Memory Lane

Doctor Who: Memory LaneThe TARDIS lands in the middle of a suburban living room, but the woman whose home has just been invaded by a time machine seems unperturbed by the sudden appearance of a Police Box, or the three people who walk out of it. The Doctor tries to take things in his stride, until he notices that the television snooker tournament is being interrupted repeatedly by the same series of scenes taking place aboard a spaceship with two astronauts. Even more incongruous is the fact that the woman who lives in this house has a grandson who she insists is 10 years old, but her “grandson” is quite clearly one of the two astronauts seen on TV. C’rizz runs afoul of a woman who would appear to be the other surviving astronaut, and the Doctor is alarmed to find that the street this house is on has no beginning and no end – and worse yet, the TARDIS is being stolen on the back of the ice cream truck. But how can the ice cream truck escape from this street if no one else can, and why is one of the astronauts acting like a child, building Lego models of his abandoned spacecraft?

Order this CD written by Eddie Robson
directed by Gary Russell
music by David Darlington

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), India Fisher (Charley Pollard), Conrad Westmaas (C’rizz), Nina Baden-Sempter (Mrs Braudy), Sara Carver (Kim Kronotska), Finlay Glen (Mawvik), Neil Reidman (Tom Braudy), Charlie Ross (Lest), Neville Watchurst (Argot), Anneke Wills (Lady Louisa Pollard)

Notes: The Doctor’s sudden urge for a Sky Ray Ice Lolly (and the accompanying trading cards) is an in-joke for long-term Doctor Who fans; that brand of frozen confectionery was famous for its Doctor Who promotion in the 1960s and ’70s, which offered free Doctor Who trading cards. An example of a TV advertisement for this promotion can be found on the video of the 1993 documentary More Than 30 Years In The TARDIS.

Timeline: after Something Inside and before Absolution

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green

Review: Yet another things-are-not-as-they-seem head trip for the eighth Doctor, Charley and C’rizz, Memory Lane at least benefits from an effectively-created atmosphere: the suburban setting completely stymies the listener’s attempts to figure out what’s going on. But this TARDIS team has stumbled into so many created environments, time traps and other bizarre plot contrivances that the whole thing feels a bit “been there, done that” by the time you’re halfway through the story.

Doctor WhoThe cast is excellent across the board, and even if the story didn’t keep me fascinated all the way through, the performances did. India Fisher and Conrad Westmaas carry Memory Lane, with an able assist from the two astronauts, played by Sara Carver and Neil Reidman. Plotwise, there are little bits and pieces along the way that seem to be setup for something else (i.e. the repeated “Greensleeves” musical motif) that end up being red herrings.

It’s interesting to note that the eighth Doctor’s next Big Finish appearance was the series of adventures for BBC7 featuring Sheridan Smith as Lucie, which proved very popular – and it’s even more interesting to note that the next two adventures feeding this particular configuration of the TARDIS crew dispensed with, in order, C’rizz and Charley to clear the decks for more eighth Doctor/Lucie stories. I’ll be the first to say that there was a sameness creeping into the eighth Doctor/Charley/C’rizz audio adventures, though this wasn’t always the case – it’s more a case of a series of strikingly similar plotlines than that particular cast growing fatigued. Memory Lane, therefore, can be seen as the beginning of the end for this phase of the eighth Doctor’s audio journeys.