Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions
Writer: James Goss
RRP: £10.99 (CD) / £8.99 (Download)
Release Date: May 2016
Reviewed by: Bedwyr Gullidge for Doctor Who Online
“Donna Noble has never been lucky in love.
So when, one day, her Prince does come, she is thrilled to have the wedding of all weddings to look forward to. Though the Doctor isn’t holding his breath for an invitation. And her future mother-in-law is certainly not amused.
But on the big day itself, Donna finds her castle under siege from the darkest of forces, marching at the head of a skeleton army.
When it looks like even the Doctor can’t save the day, what will Queen Donna do to save her people from Death itself?"
Concluding the trio of new adventures for the Tenth Doctor and Donna on Big Finish is a refreshingly original story from skilled writer James Goss, which offers intrigue, grim revelations and an unexpected resolution. On a darker level it exposes how a public blindly following the instruction of it's masters can have devastating consequences; some times their intentions may be, no pun intended, noble, but the price of peace is occasionally a very costly one indeed. Goss’ intelligent script is supported with some particularly strong imagery, easy for the listener to envisage, with a fairytale castle under siege from an army of skeletons and the familiar hooded figure of Death stalking the Earth.
As is so often the case in the life of Donna Noble when things suddenly seem to be going her way, disaster strikes. Although an unlikely Queen, Donna’s experience in times of crisis means that she is very capable and cool under pressure, taking charge of the situation and saving lives. Despite her brashness, Donna is a companion to be dismissed at your peril and possessing inscrutable morals, touched on so briefly in the television universe during Planet Of The Ood. However the additional breadth of storytelling facilitated by these new Big Finish adventures has allowed such subtlety to be explored further to the undoubted benefit of the character and something which Catherine Tate is clearly enjoying and thriving upon.
The performances from the whole cast are superb with the six central characters all expertly well rounded, such as Alice Krige as the deliciously facetious and sharp-tongued Queen Mum and Blake Ritson’s well meaning but lovably spineless Rudolph, adding to the strength of the unfolding drama. David Tennant in particular enjoys lovely dialogue, explaining that the Doctor is never ready when one of his companions decides to leave, nor does he ever get a chance to lick his wounds. The Tenth Doctor’s persona of fast talking bravado conceals the heartbreak of losing Rose Tyler, for instance, a departure which still hangs a heavy burden on his travels, but in this brief and rarest of moments the Time Lord’s vulnerability is fully exposed.
Donna’s ingenuity in cheating Death is wonderfully wicked, finding a way to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds, a classic Doctor Who scenario, with a style that is almost the antithesis of the show itself but in keeping with the uniqueness of this particular tale. The Doctor also gets an opportunity to show off his brilliance too and certain character’s attitudes are put in their place, crowning off a fantastic story that brings to a close these newly released Tenth Doctor Adventures.
With offerings of a consistently high standard produced by Big Finish, let’s hope that more stories featuring this brilliantly engaging Doctor and companion duo are to continue for many more years to come. This trio of new Tenth Doctor Adventures has been an unquestionable triumph and long may they continue with originality such as Death And The Queen.