Lucie finds a companion of her own in the latest Short Trip for the Eighth Doctor.
The latest in Big Finish’s ‘Short Trips’ range is an Eighth Doctor adventure penned by TV Who alum Andrew Smith. In 1980, Smith became the youngest writer for the series with ‘Full Circle‘ – the story that kicked off the E-space trilogy and introduced Adric. Since then, he contributes regularly to the Whoniverse via Big Finish.
Sheridan Smith narrates the story as Lucie Miller is separated from the Doctor after coming under attack. She finds herself stranded on the planet Cerberin – a world famous for its deadly storms. To make matters worse, she’s picked up a stowaway. When a gang of alien assassins descends on them, Lucie must defend her young friend and find the Doctor. But what’s so important about this boy?
At its core, ‘Flashpoint’ is a story about choices. Lucie has to choose if she can live with sacrificing the boy to his fate and save her own neck. But it also extends out to the supporting characters as well. Everyone has to either make a decision or live with their past mistakes. It creates an interesting set of parallels among the gangsters of Cerberin.
Smith & Smith
Sheridan Smith does a great job narrating this story, naturally matching the pace set by Smith the writer. The acting talents of Sheridan Smith OBE on stage and screen are unimpeachable. She became a fan-favourite companion when she was cast as Lucie Miller in the newly-minted Eighth Doctor Adventures in 2006. Though her time as Lucie has all but ended and Smith has gone on to great career heights, she still finds time to pay Big Finish a visit. In her second ‘Short Trips’ reading, the first being last year’s ‘The Curse of the Fugue‘, Smith has proven her narrating chops.
The ‘Short Trips’ stories typically involve the listener finding the Doctor and companion at an adventure-already-in-progress. But most of the time the story still features the Doctor prominently. Unusually, this is something of a Doctor-lite story as is common (albeit for scheduling reasons) in the television series. But with the Doctor missing for the vast majority of the story, it’s hard to say if this can be considered an Eighth Doctor story. It’s more accurately a Lucie Miller adventure. But what it lacks in Doctor it makes up for in theme. Smith has created a very relatable dilemma in the story. Take away the space station and the alien planet and ‘Flashpoint’ could just as easily be set in the modern world. The Doctor’s triumphant cavalry charge only to find himself a glorified taxi service was a satisfying way to end a story where Lucie was the focus.
Though the Doctor’s role in the story could have been bulked up, his absence makes for a very engaging listen. With clever themes behind the pen and a talented voice behind the microphone, this is a definite highlight in the ‘Short Trips’ line.
Blogtor Rating 7/10
Doctor Who: Short Trips Monthly is a series of new short stories read by an original cast member.
Release #31 is an Eighth Doctor and Lucie Miller story.
Cerberin: the famous storm world. Seen from space, it’s a spectacle of light and colour that draws tourists in their thousands.
Escaping an attack by gangster assassins, and separated from the Doctor, Lucie Miller finds herself stranded on the surface. The killers are in pursuit, she has a child to protect, and lightning is striking all around.
Then a shape approaches through the storm, moving with heavy footsteps…
Producer Ian Atkins
Script Editors Ian Atkins & Nicholas Briggs
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs
Written By: Andrew Smith
Directed By: Lisa Bowerman
Sheridan Smith (Narrator)