Mat Coward is a new writer for Big Finish and he has penned the latest Companion Chronicle Upstairs. This is a First Doctor story for Vicki and Steven set at the heart of Empire!
How scary can Upstairs be? How well does Mat Coward capture the essence of the characters and the show? Find out…
The Big Finish product page is straight and to the point:
When the TARDIS lands in a dilapidated attic, the Doctor, Vicki and Steven discover they are on Earth, in London… in Number 10 Downing Street.
However alien forces are at play here, affecting the very fabric of the building… and adjusting the very essence of history itself.
The first third of the story has Vicki, the Doctor and Steven wandering around an apparently never-ending attic as they slowly realise where they are (above 10 Downing Street) and when they are (lost in a maze of rooms repeating through time. As they encounter various rooms full of abandoned furniture and broken nursery toys they occasionally meet something else – a large fungus!
As the story seems to settle down to being a maze mixed with a strange fungus the mood changes as they start to encounter the servants and learn just what has been going on and why certain prime ministers met early deaths!
They realise that the fungus is a threat to humanity that with the TARDIS could become a threat to everything and it is only through trickery that the TARDIS crew escape and win the day.
Many nice touches here – the performances as the servants are wonderful and there are many authentic elements such as reference to ‘the Ship’ for the TARDIS. There is also a sense of real panic over the threat of the fungus to the TARDIS itself; this is something that later Doctors wouldn’t worry about with their force-fields and other trickery. This is a First Doctor TARDIS more vulnerable than it would later become.
Peter Purves is very much in support here for what is a Vicki story which Maureen o’Brien carries well.
If I have a complaint it is that the combination of fungus and its time manipulation and ending up in 10 Downing Street was one stretch too many. Mat Coward did though do a good job of introducing the background to the story in a believable way and I hope he gets the chance to write for Big Finish again. You may also like to read the Doc Oho review as well.