Set during the early days with the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan, A Small Semblance of Home sees The Doctor seemingly engrossed in an experiment.
The Doctor seems to have shut everyone out, going from planet to planet looking for something in particular. Barbara is fed up, annoyed at the Doctor’s erratic behaviour. The Doctor’s scientific curiosity has gotten the gang into trouble before. Will he do the same again now?
There are some entries into the ‘Short Trips’ range that are so crammed with plot they need the length of a full adventure for breathing room. There are other entries that are excellent character pieces, which is where the format of this range really shines. ‘A Small Semblance of Home’, written by Paul Phipps of ‘Dark Shadows’ fame, has written a story which falls into the latter.
Perhaps out of all the characters to have lacked some character development on screen during her time, Barbara Wright didn’t get much development. Phipps gives Barbara the focus she needed. The script is loaded with small details that give a hitherto unseen insight into Barbara’s mind and how she is coping with her newfound status as time-traveller. Of course, Phipps doesn’t leave the others in the cold. The Doctor, Ian and Susan get things to do and it really does feel like a story from their time onscreen. Whether that detracts from Barbara’s role in the story will ultimately come down to personal preference.
Carole Ann Ford
Always a welcome presence in Big Finish, Carole Ann Ford narrates this story. One of the few surviving cast members from those early days, to have anyone else narrate an early First Doctor story would be sacrilege! She effortlessly captures the spirits of the main cast and while her Susan is delightful, she also makes Ian and Barbara feel like they did on television. For really engrosses you in the story, creating images in the mind that last long after the run-time is over. Carole Ann Ford is one of the gems of the ‘Doctor Who’ universe and it is hoped that she continues to work with Big Finish for a long time to come!
‘A Small Semblance of Home’ is sublime. Everything about it oozes a must-listen feel. The script from Paul Phipps is beautiful, a true love letter to the early days of the show. His handle on the characters is excellent, he paints a truly vivid picture with his use of words. Hopefully this won’t be his only stop in the ‘Doctor Who’ universe. Carole Ann Ford is a sheer delight as always, her narration elevating an already tremendous script. As director, Lisa Bowerman is particularly powerful as she seems to bring the love out of the script.
One of the continuing delights of this range is that there seems to be no end to the kind of stories that can be told. One could be an apocalyptic epic or a sombre goodbye. One could be a comedy and one could be an outstanding character-piece. That is what this one is.
Doctor Who: Short Trips Monthly is a series of new short stories read by an original cast member.
Release #45 is a First Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan story
It’s become his obsession. Through the hottest of deserts and the coldest of snows, the TARDIS crew have searched for the one remaining piece of the Doctor’s most important experiment. But now Barbara’s exhausted. Why hasn’t the Doctor learned his lesson? What’s so important that his scientific curiosity outweighs the safety of the crew once again? And will his latest arrogant trespass be the last he ever makes?
Producer Ian Atkins
Script Editor Ian Atkins
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs
Written By: Paul Phipps
Directed By: Lisa Bowerman
Carole Ann Ford (Narrator)