Crash of the UK-201 (5.4)

Big Finish, The Early Adventures, Season 5

A rather interesting story as Vicki gets the rare companion experience of living her life if she hadn’t ever been found by the Doctor. There is a fault in the TARDIS systems and she is pulled back into her body, to when the UK201 space ship crashes. She is found by the 1st Doctor, Barbara, and Ian at the crash site on Dido. But if the ship doesn’t crash, she doesn’t travel with the Doctor, and Steven is never rescued. So Steven is her companion through her history, as they first prevent the crash from every happening. Then she lives a life, then re-lives it to save more lives, but doesn’t quite get it right. It’s a Groundhog Day scenario that she has to go through in order to figure out what she needs to do to put history right.

It’s rare to see a companion get this type of story on her own. We are given a last name for Vicky, assuming she has her father’s last name, then possibly her husband’s later on. Pallister from her father then perhaps Dalton from her husband. She and Steven are menaced by parasites who want to eat up their paradox energy. So she has to figure it out and get it “right,” ultimately. We don’t see much of the Doctor except in the start and end of the story, with Steven coming and going throughout. Much easier on Peter Purves, I would imagine! This story is riveting and I almost want to smack Vicki at times because she should already know, ‘don’t change history.’ But she’s going through it in the most visceral, direct way possible, watching her family members come and go, stopping at major moments in their lives. And it’s hard to fault her for her choices.

Though the plot is simple, in terms of the scifi element, it is a full-fledged character study for Vicki, the teenaged girl who must come to terms with allowing people to die in order to save other lives. It’s a fine line to walk as a writer and I would say it was done quite well. I didn’t love the story but it was very good overall.

Maureen O'Brien(Vicki / Narrator),Peter Purves(Steven Taylor / The Doctor / Narrator),Michael Lumsden(Newton Pallister),Carol Starks(Captain Odessa Grey),Jemma Churchill(Carmen Scheffler),Arthur Hughes(Lieutenant Thorpe),Stephen Fewell(Jeran Dalton),Eve Webster(Carla / Maria Dalton),David Cooke(Additional Voices). Other parts played by members of the cast.

Writer: Jonathan Morris

Director: Lisa Bowerman

Release: December 2018

Laura Vilensky 2019