The Doctor and Lucie visit Earth a few years into Lucie’s future, at a time when a new religion called the Eightfold Truth has gained a foothold in Britain. The Doctor goes to assist scientists with a space probe that has mysteriously gone silent, while Lucie goes shopping and encounters her old nemesis, Karen, last seen with the Headhunter. Karen has joined the Eightfold Truth and says it has turned her life around, and at her urging, Lucie goes along to meet the other members of the Truth… and with the help of a blue crystal, they somehow make Lucie “realize” that her travels with the Doctor have been aimless, without purpose, and perhaps even part of a larger, sinister plan on the Doctor’s part. She turns her back on the Time Lord, though he’s not aware of the Eightfold Truth until he sees a TV interview with a journalist who hopes her new book will expose the movement as a cult built on a fraud. Gradually, the Doctor realizes that there’s a link between the Eightfold Truth and the failed space probe – and it’s only then that he discovers that Lucie has joined the Truth. Within that religious movement, an alien presence is gathering the power it will need to take over Earth… an old enemy who is working for an even older enemy of the Doctor, setting a trap for humanity and its constant defender.
Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Stephen Moore (Clark Goodman), Sophie Winkleman (Kelly Westwood), Sanjeev Bhaskar (Dr. Avishka Sangakkara), Katarina Olsson (The Headhunter), Kerry Godliman (Karen), Richard Earl (Rob), Anthony Spargo (David), Beth Chalmers (Queen), Barnaby Edwards (Newsreader)
Notes: Sophie Winkleman also guest starred on Red Dwarf, as the crew’s holographic nemesis in the 2009 revival miniseries Back To Earth. The Doctor mention’s NASA’s Messenger mission to Mercury, which is in fact a real mission to that planet, and one that’s still operating.
Timeline: after The Cannibalists and before Worldwide Web
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: One of the ideas behind the relaunch of the eighth Doctor audio adventures was to create a midway point between Big Finish’s homage to the original series and the style and pace of the new series. No story since the relaunch has exemplified that aim better than The Eightfold Truth, which just feels like a big season-ended written by Russell T. Davies. Its pacing, its emotional underpinnings, and its background references to media reactions to the story’s events show that someone’s been studying Davies’ style and studying it closely. One almost expects to hear McGann turn into Christopher Eccleston at the end of the story – it’s that much like the TV series under Davies’ direction.
It’s also a clever story with which to follow The Cannibalists – which shows the Doctor’s admiration for a belief system which brings hope to those who need it – in that The Eightfold Truth is basically a Doctor Who take on organized cults, and there are enough similarities between the Eightfold Truth and Scientology that there’s little subtlety. In fact, about the time that Lucie is declared the Chosen One, I had to stop myself from laughing out loud at the plot parallels to one of my all-time favorite episodes of South Park (not something I ever expected from Doctor Who).
The writing and pacing are sharp, the cast is excellent, and the whole thing captures the feel of the Russell T. Davies era and yet retains the feel of McGann’s “era” on audio.