With December 2018’s Short Trips, producer Ian Atkins takes his leave from production duties and leaves the range in a good place. This release, The Devil’s Footprints is no exception; it’s a great Seventh Doctor story read by Bonnie Langford, bringing a chance to hear Mel without Ace by her side. It’s written by Penelope Faith, who also wrote the 2016 story Lost and Found and this is another intriguing tale, well written and performed. It’s also rare (see also Mel-evolent) outing for Helen Goldwyn as director for this range.
The Devil’s Footprints
The synopsis sets out events:
The Doctor’s old friend, the reverend HT Ellacombe, has been out of touch for too long. But when the Doctor goes to find him, he and Mel discover something else entirely: unidentifiable footprints in the snow around the Victorian village where he lives.
The villagers are terrified that the very Devil walks their lands in the wintry nights, but with the Doctor distracted by finding his friend, it seems it’s up to Mel to do the snooping around in attempt to uncover the truth…
It’s an easy listen story with Mel making discoveries while the Doctor is distracted but once the nature of the Devil is revealed it’s over to the Doctor to make things right and this does take the focus away from Mel a little.
HT Ellacombe is a real historic figure (previously unknown to me) and Wikipedia reveals his name to be Henry Thomas, something the Doctor hadn’t managed to discover! It leaves the listener wondering just how much of Henry’s work on church bells (read the Wiki link) could be influenced by events in this story or just why Penelope chose him for her story.
So, 2018 ends with Ian passing the producer’s baton to Alfie Shaw. All good things…