Thursday, February 14, 2013

House of Cards-A Companion Chronicle [2nd Doctor, Jamie, Polly+Ben]

This may be rather short as I'm struggling to put together a review that doesn't spoil this story for the listeners.

This is - almost - a game of two halves. I was feeling slightly disappointed with the first episode. Something about Polly's reaction to the 'monsters' didn't ring entirely true to me and the set-up seemed rather tired: a gambling casino. An alien gambling casino. With 'monsters'. Whoopee.

But things began to get more interesting as we rolled towards the cliffhanger. Then the second episode when off somewhere I wasn't expecting at all. It got all rather clever and interesting.

The final confrontation between Doctor and villain was amusingingly done and felt spot on for the Second Doctor.

The other bothersome thing about this one is it is the first time - with a Companion Chronicle - that the obvious gaps in the cast really hit home.You wanted to hear Patrick Troughton and Michael Craze, but you can't.

I always had a soft spot for Michael Craze's Ben, especially with Anneke Wills as Polly. There was something 'real' about those two as companions. You could picture both of them as normal people. Their reactions always seemed pretty normal too: Ben's cynicism and distrust of the newly regenerated Doctor, Polly's arguements with the Cybermen. So for me his absence was keenly felt.

Anneke Wills and Fraser Hines do a good job with the reading and the drama. Whilst I'm heaping praise I should add that Fraser's Jamie is still the companion by which all other companions should be judged. There's an unusual amount of maleness in the TARDIS at this point in time and Fraser Hines does his usual excellent job. Especially when he describes Jamies response to something he couldn't possibly understand. (Sometimes I think I'm over-avoiding spoilers. If that's actually possible).

So - after my initial doubts - I judge this another successful Companion Chronicle. They'll be missed when they're gone as the standards are consistently high. This isn't up there with Last Post or The Time Museum for example but its fun, fiendish and feels just right as a Second Doctor story.

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