Doctor Who
The Companion Chronicles
Helicon Prime

Author: Jake Elliott
Read by: Frazer Hines
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £8.99
ISBN: 978 1 84435 291 3
Available 30 November 2007

In 18th-century Scotland, aging piper James Robert McCrimmon is struck by lightning - and survives. But his ravings make little sense. Who is the Doctor with his strange craft, the TARDIS? It’s been a long time since Jamie remembered anything about his travels with the Doctor, but his visit to Helicon Prime just won’t stay hidden. He vividly recalls a trip to the holiday resort where he and the Doctor became embroiled in a murder investigation, even though acts of ill-will are supposedly impossible on this planet...

As is customary for The Companion Chronicles, the narrative is framed by the device of the companion, in this case Jamie (Frazer Hines, making his Big Finish debut), recalling the adventure many years later, thus explaining why the actor sounds older. Writer Jake Elliott throws in a rationalisation for how Jamie is able to remember these events at all, given the fact that the Time Lords erased his memory of his travels with the Doctor at the end of The War Games.

Continuity fans can relax, because this explanation does not necessarily rule out the claim, in the Doctor Who Magazine Sixth Doctor comic strip The World Shapers, that the Doctor taught Jamie to resist the Time Lords’ mental conditioning. Maybe the memory blocks take a considerable time to wear off and Jamie’s recollections here are only the beginning. As director Nigel Fairs observes in his sleeve notes: “Jake’s poignant ending reflects not only the sadness of Jamie and Zoe’s lost memories of a magical time but our hopes that their amnesia will be short-lived.”

Talking of continuity, Victoria is said to be off studying graphology (even though she is depicted in the “Who’s Who?” section of the sleeve notes), thus placing this tale around the time of The Two Doctors... whenever that is. By this I mean that fans have long questioned how The Two Doctors fits in with the rest of the Second Doctor’s era. In that serial, he was working for the Time Lords, even though his people didn’t capture him until his final story, The War Games. He referred to himself as being “a bit of an exile”, despite the fact that his sentence didn’t commence until after his regeneration, in Spearhead from Space. In 1995, in Doctor Who: The Discontinuity Guide, Paul Cornell proposed the concept of “Season 6B”, the idea that, in between his trial and his enforced regeneration, the Doctor experienced a further series of adventures. Indeed, the final five Second Doctor comic strips in TV Comic (issues 916-936) explicitly support this notion by featuring a post-trial Troughton Doctor, exiled on Earth but not yet attached to UNIT. Terrance Dicks later validated the theory in his 1999 novel Players and its 2005 follow-up World Game. If one accepts the notion of “Season 6B”, then Helicon Prime is the first audio story to take place within that era.

Elliott’s story is enjoyable, conspicuously more heavily populated with weird of wonderful aliens than a ’60s television production would ever have been able to achieve, and it is made all the more pleasurable thanks to Hines’s narration. The actor does an uncanny impersonation of Patrick Troughton, right down to the little cough he used to do between lines. My only criticisms of Hines’s reading are that, just occasionally, the Doctor comes across sounding like Prince Charles and that sometimes Jamie’s Scottish accent crosses over into the voices of other characters - which is odd, especially since Hines is actually a Yorkshireman rather than a Scot.

The secondary voice is provided by Suzanne Procter (who played Cousin Justine in BBV’s Faction Paradox Protocols) as Mindy Voir. This role doesn’t really stretch the versatile actress, which leads me to wonder why Big Finish didn’t hire Deborah Watling to provide support as the voice of Victoria rather than consigning the character to graphology college.

Despite my quibbles, Helicon Prime presents Jamie and his Doctor very much in their prime.

Richard McGinlay

Buy this item online
We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal! Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£8.99 (
£6.99 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.