliens, but most Who fans know him best as the Doctor’s Sontaran ally, Strax.
Timeline: from the Doctor’s perspective, this entire adventure happens during The Five Doctors, between the Doctor’s escape from the Cybermen and his appearance in the transmat in the Time Lords’ capitol.
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: A companion piece (sorry, had to go there) to The Five Doctors, The Five Companions presents us with the possibility that more companions and enemies were present than those seen on screen. But fittingly, we’re given the Big Finish editions of these companions: Steven and Polly and Ian have grown older, and this is the Sara Kingdom depicted in the trilogy of stories played out in the Companion Chronicles releases which resurrect the doomed TARDIS traveler (after a fashion). The “why didn’t you come back to check on me” lament typical of so many companion reunions (School Reunion, The Gathering, Legend Of The Cybermen, Sarah Jane Adventures: The Death Of The Doctor) becomes something of a class-action complaint here. Of particular note is Steven’s (surprisingly un-bitter) feeling of having been left to sink or swim in a decidedly hostile situation (The Savages), and Polly feeling that all she ever did was fetch drinks for more important characters. The Doctor’s gentle reminder that she did more than that is one of The Five Companions‘ highlights.
As is typical with Big Finish’s year-end Christmas gift for subscribers, The Five Companions is for serious fans only, as it doesn’t slow down for those not steeped in either the fates of the various Hartnell-era companions or those not well-versed in The Five Doctors. But if you do have at least a passing acquaintance with classic series lore, it’s still an enjoyable way to spend an hour.