Breaking Bubbles and Other Stories (#188)

Big Finish Main Range

Breaking Bubbles

Writer: LM Myles

This story has the Doctor and Peri landing in a garden on a ship, which is actually a prison ship for Safira Valtris, previous dictator of a regime. She’s being transported somewhere and she makes an escape attempt moments after the Doctor and Peri arrive, utilizing the virtual reality used to entrap her. Peri ends up as Valtris’s hostage and the Doctor working to keep her incarcerated. Then things start to expand with her rescue ship and other battleships coming to enforce her incarceration, causing a possible battle and deaths.

So Valtris looks to have a conscience in the story, which is a bit of a different take on the “dictator” character in this story. I enjoyed the story and the rather clueless officers on the ship, Laris and Tondra. Only real complaint is that it seems a bit short so we can’t really delve into Valtris’s character as much as I would’ve liked and Peri seemed almost superfluous in the story. Just wanders around with Valtris and gets to be the voice of her conscience, basically.

Of Chaos Time The

Writer: Mark Ravenhill

Though there is a lot of confusion in the execution of this story, it’s deliberate and works quite well to explain time sickness. The confusion is really more related to the names of the people who are basically running in and out of the story. Trobe is the primary character that is central to the story because he, too, has time sickness. Peri and the Doctor apparently land at a research station where they are about to launch a time scrambling bomb that would end a war that had been going on for years. And the Doctor is scrambling to stop it while talking to Trobe, who was in on the experiments leading up to the bomb, and Peri, who is living events forward while the Doctor leaps around in his own timeline.

One thing I notice throughout these stories is that there is a reliance on the better nature of the people the Doctor and his companion(s) encounter. So they expect some bad people but the resolution of the story requires people wanting to do better. Especially on the companion’s end of things, as they only have their wits to solve the situation (in most cases!) and the Doctor has most of the technical know-how. Most of the characters in this story are just feeding the Doctor information so he can solve the problem and get things back on track. Talk about walking into a bad situation!

Eye for Murder

Writer: Una McCormack

This story has an Agatha Christie type of atmosphere as well as being set in the 1930’s, I believe. Peri is mistaken for a mystery novel writer at a British college and is invited in to solve a mystery. That mystery being the blackmailing of a German professor at the college, who is working on solving the mysteries of an alien artifact she’s had since she was a small child. So Peri and the Doctor talk to people and hear about the start of the war between England and Germany on the radio. And slowly we hear them uncover the motives behind someone trying to steal the artifact, leading to an old fashioned chase up to the top of the church tower, with the usual consequences for the bad guy.

Peri is the “star” here, as the Doctor isn’t very welcome at an all girls college. So she’s asking around and the Doctor is banished to his room to type. The middle parts are a bit odd, with not much going on but finally we get to the point of talking to the German professor, which this is most obviously leading up to, and things REALLY start to happen.Though this is the least effective of these four stories, with more meandering and things just not happening than usual, it's quite good overall.

The Curious Incident of the Doctor in the Night-Time

Writer: Nev Fountain

At first I wasn’t keen on this story as it is narrated by a teenaged boy with autism of some kind. He is 14 years old and definitely has some perception issues, which we can tell right away. He counts everything and especially the garden gnomes at his house. We discover that his dad has stolen them from his job for years because Michael loved them, or at least seemed to. There were 129 gnomes and now there are 130 gnomes, the spare one being the leader of the gnomes (Jidoi) come back to free his gnomish people. And the Doctor is there to stop him, naturally.

And Michael is difficult for the leader gnome, Tendragon, to deal with since he can’t read his mind clearly. Michael likes to solve mysteries and he does a good job on this mystery for a 14 year old! Though it took 5 minutes to really get into this story, I just couldn't stop listening once I got into it. And the ending is fantastic. It's the least sentimental but most touching story ending I’ve heard in a long time!

Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Jemma Churchill (Safira Valtris/Dr Maria Backhouse), Andy Secombe (Laris/Akros/Policeman), Allison McKenzie (Tondra/Dr Joan Dalton), Janet Henfrey (Dr. Petherbridge), Jessica Knappett (Dr Ruth Horwitz), Paul Painting (Maylon/Geoff/Llangragen), Anjella Mackintosh (Standing/Olivia), Phil Mulryne (Trobe/Warma), Johnny Gibbon (Michael), Toby Fountain (Young Trobe)

Writers: Mark Ravenhill, Una McCormack, LM Myles, Nev Fountain

Director: Nicholas Briggs

Release: July 2014

Laura Vilensky 2019