The latest entry into the world of Short Trips at Big Finish, The Same Face by Julian Richards, gives us some more Time-Lord trouble while managing to have plenty of fun with some meta-references!
Written by Julian Richards
No stranger to the Short Trips range, Julian Richards has contributed a number of entries, all of which have gone down well with the fans. Happily, The Same Face promises much of the same. This is the first time he has written for the Third Doctor and Jo Grant but he captures the characters from the first scene. This story seems to be set sometime during Season Nine as Jo feels a lot more suited to alien planets and their political infrastructure.
With Katy Manning on narration duties telling the story from Jo’s perspective, one might expect the Doctor to take something of a backseat. Fortunately this is not the case as Richards’ writing of the Third Doctor is spot on. An incarnation of the Doctor who isn’t afraid to dabble in politics or the affairs of other worlds but who also has the wisdom to stand back and watch before interfering.
Richards provides an adventure and something of a political thriller, full of killers and assassinations. We get a funny line about why all Time Lords who leave Gallifrey have to pick a name for themselves like ‘The Doctor’ or ‘The Master’. As the story rattles along to its conclusion, Richards rightly keeps things light, despite some surprisingly high-stakes, with a personal confrontation for the Doctor and Jo with a surprising reveal of the true villain.
The script is also packed with some nice imagery and plenty of descriptive dialogue to keep the narrator and listener on their toes. It all culminates to make a very entertaining adventure that will leave listeners satisfied.
Narrated by Katy Manning
As is customary for a Third Doctor adventure, Katy Manning is on hand to give us the narration and she does a terrific job as usual. Jo Grant continues to be a great companion on audio and Manning continues to perform the role with glee and gusto. Jo comes off rather well here, showing us how intelligent and instinctive she is. She makes fast friends with Felicity Morgan, in much the same way she did with Ky in The Mutants.
Manning’s interpretation of Jon Pertwee is excellent too, conjuring his spirit and pitching her performance perfectly. Pertwee would be proud that his beloved incarnation of the Doctor is in such safe hands at Big Finish and The Same Face continues the trend of strong Third Doctor stories with Manning evoking the era perfectly.
Manning’s interpretation of the surprise character from the end of the second-act is also excellent. You can imagine the original actor performing those scenes and that isn’t something easy for someone else to emulate. Manning should therefore be highly praised for being able to do that. No doubt they would be very impressed too!
The Same Face continues the strong run of entries in the Short Trips range and will no doubt prove to be popular. Not only is the script from Julian Richards a very strong one which will please fans of the Third Doctor, Katy Manning shines in the Big Finish sound booth. Also Nicholas Briggs does a great job directing this piece, creating vivid images for the listeners.
This is another fantastic story and one not to be missed!
No one survives in politics on Samael. Felicity Morgan has learnt this the hard way, as she keeps being assassinated. However, she has a secret. A secret that has kept her alive. A secret that has propelled her to the top job. When the Doctor and Jo arrive on Samael, they learn the impossible truth.
One woman. One face. Many lives.