Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Big Finish - The Haunting of Thomas Brewster

From 2008 comes The Haunting of Thomas Brewster by Jonathan Morris, directed by Barnaby Edwards.

The Doctor and Nyssa are adrift in Victorian England without access to the Tardis. The Doctor seems to have set himself up as a Gentleman scientist with a new companion, Nyssa is somewhat perplexed, and a young man called Thomas Brewster is being haunted by his dead mother.

Well, it has haunting in the title so I was expecting some ghostly goings on, and for a while it was pretty good. Eventually the Doctor has to explain that the mysterious events are due to the usual alien invasion and it all deflates somewhat. Why can't Doctor Who ever feature a real ghost? OK so there is no such thing as ghosts, but in reality there is no telepathy or time machines. We accept them as part of the Whoniverse but all the hauntings turn out to be caused by aliens. Hopefully someone will read this and point me to a Big Finish or original series story with a real ghost.

In the mean time this story is a fairly good Fifth Doctor adventure and I did like the idea of him spending one year living in Victorian London as a scientist and speaker at the Royal Society. As Brian my co-host on British Invaders pointed out it would be fun to hear further stories from that missing year without the Tardis at some point. I also enjoyed his new companion Robert McIntosh, and rather hoped that he would become a continuing character instead of Thomas Brewster. Peter Davison is very likeable as ever, Sarah Sutton doesn't have much to do, and the supporting cast of Leslie Ash, Christian Coulson and John Pickard are all good. The cover art is suitably atmospheric and there are some nice street noises from the Victorian setting.

There were two problems which rather spoilt this production for me. Firstly I don't like it when the Doctor is less intelligent than the listener. When someone starts stealing various items of scientific equipment it is fairly obvious to us what they are up to but it takes the Doctor ages to figure it out. The other problem was a repeated musical theme which really jarred with me as not fitting the time period. It sounded like it would have fitted a futuristic story fine but I didn't like it here, and every time it was used it threw me off.

As ever when I get excited by the title and cover art I can be disappointed and this was a little dull. A middling 2.5 out of 5 electromagnetic field generators. Let's press on to the Crimes of Thomas Brewster.

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