Death In Blackpool

Doctor Who: Death In BlackpoolHaving survived the adventure with the spiders of Metebelis 3, Lucie is ready for normalcy: Christmas at home with her family in Blackpool, including her Aunty Pat. The Doctor is surprised to see that Aunty Pat – actually the Zygon warlord Hagoth – has aged considerably, the result of a Zygon disease. But something is amiss: the TARDIS has landed in 2008, and Lucie is still at her home, not yet having begun her travels with the Doctor. A mysterious driver in a yellow car stalks the time travelers, and then finally strikes: Lucie ends up the victim of a hit-and-run, hospitalized and in a coma – but someone else is in her head with her, trying to rob her of her will to live… someone who’s there because Hagoth has made a critical error in judgement.

Order this CDwritten by Alan Barnes
directed by Barnaby Edwards
music by Howard Carter

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Helen Lederer (Aunty Pat), David Schofield (Billy), Jon Glover (Father Christmas / Security Guard), Harriet Kershaw (Natasha / Marika / Receptionist), Nicholas Briggs (Shopkeeper)

Timeline: after Worldwide Web and before Situation Vacant

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green

Review: Released at around the same time as The End Of Time was hitting the television airwaves, Death In Blackpool is eerily similar: an oddly dark tale which uses Christmas as a backdrop and bids farewell to a much-loved character. And, like The End Of Time, Blackpool has more of a dose of hand-wringing melodrama than what we’re used to.

On the one hand, it is good to see the Aunty Pat plot thread come home to roost in a not-insignificant way, rather than just being forgotten. If Lucie had left the Doctor’s company none the wiser, it might not have said a lot about the intelligence of a character whose above-average intelligence the series has spent a lot of time pointing out. The biggest drawback may be the degree of melodrama to which we’re treated; it’s really one of Big Finish’s “soapiest” Doctor Who installments, with tearful exclamations aplenty.

I’m not adverse to some expansion and development of the Zygon mythos, but the whole idea of a subspecies called the Zynogs was just a bit snicker-inducing. Death In Blackpool is awfully heavy compared to most eighth Doctor/Lucie stories, and that can make it a bit of an exhausting listen. Sheridan Smith makes the most of her exit, but I couldn’t help but feel that perhaps a better departure for Lucie was warranted, rather than a tale thick with anguish. The character deserved to go out on a high note – or at least a higher one than this.