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Audio Book Review


Doctor Who
The Companion Chronicles
The Uncertainty Principle


Author: Simon Guerrier
Performed by: Wendy Padbury
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £8.99 (CD), £7.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 947 9
Available 31 August 2012

In the future, Zoe Heriot is a prisoner of the mysterious Company, which has evidence that she travelled through space and time with the Doctor. Zoe’s memories have been blocked by the Time Lords, but the Company is determined to break through this conditioning... And so Zoe recalls a journey to Earth in her past, to the funeral of a young woman called Meg, who was involved in scientific experiments that have halted the TARDIS and are bringing forth sinister alien creatures. Only the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe can stop them...

As is often the case with Companion Chronicles written by Simon Guerrier, the framing story dominates proceedings. In common with the same writer’s Sara Kingdom Chronicles, The Uncertainty Principle is as much about how the companion can remember her adventure in the TARDIS at all (Zoe’s memories were wiped, like so many BBC videotapes, at the end of The War Games) as it is about the telling of the adventure itself.

The frame narrative picks up where Guerrier’s The Memory Cheats - itself a sequel to John Dorney’s Echoes of Grey - left off. Zoe (Wendy Padbury) is somewhat surprised to find that Jen (once again played by Padbury’s daughter, Charlie Hayes) is still alive. Ironically, given the emphasis on memory, I do not recall Jen’s life having been in danger. Perhaps a “previously on The Companion Chronicles” is called for at the start of some of these releases - The Memory Cheats was a year ago, after all. Jen’s character develops over the course of the drama, and it will be interesting to see how this pans out in the next instalment of this “trilogy in four parts”.

In common with his Steven Taylor Chronicles, the writer takes a scientific concept - in this case the titular principle from quantum mechanics - and develops its philosophical and narrative potential to good effect.

Appropriately enough, given the title of the piece, I am uncertain how I feel about this production. Though the frame story is intriguing and enjoyable, it would be nice for a change to just take it as read that Zoe is remembering, or that Padbury is simply narrating, and get on with the adventure. Perhaps after Zoe and Jen’s next encounter, we will be able to do just that...

5 or possibly 6

Richard McGinlay

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