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22 August 2012

Manufacturer: Big Finish Productions

Written By: James Goss

RRP: £8.99

Release Date: 31st July 2012

Reviewed by: Matthew Davis for Doctor Who Online

Review Posted: 22nd August 2012

Ian Chesterton once travelled with an extraordinary man. He travelled the universe far and wide and for all the amazing things he saw, he wanted nothing more but to get back home. But now the past is coming back to haunt him as Ian suddenly wakes up in The Chesterton Exhibition located within a mysterious Time Museum dedicated entirely to his past.

The Museum’s curator Pendolin is delighted to find him but he is scared. There is something lurking in the Museum and it wants them both. Whilst on the run Ian’s memories begin to fade and corrupt. Whatever is out there wants Ian’s past and it is very hungry, but can he escape this nightmare and is Pendolin to be trusted?

Ian Chesterton is about to discover just how important the past can mean to his future...

As the Fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who approaches we are incredibly lucky to still have William Russell amongst us. That he is still performing the character of Ian Chesterton after all this time is really quite extraordinary and The Time Museum is a wonderful showcase for his talents.

Presented more as a drama unlike the traditional formula of The Companion Chronicles, Russell gives a magnificent performance. His Ian, though much older, is still the same man that stepped into Totter’s Yard all those years ago.

His co-star Philip Pope who plays Pendolin proves to be an excellent foil to Ian, and Pope gives a very intriguing performance throughout.

The Time Museum is a wonderful examination of one of Doctor Who’s most celebrated and fondly thought of Companions, and continues the development that Big Finish has brought to the character in previous Companion Chronicles. 

In this story Ian Chesterton is a man searching for his identity amongst the painful confusion as his past is being eaten away. The disorientation Ian displays here is beautifully portrayed by Russell as the memories he recounts of adventures past is part of the appeal of this story. There is even a surprising little nod to the Doctor Who and the Daleks target novelisation by David Whittaker, that fans will enjoy picking up on.

This play is a wonderful celebration of the show’s past tinged with a sense of melancholy. Listening to The Time Museum reminds you just how important those early stories were in the development of the show as we know it today. Without Ian and Barbara I don’t think the show would have lasted longer than its allotted thirteen weeks. Nostalgia can sometimes be seen as being over indulgent, but here it never outstays its welcome. The kisses to the past are essential to the plot as Ian desperately tries to cling to his sense of self as he and Pendolin come under threat.

As the big anniversary looms around the corner it is certainly not too early to start celebrating and with The Time Museum, Big Finish has created a perfect birthday present to all devoted Whovians everywhere.

Quite simply this is an essential purchase.

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