The Ninth Doctor has joined Big Finish! Well… kind of. Christopher Eccleston hasn’t joined (yet (we can pray)) but Big Finish are giving us four new stories set within the Ninth Doctor’s era. The closest thing we’ve had so far was The Oncoming Storm from The Churchill Years box set last year, but now, Nine has a box set of his own. Today, I’ll be reviewing the penultimate story in The Ninth Doctor Chronicles, The Other Side.
Rose has invited a new friend on board the TARDIS, against the Doctor’s better judgement. But when the Time Lord tries to take his unwelcome guest home, a temporal tsunami cuts the journey short. The travellers find the source of the disturbance inside an abandoned cinema. Will Adam Mitchell help or hinder when the Doctor and Rose discover what is lurking on the other side of the screen?
You remember Adam right? The guy that joined in Dalek and left in The Long Game, a whole one episode later? Well he’s back, and we’re going to hear the Doctor, Rose and Adam in that week long gap between the two episodes. What exactly did they get up to? Scott Handcock endures to tell us.
We start as soon as Adam first goes aboard the TARDIS, and he gets a fairly lacklustre “it’s bigger on the inside” bit. Some might be underwhelmed, but I think it sums up Adam’s character perfectly. He means well, but he’s just a bit pathetic. Sadly, I can relate to Adam. Minus the brilliant genius bit.
If you remember the Doctor’s attitude towards Adam in Dalek, you’ll remember that he wasn’t that keen; in fact, he only let him journey with them to keep Rose happy. What I love about the Ninth Doctor is that he doesn’t beat about the bush, he does technically give Adam a trip in the TARDIS, but to Manchester in 2012. To Adam’s house. The Doctor promised him a trip in the TARDIS and he’s taken him to a fairly decent drop off point. How Ninth Doctor is that?
Of course, with this being the TARDIS, it doesn’t all go to plan, and after the titles, the TARDIS trio find themselves somewhere odd. Birmingham in 2012. I know, try not to shudder at the thought.
It seems like The Other Side is a mix of Doctor Who and Most Haunted, with a cinema crammed with strange activities and unexplained goings on. It seems somewhat apt that I’m reviewing this the same week that Knock Knock aired, it seems that Doctor Who really loves to do creepy well.
Around a third of the way through, we get some fairly simple timey-wimeyness with the Doctor being sent back in time in the cinema without his TARDIS, and it’s not long before Adam tries to console Rose into coming to terms with the Doctor’s departure. Adam is terrible at flirting, it has to be said. At least he tries though.
Back with the Doctor in the past, something is seriously awry; there’s a woman who knows a lot about the Doctor’s past, especially in regards to the Time War. Of course, this absolutely shakes the Ninth Doctor to the core, and it has to be assumed that whoever or whatever is speaking through the woman, they’re the cause of the strange goings on in the cinema.
It’s not too long before Rose herself was whisked back in time, and the Doctor discovers that she’s in his future, which is still the past. Without a TARDIS though, the Doctor has no option but to wait for Rose’s time to come around. It’s these type of small tragedies that I love in Doctor Who.
When we learn about what the alien threat, I have to admit, I initially thought they were going to be part of the 456 from Torchwood: Children of Earth for reasons that you’ll understand when you listen to this.
The conclusion to The Other Side is fairly fun, especially when you know what’s going to happen in The Long Game, the villain was defeated slightly too easily in my opinion, but other than that it was satisfactory.
Overall, The Other Side is a fun story that deals with time more than the previous two stories have; whilst the inclusion of Adam in this box set wasn’t many people’s idea of a good choice, I have to say that Bruno Langley slipped back into the role faultlessly. If I had one main criticism with this story, and I never thought I’d be saying this, but I wish that we actually got more Adam. He’s turned into Series 10 Nardole for me; I didn’t know I wanted more of him, but boy I do.
Should you want to purchase The Ninth Doctor Chronicles, it’s currently available from Big Finish here for £23 on CD, or £20 for a digital download for a limited time.