Jenny is back, and she’s going out to explore the universe. As someone who’s about a day old, how will she see the cosmos? With wonder, trepidation, or panic? There’s only one way to find out. Today, I’m reviewing the first story in this Jenny box set, Stolen Goods by Matt Fitton.
Jenny is new to the universe and keen to explore – but in unfamiliar spaceships, accidents happen. She’s lucky to have someone on-hand to help. A slippery, fast-talking someone, called Garundel.
Soon, Jenny is mixed up in cons and explosions. But she also finds something strange, inexplicable, and as new to universe as she is. She’ll call him Noah.
Let’s start with narration, from Jenny. A nice little catch up of who Jenny is, both in terms of the extremely limited backstory she has from the episode The Doctor’s Daughter, as well as a rundown as to who she is as a person. Just like the Doctor, her “dad”, but also brand new and naive. The music and sound effects, provided by Joe Kraemer and Josh Arakelian evoke a feeling of wonder and whimsy. Everything feels fresh and hopeful, it’s rather nice if I’m being honest. Of course, we can’t have an entire four hour box set of contemplation and blissful naivety, and it doesn’t last too long. It lasts about 40 seconds. Then we’re thrown back into the actual situation. Jenny, much like the Doctor, isn’t the best at flying ships.
I have to admit, I love the Easter egg that’s thrown in here, regarding Jenny’s “fate” with a moon. (For those who don’t know, and want to be spoiled, RTD famously said that Jenny got into the ship at the end of The Doctor’s Daughter and crashed straight into a moon and died. It almost happens here too.)
Let’s just talk about Jenny’s theme tune.
It’s freaking awesome.
That is all.
It’s not long before we’re (re)introduced to Garundel, the slippery looking fellow on the cover; a salesperson who seems to be a bit more slimy than he appears. Diehard Big Finish fans will remember meeting Garundel in the releases Black and White and Starlight Robbery where he liaised with the Seventh Doctor, and now he’s back up to his old tricks. I’ll be honest, this is the first I’ve heard of the character, but it’s nice to know he has a history, should I want to go back and learn more.
The first act is really rather comical, with Garundel trying to swindle Jenny out of anything and everything she owns by being a part of an insurance scam; hoping her lack of experience with anything will make her an easy target. There’s a moment, however, where Jenny’s capabilities really come into play, and the tables are turned. I wouldn’t say that she’s manipulative; if I’m being honest, I think Matt Fitton has written her so well that manipulation isn’t even something she’d consider this early in her life, but she’s just doing what’s best for her. Whilst also being a bit of a badass.
I’m surprised that Jenny even gets a bit of a Sherlock or Hustle moment, showing her intellectual prowess through flashbacks in a really engaging manner. I just hope that this is a trait that we hear again, as I absolutely loved it.
It’s not too long before Jenny has managed to escape the clutches of Garundel, and she finds herself another new ship, one that nobody else could seem to make work. Even if Jenny hasn’t had the best luck in the past when it comes to spacecraft, maybe this time, she’ll have more of a chance of keeping it.
I’m a bit surprised that it takes as long as it does for us to be introduced to Jenny’s companion for this box set, Noah. I would argue that his introduction is well worth the wait though, it’s a humorous introduction, but Fitton’s script doesn’t go over the top in a way that would have been so easy to do.
There’s something about Sean Biggerstaff’s voice (behave, I know his name sounds rude) which is really compelling on audio, but the genesis of the name Noah is a bit iffy in my opinion. Still, it’s better than how Han Solo got his name in Solo.
I have to admit that, in the third act, I feel as if the pace of the story really slows down, and I’m not sure if I like it. There are a few moments where I let out a slight smirk; from Noah asking an opposing ship “How are you?”, to the complete mishmash of characters that are aboard Jenny’s ship, to the line “I’m a vegan, we’re on the same side”.
Compared to Jenny’s naivety, Noah’s naivety is even more naive. It’s quite amusing, and it serves the story well; even if I’m not entirely sure that Noah is as naive as he appears to be. I suspect that there might be more to him than meets the eye.
The conclusion to Stolen Goods is really interesting; there’s an allusion to another familiar face in the Whoniverse, and I’d love to hear them return soon. Maybe even as a surprise in this box set?
Overall, Stolen Goods does a stellar job of reintroducing the listener to Jenny, and doubling her official time in the Whoniverse. Matt Fitton also manages to introduce Noah, and bring back Garundel in a fun manner. I have to say that the stand out actor in this release was Stuart Milligan, who plays Garundel, he’s superb and I’m definitely going to listen out for more of him in the future.
If, like me, you weren’t entirely sold on the Jenny box set at the time of the announcement, I can easily say this. Stolen Goods is one hell of a way to start a box set, and I can’t wait to hear what the next three hours have in store.
Should you want to purchase Jenny: The Doctor’s Daughter, it’s currently available from Big Finish here for £23 on CD or £20 for a digital download for a limited time.