In the August 2017 Short Trips, Wendy Padbury reprises the role of Zoe in the Ian Potter Second Doctor story The British Invasion. Directed by Lisa Bowerman, this story is set in post-war Britain, and starts off as a simple tale, then becomes something much more.
The British Invasion
The product page tells us some things:
A huge metal dome sits by the side of the river Thames, within it is a device that might change the entire future of humanity. The Doctor, Zoe and Jamie embark on a small act of kindness but the TARDIS seems oddly unwilling to help. It’s as if it knows the truth. There is something waiting here, something adaptable and cunning, gathering its strength to conquer the stars.
Unusually the news release tells us a lot more:
Writer Ian Potter gives us his inspiration behind this new adventure:
“Back in 1951 when Britain was still recovering from the 2nd World War, a countrywide event was held looking forward to a brighter future for the nation and looking back on its history with a sense of pride – The Festival of Britain. On London’s South Bank strikingly modern buildings sprouted up full of wonders and spectacle. The modern marvel of television was displayed in the Telekinema on the site now occupied by the British Film Institute and the dramatic Skylon and Dome of Discovery brought futuristic ‘Dan Dare’ architecture to the London’s skyline.
“I think there’s definitely something of the Festival of Britain’s aspirations for the future and celebration of history woven into the DNA of early Doctor Who, so it was a delight to put the Doctor and his companions into the Festival and explore the gap between the history and future on display with the history and future they’d lived and travelled through.”
Into this come the Doctor and companions, and in pursuing their small act of kindness, they come up against an enemy familiar to followers of Big Finish (they they once appeared on TV). I won’t spoil it, but let’s just say how well they work with this setting.
The storytelling is solid, and by the end I’d been so absorbed I’d forgotten I hadn’t been watching the original show, with the Doctor and Jamie side by side with Zoe. I can only quite Ian Atkins from teh news item:
“I’m always so impressed with the work Wendy Padbury does for Big Finish, even though she modestly talks down her talents. I think The British Invasion shows her at her best, with such an affectionate take on Jamie and the Doctor, as well as devouring Ian Potter‘s multi-layered prose.
“Ian’s research into this Short Trip was astonishing, and I really appreciate it when a writer gives their all to ‘just’ a short story. It makes it particularly special and keeps the range’s quality as high as possible. Ian’s treatise on the modus operandi of the story’s villain was exhaustively researched, as was his portrayal of the Festival of Britain. Google this to find out how 1951 saw the future. And listen to the Short Trip to find out how it nearly didn’t see 1952…”
It may be a short tale, but it’s a good one!