The TARDIS lands in the city of Tromesis. It’s a city on Earth but this is a world far removed from the one the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe recognize. Deserted streets and ruined buildings are host to ghostly echoes of the city’s once vibrant past. People vanish, and huge metal birds attack without warning from the sky. Can the Doctor find a way to save the future when the world he is trapped in hasn’t got one?
The Apocalypse Mirror stars Frazer Hines as Jamie McCrimmon and Wendy Padbury as Zoe Heriot. Once again Frazer is working double, no make that triple, time, providing a lot of characters voices as well as voicing the Doctor. Frazer’s take on the second Doctor is very impressive and he also effortlessly slips back into the role of Jamie. This is most evident in the scenes he shares with Wendy Padbury; the pair have a great chemistry together. The Companion Chronicles definitely work best when two companions are combined in the same story.
The tale itself is an interesting fresh take on what I had thought was a well worn science fiction staple (I won’t say which one as it would be too big a spoiler). It’s also one of the most atmospheric we’ve had in a while with its ruined dystopian setting and eerie echo’s of people from the past.
The companion chronicles are not for everyone but the Apocalypse Mirror demonstrates what is so good about them. Hines does such a good impersonation, if that is the right word, of Patrick Troughton that it feels like the story has the full TARDIS cast. Director Lisa Bowerman has also worked Frazer hard and with him doing so many different parts it feels much busier than most of the Companion Chronicles. Eddie Robson, the writer, clearly knew how talented Frazer was and didn’t shy away from adding the characters he needed to tell his tale.
If you’ve never tried the range, or only tried it when it first started out, then this story is worth giving a shot. It shows how the format has evolved and how it can be used to really tell amazing, captivating stories. Unless we suddenly find some old episodes then this is also the nearest we will get to enjoying the second Doctor. It’s out now and available from the Big Finish website.