Review by Doctor Squee (Host of Gallifrey Stands Podcast)
When you have a story called ‘A Full Life’ read by Matthew Waterhouse as Adric; when the one thing you know about Adric is he didn’t have a full life you know you’re in for a story that is probably going to break your heart. This is that story!
I like the Short Trips best when there is a good device behind why the person is telling the story they are. In this case for instance someone is listening to a tape where Adric tells his life story and skips ahead to where he starts the story which is the subject of this audio. The Doctor, Romana, Adric and K9 have found a planet where a man is curing death. Adric thinks it’s great; but once convinced by the Doctor & Romana he soon sees the problems this may cause. To continue talking about this, I will have to give some spoilers, but I’ll try to keep them as few as possible.
The only way the Doctor & Romana can stop this is by sacrificing themselves, leaving K9 & Adric to live out their lives on the planet they are now stuck on and the Tardis is left to die without it’s Timelord. We then get to live out a ‘full life’ through Adric’s eyes; knowing all the way through this can’t end with that life standing (that isn’t actually a spoiler; what happens to the lad is established Who History!)
This is a genuinely gripping story that left me guessing till the end. With the only possible downside that the final solution to when time gets back to what we know being a little rushed at the end, but you can easily forgive this story for that. Matthew Waterhouse gives one of his best performances yet as Adric and you feel like Adric gets the fair crack of the whip that his fate robbed him of. This might even win over a few of the Adric haters. It should also be noted how deftly Waterhouse caries a story by himself; something that anyone reading these Short trips has to be good at and he lifts it to a very high standard indeed! He is ably assisted in this effort by writer Joseph Lidster the always excellent directing from Lisa Bowerman.
The length of the story helped keep a lightning pace and had me looking at the time in the story running out; wondering if they had enough time to get to an ending. It was also nice to see Adric paired with the 4th Doctor again, as his Big Finish work to date has only been with the 5th; even if the 4th Doctor spends most of this story dead.
This is a real ‘must listen’ and highly recommended. 9/10 sonics.
Download here https://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/a-full-life-1352