Starring Sylvester McCoy
by Matt Fitton
Out Now
Afterlife is the 181st release in the Big Finish Doctor Who monthly range, it picks up right where Gods and Monsters left off back in September last year. Hex is dead and Ace is holding the Doctor responsible.
Writer, Matt Fitton has done it again. This feels like unchartered territory for Doctor Who, only three companions have died in Doctor Who history; the short-lived Katarina and Sara Kingdom and the longer serving Adric. Even for the latter, the aftermath felt like it was brushed over fairly quickly. For the first time, a companion dies and we get an entire episode to explore not only the loss of a friend and loved one, but the fallout for everything the scheming Seventh Doctor has to answer for. It’s such a brave decision and runs almost all as one unedited scene.
The next three episodes form a more standardly structured story; this continuation certainly matches up to the ground breaking first episode. Ace demands that the Doctor pay a visit to to 21st century Liverpool to break the news to Hex’s grandmother.

Initially it seems like an odd to choice for a December release, the story is set around New Year’s and while not exactly festive it does reflect those familiar confrontational Christmas dinners where we air our family disagreements and problems. We get to see a whole new side to the usually Machiavellian Seventh Doctor, here he’s like a child looking for forgiveness. It really brings out the young/old nature we sometimes see in the character. Without wanting to spoil this excellent story, we also get to see a very dark side to the Doctor, that feels reminiscent of Tennant’s Doctor in the 2011 story The Waters of Mars.

Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred as Ace are at their individual bests, it’s great to hear more from Amy Pemberton as Private Sally Morgan and Philip Oliver as the late Hex. The story certainly ends on an aptly placed question mark, and I personally can’t wait to see where this story will go next…
Afterlife is an incredibly exciting continuation of the on-going Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex story arc and is so impressive and well written it deserves a listen, even for those who may not be following the series.
Thanks to Big Finish


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