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Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who
Blue Forgotten Planet


Starring: Colin Baker
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £14.99 (CD), £12.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 414 6
Available 30 September 2009

So, this is the blue planet you’ve forgotten about. But take another look. You helped us once. I know you can help us again.” On Earth, civilisation has ended, and time is running out for the Doctor and Charlotte Pollard, who find the planet in the grip of a deadly plague. Why has the population forgotten what it is to be human? Will the mysterious Viyrans really help them? “Without you, the human race will die out, and Planet Earth will surely be our tomb...”


Blue Forgotten Planet marks the departure of India Fisher as Charlotte Pollard, a fact that I wasn’t aware of until I listened to the production. To be precise, it’s her second departure from the series, as she previously parted company with Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor in The Girl Who Never Was, only to then cross paths with the Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker). Big Finish is in danger of becoming the boy who cried “Charley’s leaving” - as her last departure wasn’t the end, can we really believe that this is it?

Personally, I think the character had the potential to stay on for a bit longer, but at least we get our money’s worth from her here, as Fisher plays a dual role as both the original Charley and Mila (played in one scene by Jess Robinson) masquerading as her. The cast and crew interviews at the end of Disc 1 reveal that the actress did not record the two roles separately, but had conversations “with herself” in the same recording session. It’s a testament to her skill that it’s usually possible to tell which version of Charley is speaking, except when it’s dramatically convenient for the listener not to know. Writer / director / Viyran creator Nicholas Briggs reveals that the Doctor and Mila-Charley have experienced a number of unrecorded adventures together, while Charley has undertaken several missions for the Viyrans (who return here following their last appearance in Patient Zero), so there’s plenty of scope for missing adventures to be retold at some point in the future.

Michael Maloney returns to the role of the Viyrans, bringing a cold detachment to their words that’s more chilling and more successfully devoid of emotion than many Cybermen stories.

It’s no great surprise that the original Charley returns along with the Viyrans in this, the final story in a trilogy. Following that revelation, however, each subsequent cliffhanger ramps up the tension and the threat to mankind, despite the Doctor’s (and the scriptwriter’s) use of the TARDIS as a miraculous cure-all.

Blue Forgotten Planet isn’t as memorable as The Girl Who Never Was, but it does manage to resolve all but one of the loose ends that have been dangling around Charley in a moving and dramatically satisfying manner. That’s a considerable task, given the established fact that the Doctor will meet Charley again in a couple of incarnations’ time but won’t remember having encountered her before. In a tragic reversal of the companion departures in The War Games and Journey’s End, Charley truly becomes the girl who never was, at least as far as the Doctor is concerned.

However, one loose end is deliberately left hanging. It’s up to you whether to be tantalised or annoyed by this lack of closure, but nevertheless the question remains: which Charley survived... the real one or Mila-Charley? As I said before, can we really believe that her story is over?


Richard McGinlay

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