Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Uncertainty Principle-A Companion Chronicle

Another diversion into a newly released Big Finish Companion Chronicle, The Uncertainty Principle.

This is the third in a series featuring Zoe Herriot (Wendy Padbury). Now I haven't heard the first two in the series, which is something I intend to sort out as soon as possible, but it doesn't particularly matter.

There's enough sign-posting of what's happened previously for you to get the gist of what's happened: a mysterious 'Company' wants access to Zoe's missing memories - for unspecified reasons. This Company is ruthless and Zoe's life is at risk. Her interrogator is a woman called Jen (Charlie Hayes), who has issues of her own.

I've mentioned a number of times in the blog perhaps the saddest departure of a companion (or companions) is Zoe and Jamie's exit at the end of the War Games. The fact that both of them have their memories wiped remembering only their first adventure with the Doctor is achingly sad and played beautifully by Troughton, Padbury and Hines.

Zoe's final line - "Oh yes, I thought I'd forgotten something important. But it is nothing." - is a heart-breaker and these stories are about trying to get to Zoe's hidden memories.

As the story starts Zoe isn't convinced of the truth of her own memories either, initially fobbing her previous discussions with Jen off as 'just stories'. But further probing leads to her remembering another adventure, that starts with a funeral.

It's a nice little story too. [Possible spoiler follows but I'm not 100% sure it really is so if it is I apologise and if it isn't then nothing to worry about then] Nothing too drastic is at stake but we do get to see Zoe's heart get a little broken, which she was probably glad to forget and we get some rather interesting lectures on Feynman Computers; Quantum mechanics and one of my favourite bits of physics, Schrodinger's Cat. In fact Zoe's memory seems to be a experiment of a similar kind. She remembers nothing until under observation, then she remembers everything. As she says, "I remember everything, I remember nothing"

Wendy Padbury does a fine job and again Big Finish don't make her struggle to act the age she was as Zoe (when I think she was a bit higher pitch) and that helps. She's a wearier, cynical Zoe than the television one, which I also like. She doesn't do a bad Jamie and Doctor impression either.

The question with The Companion Chronicles of course is whether my nostalgia for these old characters makes me softer on them than I might be on a new adventure and perhaps there's an element of that. But to me these stories seems to be deliberately more reflective and I like that. In the end there's nothing wrong with nostalgia in small doses, it is when the past becomes a glorified, unreal standard by which all things present are judged that it is problematic.

Charlie Hayes - who is Wendy Padbury's daughter apparently - does good supporting work and all in all this is rather good stuff.

The Uncertainty Principle - Buy it here if you like...

I'll go back to the previous two at some point and see how it all clicks together. I think that's 'Echoes of Grey' and 'The Memory Cheats' but I'm sure someone out there will correct me if I'm wrong.

Anyway I hope you enjoy. All feedback, responses etc joyfully received. Providing swearing is kept to a minimum obviously.

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