Having left Lucie on 22nd century Earth with Susan and Alex, the Doctor has been imprisoned in a facility where he is charged with maintaining a notoriously unreliable system preventing the local star from destroying the planets in its solar system. He is given artificial “assistants” – all of whom he quickly programs with Lucie’s voice and personality – and has made several jailbreak attempts, but is always drawn back into captivity by the responsibility of keeping billions of people safe from their own sun. Elsewhere in the universe, the Doctor’s help is needed, but how much blood will be on his hands if he pursues his own freedom?
Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Antony Costa (Hagan), Jeany Spark (Jelena), Richenda Carey (Gliss), Pandora Colin (Fash), Beth Chalmers (Shill / Computer)
Notes: The Doctor has been imprisoned for years on end in other audio adventures (Return Of The Daleks) and in print (“Seeing I”, which also saw the eighth Doctor locked up)
Timeline: at least six years after Relative Dimensions, and immediately before Lucie Miller
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: An interesting tale focused squarely on a companion-less eighth Doctor, Prisoner Of The Sun would be much more entertaining if the story hadn’t already been done more than once (in Doctor Who alone, never mind other media entities: see also the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode The Most Toys).
The cast is exceptional, bringing real gravity to the story, and kudos are due to Sheridan Smith for making Chloe and Daphne distinctly “not-Lucie.” Between Paul McGann and writer Eddie Robson, the eighth Doctor is also a marvel here, talking to himself without ever resorting to badly-scripted “verbal signposting” to describe anything purely visual (a bugbear of many an audio production, pro or amateur).
At the end of the story, though, it’s easy for the listener to feel that the Doctor isn’t the only one who’s been tricked into spinning his wheels for a while: Prisoner Of The Sun is the audio equivalent to the television episodes Bad Wolf and Utopia: fairly lightweight stories that are merely misdirection and build-up for the big finale at the end of the season. I don’t blame Robson for that: whatever story and script wound up in this slot during the “season” was going to be there simply to keep the Doctor away so Terrible Things could happen to require his attention in the season closer. In that respect, the eighth Doctor audio series has accomplished its mission of evoking the feel of RTD-era Doctor Who almost too well.