The Memory Bank and Other Stories (#217)

Big Finish Main Range

The Memory Bank

Upon arrival, things go mysteriously wrong right away for Turlough. He just wants to do some painting, which I suspect will be the theme at the start of each story that gets waylaid. He is suddenly attached to a book of memories and the current archivist dies right away after giving it to him. So the Doctor has to go off, find a new companion, then go fend off the real villain of the piece. Naturally he finds the true bad guy and it doesn’t go well for that particular baddie.

I was extremely excited to listen to some 5th Doctor – Turlough stories and popped this one in right away! So good. I just love Mark Strickson’s Turlough and he’s grown up quite a bit with Peter Davison’s Doctor. One my absolute favorite companions so I could do with lots of Turlough stories, though I know it won’t happen due to Mark Strickson’s schedule and location. So I take what I can and I really did love this first story in the set!

The Last Fairy Tale

Turlough is trying drawing this time and the Doctor and he basically fall down a steep hillside in the Doctor’s quest for a perfect location for Turlough’s drawing. They run into an old, well-traveled man and head into the nearest town together. The Doctor is drawn along by a princess while Turlough and his companion stop in a rather rough bar. The Storyteller is supposed to be coming to town and everyone’s abuzz. The Princess think’s it the Doctor and the archetypal witch, hellhound, and dwarf in the bar are convinced that it’s the Doctor as well. So they hold everyone prisoner, waiting for the Storyteller to arrive, who they’re convinced is the Doctor. There are a few surprises, though not huge ones, and the Doctor and Turlough escape the town and the Princess to go have more adventures

I really enjoyed this story but didn’t love it as much as the first one. The archetypes are all on display, all the while insisting that they’re not archetypes to be feared after all. It’s a story that lives up to its name and it’s quite the serene story, despite the little bits of peril, compared to the first tale of the set. I wonder what Turlough will try next as painting and drawing haven’t worked out so well… Sculpture?

Repeat Offender

The story starts with the Doctor and Turlough being discovered in an apartment over an unconscious body. The woman who comes in calls the police but she doesn’t quite get the result she expects, which is the Doctor being dragged away, as Turlough has already escaped out of a hole he makes in another room’s wall. But the alien Shroud, which the Doctor came to fight, has trapped other of his selves this same way and the difference lies in the police who show up. And this one is willing to entertain his ideas, though obviously the others were not as there are 3 other versions of the Doctor dead.

Then it gets interesting as everyone is being taken over by the Shroud who walks in! I’m not sure how Turlough escapes this fate initially as he calls the Doctor to chat during the story. And seems like himself. But ultimately, the police woman saves the day with her willingness to believe in things other than herself and her world. I do wonder if that trait shouldn’t be required today (empathy) for all police officers in the USA! This story turns corner after corner and I really enjoyed it, ultimately.

The Becoming

Turlough and the Doctor land in a very cold place on a planet and go exploring. They find and help an alien girl on her way to “the becoming,” a coming of age ritual of some sort. However, things go wrong due to the Doctor and Turlough’s presence and they save her. So they’re both the cause of the problem and the path to a brand new species on the planet, as it were. This story tries to be clever but I just didn’t find it all that interesting. There’s an attempt to reveal that the girl isn’t human at all but I just didn’t care. I wanted to hear more of the ancestors speaking to her and less of the Doctor and Turlough, honestly. Meh. Definitely this is the weakest of this whole set of stories.

Peter Davison (The Doctor), Mark Strickson (Turlough), Suzann McLean (Max/Autumn Voice), Ian Brooker (Archivist/Computer/Elder), Mandi Symonds (Alitha/Inspector Jill Sveinsbottir) Duncan Wisbey (Grayling Frimlish/Shiri/Zounds), Kae Alexander (Waywalker)

Writers:Chris Chapman, Paul Magrs, Eddie Robson, Ian Potter

Director: Helen Goldwyn

Release: October 2016

Laura Vilensky 2019