Review: 12th Doctor Chronicles (Vol 2) – Timejacked!

Review by Jacob Licklider


 

The Twelfth Doctor Chronicles, like the other instalments in the Doctor Chronicles range from Big Finish Productions started as a replacement for the Companion Chronicles and a chance to give the New Series Doctors a chance to shine while the actors playing those Doctors don’t come to Big Finish. Jacob Dudman is the actor who headlines the range, performing the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Doctors. His Eleven is actually pitch perfect and his Tenth Doctor isn’t too far off, but his Twelfth Doctor was the performance that left audiences and myself cold in his Short Trips performances for being further away from Peter Capaldi, but for The Twelfth Doctor Chronicles: Timejacked! a switch occurs. Writers Matt Fitton and Lou Morgan implement a story arc and new companion for the Twelfth Doctor, young Time Agent Keira Sanstrom, played by Bhavnisha Parmar, and a tighter focus on the three stories bringing it in line with the new Big Finish style of box sets being either miniseries or separate serials in their own right. Dudman has also developed his impression of Peter Capaldi into less of an attempt to imitate the character but instead as a friend of mine noted, take inspiration from Peter Purves’ First Doctor in attempting to get the mannerisms and characterisation down, which makes Timejacked! feel more like a Twelfth Doctor story than anything else with Dudman in the role.

The behind the scenes on Timejacked! claim that each of the episodes stand on their own, however, this is something that I can only disagree with. The entire thrust of the story is the development of Keira and the Doctor’s relationship, the first episode opening with Keira forcing the Doctor at gunpoint to take her to the planet Calandra where she attempts to fix a mistake from her past which is an interesting relationship. The Doctor is forced to have a companion, but Fitton and Morgan use this to their advantage as putting the Doctor in an almost mentorship role for Keira, though an unwilling one. The set does this excellent through line of the Doctor using what he doesn’t say to get Keira to realise what went wrong with her as a Time Agent (she’s after some great criminal but her Vortex Manipulator needs fixing and the issues on Calandra are ones that she caused so she has to clean up). Parmar and Dudman have wonderful chemistry together which only builds to a relationship and it’s kind of a shame that the box ends by wrapping up the Doctor/companion relationship instead of leaving it open ended for future sets. The Twelfth Doctor especially is one who deserves more companions due to a large gap between Series 9 and 10 which leaves the door open for more interesting characters.

Matt Fitton and Lou Morgan as writers are also great choices as Fitton has experience in guiding plots throughout the Eighth Doctor box sets and Morgan excels at writing character drama. Interestingly, Fitton only opens the set with Morgan writing the other two episodes (the second having the oh so brilliant description “Oh dear. That wasn’t meant to happen.”) which means that the character drama can deepen in the middle and the final episode can wrap up the plot quite nicely. If anything Fitton’s script lags slightly behind by being almost entirely setup and following some very easy tropes where the listener can tell what’s going on and what the big twist of the episode is going to be. It also feels very similar to several other science fiction and even Doctor Who stories without feeling like it’s meant to be a homage, but more of an author getting to a similar idea. It’s a lot of fun, and the tension throughout the episode is great, but this isn’t necessarily as good as it could be. The guest cast throughout the set and in the first and last episodes in particular are great, while the second episode is more of an expansive, let’s explore the scope of what Timejacked! is doing instead of focusing on any character dynamics outside of the Doctor and Keira.

The set follows some excellent structural beats for a miniseries, making it perhaps the most well thought out entry in the range and it is bolstered by Helen Goldwyn’s superb direction and Jacob Dudman understanding how to play the Twelfth Doctor with a new companion to boot. There are a couple of minor problems, but The Twelfth Doctor Chronicles: Timejacked! has turned out to be a genuinely great surprise from Big Finish. 9/10.


You can get it on download/CD from Big Finish.
Order from Forbidden Planet or Amazon

Check out the rest of our Big Finish reviews!

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