The Doomwood Curse (#111)

Big Finish Main Range

The first thing I noticed is that The Doctor calls Charley – Charley Pollard! I thought she was Smith? Or something like that. Did he figure out that she was lying or is this out of chronological order from the previous episode, The Condemned? Difficult to tell… That’s just something I noticed during the story. This is a historical story, ultimately, with Dick Turpin. With the Grell and the Factualizer.

They tend to go on and on and on and on. This may be fun for the actors and establishes the Grell first time through. But it gets tedious the second time around. The episode wouldn’t’ve happened without the Grell but they’re hardly in the story, either. This story is one of those tricky ones that is neither a historical nor a straight adventure. It takes awhile to figure out what’s really going on but even then, it’s hard to see how it will end. Which is a rarity but at the same time, I never feel like Charley or the Doctor is in any real danger. Great cliffhanger in the middle but I just don’t buy it.

I really did like that everything’s based on a book Charley read, combined with the Grell’s Factualizer, then brought together in reality and only taken away by rosemary. In place of technological complications, Rayner substitutes a convoluted storyline that careens from moment to moment like a pinball. So there’s no way to know how we’ll get to the end, as we’re along for the ride from the perspective of the pinball, though we do know we’ll eventually fall into the black hole of an ending! I did like the story but despite the fact that I couldn’t guess where it was going next, I just felt a bit let down by the ending. Rayner’s also written The Marian Conspiracy, Dr. Who and the Pirates (which I loved), and 100 (with 3 others).

Colin Baker and India Fisher

Writer: Jaqueline Rayner

Director: Barnaby Edwards

Release: August 2008

Laura Vilensky 2019