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 second story in this Jenny box set, Prisoner of The Ood by John Dorney.
Moving into Leafield Crescent, Angie Glazebrook is surprised by an unexpected caller. But not half as surprised as Jenny, suddenly transported to a suburban close on twenty-first century Earth.
And that’s nothing to the surprise of the neighbours when alien visitors start appearing. Visitors with tentacled mouths, carrying death-dealing orbs. The Ood have come for their prisoner…
Talk about a tonal shift, from the operatic space age opening to this much more down to Earth (literally) score that opens Prisoner of The Ood. It appears that this is story is going to be a lot more domestic and homely than Stolen Goods. Which isn’t a bad thing at all. Variety is the spice of life.
We’re quickly introduced to Angie Glazebrook, a woman who has just moved to the area after a divorce, when Jenny comes knocking on her door asking for a Plasma Rifle. Jenny’s naivety makes for some absolute brilliant comedy, and her rapport with Angie is just stellar to listen to.
Once we learn that Jenny doesn’t know exactly why she’s on Earth, it appears that there’s an invisible wall around the street, and nobody and nothing can get in or out. And Jenny is stuck in the middle of it.
We soon learn that Noah is with the Ood, although we don’t know exactly why. I love the fact that it’s as much of a mystery for the listener as it is for the characters involved.
Jenny’s inability to get used to suburbia and the mundanity of suburban life is really humorous to listen to, and reminds me of when the Doctor has to live with Amy and Rory in The Power of Three. John Dorney’s script, along with Barnaby Edwards’ direction has paired for a brilliant comic script. It almost feels as if Prisoner of The Ood is a really quirky sit-com pilot in the best possible way.
There’s a character of John, a writer who lives on the street and really doesn’t care what’s going on, and I can’t help but wonder if this is Dorney referencing himself in a tongue in cheek kind of way. I mean, John Dorney plays John, so, it probably is Dorney making himself canon in his own story. What a meta man he is.
My favourite idea is that the entire neighbourhood decides to have a Neighbourhood Watch style meeting to discuss everything; it’s so British and quaint and I love it. Just imagine if there was a Dalek invasion on your street, Brenda next door would undoubtedly want to discuss who’s being sent to the corner shop every day for bread and milk, wouldn’t she?
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, John Dorney is absolutely fantastic at writing real human characters.
It’s not too long before John takes a bit of a turn and throws up “spaghetti”, it’s really reminiscent of the similar scene from Planet of The Ood, but, for some reason, having it all on audio makes it much worse, as your mind can conjure up it’s own horrific transformation scene.
I have to admit, I’m so happy there’s a flashback scene in Prisoner of The Ood, albeit, with it being used in an entirely different way from Stolen Goods. The fact that they’re both used to great effect though, and it has been rather seamless each time gives me hope that a flashback scene becomes a trend throughout the series, as it’s an interesting narrative way to get inside of Jenny’s undoubtedly brilliant mind.
The revelation in the final act is absolutely superb, and it makes the entire story take on a slightly different meaning. John Dorney has managed to pull off a complete Agatha Christie type tale with added Ood and Salmon Mousse. What a genius that man is. After the shock at around 50 minutes, I think it’s safe to say that a re-listen is on my todo list now.
The conclusion to Prisoner of The Ood was rather quick, however it resolved the story in a rather satisfactory manner, being a nice bookend to a thoroughly enjoyable story. At it’s core, it reminded me of The Lodger mixed with Amy’s Choice, which is no bad thing at all. My only gripe is that the main Ood sounded a bit like John Leeson’s K-9 in it’s delivery at times.
Overall, this story is another great addition to the set, although I’m unsure how non-UK listeners will feel about it, as some of the behaviours and mannerisms of the ensemble cast are extremely suburban English. I would still implore you to listen to it though, even if it doesn’t give us much Noah at all.
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.