With this set of four stories, Big Finish has avoided the use of ‘series 1’ in the title, but it’s clear from the first few moments this will be a popular and entertaining series for years to come. Georgia Tennant leaps from adventure to adventure, with all the bravado, vigour and joy for life the tenth Doctor himself could show, and her performance never wavers from being full-on.
Matt Fitton wrote the first story, Stolen Goods, and reminds us just who Jenny is, introduces a mysterious memory-free companion (Noah, played by Sean Biggerstaff), a relentless enemy in the form of cyber-assassin COLT-5005 (Borg-like Siân Phillips) and a fast-talking would-be friend in the form of Garundel (Sturt Milligan). It’s a romp, full of energy, conmen, explosions and has a whole Star Wars feel. It’s a great start to the set.
John Dorney then parks the whole set up and brings Jenny to suburban England and an invasion by death-dealing Ood. It’s part mystery, part farce, and all entertainment, and even has a writer called John (played by Mr Dorney) in the story. Events centre on Angie Glazebrook (Arabella Weir) and the attempts to have a really useful neighbourhood meeting in the midst of alien invasion.
The third story, Christian Brassington’s Neon Reign, brings us to an intriguing alien world, where half the population are suppressed by drugs, the others work for the Dragon Lord, servings the foul factories under the baleful glare of the Dragon Guards. It’s a chance to Jenny to show of her soldiering skills, Noah to wander around and randomly make some key discoveries, and the first hints as to Noah’s background. There is a twist, but it’s signalled early on and doesn’t surprise, though does entertain.
Events come to a head as the COLT-5000 tracks Jenny and Noah to Zero Space in Adrian Poynton’s story of the same name. There’s a space station full of scientists, including Dreda (Adèle Anderson) and Cal (Anthony Calf). The scientists may be able to tell our heroes more about Noah’s background, but only if the COLT-5000 can be held off. There are battles, betrayals and explosions a-plenty, and even a surprise, and the set ends in style, listeners surely safe in the knowledge Jenny has plenty more running to do.
Director Barnaby Edwards does his usual superb job with a great cast, and the action never stops for long. Is this essential listening for Doctor Who fans? Perhaps not, but it is good and sure to entertain. It’s been ten years since Georgia put in her first appearance as Jenny – it can’t be too long until her next!