The Doctor and Lucie are back for a second series of Eighth Doctor Adventures! After a slight break, we’re back with these reviews. Today, I’ll be reviewing Brave New Town by Jonathan Clements.
‘It’s like The Village That Time Forgot!’
The inhabitants of the quiet seaside town of Thorington in Suffolk are living the same day over and over again.
What’s so special about the 1st of September 1991? Why haven’t the villagers noticed that the same song has been number one for years? And just where on Earth has the sea disappeared to?
The Doctor and Lucie must solve the mystery before the ‘visitors’ return…
The theme tune. Gosh I’ve missed it. Gosh I love the theme tune. I’m glad I’m back.
The Doctor. Gosh I’ve missed him. Gosh I love him. I’m glad I’m back.
Lucie Miller. Gosh I’ve missed her. Gosh I love her. I’m glad I’m- you probably get the idea by now.
The Doctor and Lucie have arrived at a nice seaside town, although it’s not Blackpool like Lucie asked for, and right from the off, it seems that something is wrong. There are villages that appear frozen in time, those little eclectic corners of the country that seems to be stuck decades in the past, but this village appears to be frozen in time, a lot more literally.
It appears that one of the townsfolk, Sally, has gone missing, and the rest of the townspeople are wondering if the Doctor and Lucie are there to “replace” her. As the story progresses, the events of the town seem to get a lot stranger. Every day is Sunday 1st September, 1991 (I googled it, and yes it was indeed a Sunday!) and nobody seems to mind. They’re aware and they’re not resisting whatsoever. Something is very clearly wrong. And then a mysterious tank that can’t detect people who are still, manages to kidnap Lucie.
We soon learn a little bit about what’s going on, and exactly where it’s going on. This quaint English little town isn’t so English. Or quaint. Or really a town.
Luckily, Sally seems to be found, but, as it to be expected, not everything is as it seems. And there’s a twist, that I did not see coming at all. Wow. That’s how you bring a twist out of nowhere. On reflection, there’s a hint or two throughout, and, like the Doctor, I was blind to it.
The last act of Brave New Town is filled with a great battle between two very different forces. There’s a load of spies who are quickly learning the truth as to what’s going on, and a small army of angry British townsfolk who are all hearing a malevolent voice in their heads. You might not think it, but it’s going to be one hell of a close fight.
Of course, when it comes down to it, the reason behind the feud is the same that most of them are on Earth. It’s a fight for oil. God, this story has some great themes and even better juxtapositions in this story, I love it.
If there’s one thing that I found slightly underwhelming, is the final act, it felt a bit like a damp squib if I’m honest. It could have ended with a bang, but it ended with a little bit of a whimper. I know the Doctor doesn’t like harm or loss of innocent life, but it could have been nice to have something a little more substantial to end this release.
The conclusion of Brave New Town feels rather tacked on too, which a shame, and it feels ever so slightly rushed. Which is odd, considering we had to wait so long for the real meat of the story to get going.
What I will say though, is that Brave New Town is the perfect way to have a story with a big twist, and not give it away at all. As I said earlier, there’s a few little hints, but nothing too obvious. The cover doesn’t give it away either, nor does the synopsis. I love it when I can watch or listen or read Doctor Who and be genuinely surprised, yet have it make perfect sense. Brave New Town might not be the world’s greatest release, but it’s a masterclass in how to nail a twist in a narrative.
Should you want to purchase Brave New Town, it’s currently available from Big Finish here for £8.99 for the download, or £10.99 for the CD.