Another Christmas sale present to myself: Death in Blackpool by Alan Barnes, directed by Barnaby Edwards.
The Eighth Doctor returned for the start of his fourth Big Finish series with this seasonal story featuring Sheridan Smith as companion Lucie Miller, and all she wants to do is get home for a traditional family Christmas in her home town. But events conspire to leave her fighting for her life while the Doctor has to deal with some loose ends from a previous adventure and the Zygon who fell to earth.
This is one of those trapped inside stories where the Doctor and his companion adventure in a psychic landscape. It is also a single CD like the rest of the Eighth Doctor adventures. Strangely It doesn't even split the story into two parts but just trots straight on to the end. Surely all Doctor Who fans love a cliffhanger leading into that famous electronic scream of the theme music? It is one of the features that I enjoy in the four parter monthly releases and I missed it here.
On the plus side Paul McGann continues to impress me as the most naturalistic of the actors currently playing the Doctor for Big Finish. I'm not sure if I can choose between him and Peter Davison as my favourite incarnation at the moment. Their recent outings in Dark Eyes and The Burning Prince are my pick of the best releases from 2012.
Meanwhile what more can I say about Sheridan Smith that hasn't already been covered in all the Sunday colour supplements. She is flavour of the month on stage and screen and still manages to come across as a likeable and plucky girl next door in the Tardis
On the down side it is rather short and self-contained and lacks the broad canvas of something like Dark Eyes. It is possible that listening to the Eighth Doctor adventures would require a slight adjustment in my expectations. Not bad for my £2.99 in the sale but not one of my favourites. McGann and Smith lift it from a middle of the road score to a just above average 3 out of 5 Blackpool illuminations.