The March 2018 Big Finish Doctor Who: Short Trips was The Turn of the Screw by Eddie Robson. It’s read by Yee Jee Tso, reprising UNIT office Charlie Sato. This story brings Charlie into contact with the Eighth Doctor, a nice touch given Yee Jee Tso\s part in Doctor Who: the Movie. Is this story any good? Let’s find out…
The Turn of the Screw
Ignoring the Poe-like title, screw has a more relevant interpretation, as the synopsis implies:
Charlie Sato has been chasing a bit of alien junk from England to Puerto Rico. He’s finally got his hands on it – but now he’s got to get it safely off the island. The aliens he stole it from want it back, and someone else has hired a group of thugs to get hold of it. And then there’s the original owner – he might come looking too.
All this for a screwdriver? Someone, somewhere must want to unscrew some pretty important screws.
Although it’s a Doctor Who story, for the most part it’s more like an action hero tale. It’s told from Charlie’s point of view, and there’s plenty of violence and conflict. More interesting to fans, there are lots of nods to continuity, with plenty of opportunity for the alert fan to spot a reference to modern era Doctor Who. None of this is essential, as neither Charlie, nor the Eighth Doctor know the things we do.
Eddie Robson’s writing for the Doctor is spot on: even thought Yee Jee Tso is American, and the overall feel is more like a Torchwood story somehow [now there’s an idea!], it feels like the Eighth Doctor is very much in the room. There are lots of nice details as well: a curious gang of thugs, the South American location and the surprise at the end (no spoilers!). Again this is one of those stories that hits a spot only this format seems able to reach. I very much look forward to the next one.