blogger_who (blogger_who) wrote,

Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles 3.5 - Home Truths

Rewritten from material that I originally posted 5/21/13 on another forum.

Blurb: There’s a house across the waters at Ely where an old woman tells a strange story.

About a kind of night constable called Sara Kingdom. And her friends, the Doctor and Steven. About a journey they made to a young couple’s home, and the nightmarish things that were found there. About the follies of youth and selfishness. And the terrible things even the most well-meaning of us can inflict on each other.

Hear the old woman's story. Then decide her fate.

Format: Limited-cast audio drama, a Companion Chronicle from the point-of-view of Sara Kingdom. Published by Big Finish Productions and released November of 2008.

Setting: Earth: Ely, England, time unknown. It's far in advance of Sara's time as she doesn't understand the technology that provides the basis for the House. Since the narration occurs a thousand years later I would say that this is no earlier than 6000 AD. The narration occurs a thousand years later after civilization has collapsed and technology appears to be on par with early 20th century levels. Lance Parkin's AHistory gives the year for the narrated story as 199,750 and the date of the narration as 200,750.

Continuity: This story takes place between two episodes of The Daleks Masterplan, The Feast of Steven and Volcano. This story must happen sometime after the events of The Anachronauts. Sara refers to having been in Hollywood (see The Daleks Masterplan). She talks about a little boy named Robert dying in her arms (see the short story The Little Drummer Boy in Short Trips: Companions). She also talks about finding an old withered man in a clock, something that will be explained in Guardian of the Solar System.

Canonicity Quotient: We have a bad case of the unreliable narrator here. Some of the characterization of Sara Kingdom is off, but for the most part this story fits in well with the established continuity. It's impossible to tell how much of this is real and how much is distorted but the main facts need to be true. 0.95

Discussion: Home Truths is an odd story. I was glad to hear an account of how the early episodes of The Daleks Masterplan effected Sara Kingdom. It was also a clever means of allowing her to do Companion Chronicles. The story was atmospheric and had a kind of logic to it, the idea that no human can have the power of wishes or their unconscious thoughts would go out of control. This has been a staple of SF since at least The Forbidden Planet. Yet, I found this story somewhat empty and here's why.

While I have been pleasantly surprised by Carol Anne Ford, William Russell, Maureen O'Brien, and Peter Purves, Jean Marsh does not in any way seem to recreate the character of Sara Kingdom. She talks about Daleks, the SSS, and Bret but her voice and inflection does not evoke the earlier character in any way. Its like listening to someone's grandmother reading you a story. Yes it's unfair. For her it was 9 weeks of work almost 50 years ago. The other character mentioned at least had a year in the part, but still it hurts when I'm trying to remind myself of the feel of that period of the series.

I have an incredibly difficult time believing that a woman who would coldly kill her own brother without even allowing him to speak in his defense was at all squeamish about checking a body. Did it help to create atmosphere? Yes. Did it feel right for the character? No.

There is absolutely no context for this story. I was unclear on whether it was supposed to be set before or after Sara's time. She seems to think this level of opulence is a relic from a previous era but she also seems flabbergasted by the technology at work. Then we've got a guy who says that he's a scientist or rationale man but apparently is there to perform an exorcism in the name of the Church? Apparently he's from Cambridge. Is the Church the CoE? If this is some future time even far in advance of 4000 AD I find it hard to believe that the CoE is even still around or that even England is still around as its own entity. Is this some other Church? At what point did Doctor Who stop having an atheistic future? There are so many unknowns that I stop to think about it through the whole story to the point that it interferes with listening to the story. As one of the shorter CC's we probably could have used about 10 minutes of exposition at the end. Maybe the other Sara Kingdom stories will give some more explanations but for now I felt that this was far to distracting to get highest marks although it certainly wasn't bad either. At the very least I'm looking forward to Anachronauts but next up is The Drowned World.

Final Rating: 6/10

Recommendation:: It's a bit of a mess. The core is classic sci-fi and I've done my best not to give away the twist. Yet, the story lacks a certain context that may make it difficult for someone as steeped in Who lore as I am than for someone new coming in off the street. So even though this one isn't my favorite I'm going to say give this one a listen but don't get the rest of the Sara Kingdom Trilogy until you know if you liked this one.
Tags: anachronauts, audio drama, companion chronicles, daleks masterplan, doctor who, first doctor, guardian of the solar system, home truths, jean marsh, sara kingdom, season 3, simon guerrier

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.