Synopsis: The TARDIS is still stranded but the healing process has begun. After living in Baker Street for months, the Doctor, Liv and Helen find their new friends becoming curious about who they really are.
Picking up from where the first Stranded boxset left off. This is another great set of stories, which brings us more time loops and mysteries. All four of these stories dig deep into the characters and also do a little delve into social history. Fans who are nostalgic for the 1970s get a brilliant UNIT story. While ‘Torchwood’ fans will appreciate the character development done with PC Andy.
Dead Time – By Matt Fritton
This opening story sees the Doctor and the flatmates recovering after the events from the final story in the first boxset. Robin (Joel James Davison) and Tania (Rebecca Root) have pretty much figured out that The Doctor, Andy, Liv Chanka, and Helen are not who they appear to be. While the flatmates deal with their first encounters with Aliens. The Doctor decides to take the Tardis for a spin. He hopes to take the old girl into space. But instead, he winds up landing far in the Earth’s future. This is a maiden voyage for Tania and Andy, but unbeknownst to them and The Doctor. Young Robin has stowed away.
As the story develops and our intrepid adventures explore. We find them on a post-apocalyptic earth, which seems to have much in common with the worlds depicted in ‘The Terminator’ movies in that it has man hunting robots and all.
Writer and script editor Matt Fritton does a great job on the characters in this story. Indeed, he does much to flesh them out. The banter between them is easygoing and fun. Andy somewhat bumbles his way through the adventure, which is very much in keeping with how he was in Torchwood. While Tania is much more excited by the prospects. Claiming she has been waiting all of her life for something like this to happen.
Of course, The Doctor is far from happy. Paul McGann is excellent as always and especially good at giving us the much more curmudgeonly Doctor.
As the team explores this desolate Earth. They slowly uncover what happened to bring our planet to this point and find that there is still life or a sort hidden in the shadows.
Unit Dating – By Roy Gill
Needing a component to fix the Tardis. The Doctor takes PC Andy on a trip to the 1970s. While there they meet up with young soldier Ron Winters has just met lab assistant Tony Clare. In the present day, Ron and Tony live happily as a couple. But when they begin to lose their memories. They need Liv and Helen’s help to try and hold things together. Meanwhile back in 1970 The Doctor and Andy encounter an Ogron. But the pair are gobsmacked when a device captures them in a groundhog day-style time loop.
This is a brilliant story in which we get a nice reminder of the Pertwee era of Doctor Who. Jon Culshaw does a brilliant job of resurrecting Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart and manages to sound very much like Nicholas Courtney, who originated the role.
The story ends on a poignant note where Helen shares a story about two of her gay friends that were never able to have what Roy and Tony had due to them not living long enough for the law prohibiting same-sex relationships to be lifted.
Bakers Street Irregulars – By Lisa McMullin
In this third story. The Doctor takes Baker Street residents Zakia (Avita Jay) and Aisha (Amina Zia) on a trip to visit their Grandmother who was a Bakers Street Irregular during the second world war. Arriving in London during the height of the Blitz. The two sisters are quickly enlisted into their Grandmother’s plot to sabotage a German-controlled power plant in occupied France.
Elsewhere in London. Liv and Tania find an unexploded bomb, which turns out to be more dangerous than expected. But the real story is grounded in the relationship between the two women. Liv is terrified of commitment and gets antsy when Tania suggests that they buy a cat together.
Overall. This is an excellent character-based story, which features some absolutely brilliant sound design from Benji Clifford. Listen out for a particularly thrilling set-piece involving an aeroplane.
Much like ‘Unit Dating’ the amateur time travelers make plenty of mistakes. Particularly Zakia and Aisha who has a personal connection to the adventure.
The Long Way Round – By John Dorney
The final adventure on this boxset turns out to be the most mind-bending of all. As the story is told in the past tenths. The Doctor, Liv, Helen, Tania and Andy have all been captured by a fascist British government in the year 2050. Without ID Cards of any type. Our travelers are quickly taken into custody.
In the present day. The Curator (Tom Baker) is chatting with a young girl called Gemma who appears to know much more than she is prepared to share. It turns out that Gemma has been tracking the comings and goings of The Tardis from Camdams high street. The Curator’s role in events to come are kept as a mystery, but we can only hope that we get a big reveal in the third boxset whenever that arrives.
The acting performances in this story are outstanding. Particularly the various interrogation scenes that we hear scattered throughout the story. It’s also brilliantly done given that all of it is set within one room. This makes for some really wonderful sound work from the sound design team.
The acting performances throughout the stories in Stranded 2 are outstanding. Tom Baker’s performance as the Curator in the fourth and final story is a real highlight as is Paul McGann’s performance as the 8th Doctor. Who remains as the greatest actor to never get a full series of his own on TV.
Nicola Walker and Hattie Morahan continue to be brilliant companions as Liv Chenka and Helen Sinclair. While Tom Price does a decent job reprising his role of Police Sergent Andy Davidson who is a former member of the Torchwood Cardiff team.
Summing up. This is a great set of stories that all have a very different feel and tone to them. Paul McGann’s performance as the 8th Doctor is worth the price of admission alone. But the addition of Tom Baker as The Curator, who only really appears in the final episode is fantastically whimsical and mysterious. Indeed Stranded 2 manages to pretty much provide a nice mix of stories ranging from 70s romance and UNIT adventure through to a World War 2 espionage adventure.
You can get your own copy of Doctor Who: Stranded 2 right here at Big Finish.
- Voice Acting10
- Sound Design & Music10