Welcoming Ms Goodwin…

Company of FriendsIn Company of Friends Big Finish introduced us to Mary Shelley who returns for a trilogy with the Eighth Doctor in October 2011. To mark the event I re-listened to Mary’s Story and thought I would jot a few notes to get myself in the mood for the imminent Silver Turk.

If you’re interested keep going after the break – but be warned, as River would say ‘ Spoilers!’ and in comparison with my other reviews this is definitely true…

Story Synopsis

In 1816 Mary Shelley is staying in Switzerland with her husband Percy, her half-sister Clarie, Lord Byron and John Pollidori. In hte midst of the worst summer for a long time they are house bound when a bang on the door reveals itself to be The Doctor disfigured with scars and burns and close to death. He appears to die a few days later so Percy decides it might be fun to wire him to a lightning rod and attempt to re-animate him in a major lightning storm.

The lightning causes the Doctor intense pain and madness; he leaves the villa pursued by Mary who follows him to the TARDIS. There she helps send a distress call but only after a rambling from the Doctor about companions, how old he was and that Mary had also been a companion

Returning the to villa Mary is explaining things to her friends when ‘the creature’ as they call the wounded Doctor tries to break in. At this point the TARDIS appears and out comes the Doctor but younger and in perfect health. After some explanations he subdues his older self, goes to the latter’s TARDIS, regenerates it then takes it to the older Doctor. He (the older Doctor) then gets healed and after a stilted exchange leaves.

The younger Doctor then invites Mary to the join him in the TARDIS

Historical Accuracy

Full details are here but needless to say it is not far from what happened. Inconsistencies I note are:

  • At this point Mary was still unmarried and was therefore Mary Goodwin though calling herself Shelley. I would have thought the Doctor would know that
  • Would Mary have left to go with the Doctor? She had lost a child but later on had more children with Percy. She was somewhat ‘free spirited’ and the group were rather Bohemian so maybe she would.
For the rest it is all a tribute to her novel Frankenstein or ‘A modern Prometheus’ hence references to villagers with burning torches and the Hammer Horror scenes with the lightning.

Final Thoughts

I have yet to mention the performance of Julie Cox as Mary; having only just re-listened I have to own to being impressed particularly the quality of her narration when describing scenes of the creature in the TARDIS. Yes I know a lot is owed to the author and director but I found most of her scenes very evocative.

I look forward to later this month and the start of what I hope will be a long stint in the TARDIS!

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