Doctor Who Short Trips 8.03 review – The Turn Of The Screw

After a quick schedule shuffle, the latest Doctor Who Short Trip release is an Eddie Robson penned tale featuring Warrant Officer Charlie Sato, a member of the UNIT team who guard ‘The Vault’.

First created for the Companion Chronicles range, Charlie Sato is voiced by Jee Yee Tso who may be more familiar to fans for his role as San Francisco gangland scamp Chang Lee in Doctor Who – The Movie (a character to whom Big Finish do not have access to). Sato has appeared in The Vault and MasterMind, as well as other roles for the company, and he is very entertaining here as the UNIT guard gone undercover here.

On the trail of a broken sonic screwdriver, left behind by a certain time-traveller on one of his Earthly adventures, Sato finds himself hunted by various interested parties and meeting the Eighth Doctor under unusual circumstances; sans TARDIS, this Doctor pilots a VW Beetle as his did in some of the BBC Books’ Eighth Doctor Adventures.

Robson provides an all action story set in Puerto Rico and it is tremendous fun, if a touch grittier than we might usually expect – more in the vein of James Bond than Doctor Who in places. As befits its place in the Doctor’s timeline, this feels as much from modern Doctor Who as anything else, with a brief appearance from the psychic paper, and he also holds a nice little surprise for the end.

Yee Jee Tso give a spirited performance in the first person, moving from a dockyard encounter to a showdown at a space telescope. He handles the action scenes ably, and colourfully brings the other characters to life. Naturally, his Canadian accent lends the whole affair an international feel and the sound design and music from David Roocroft put us in mind of a heist movie, or an episode of a spy series at times.

And as for the cause of the schedule change? We are told that production issues have seen a pair of much anticipated Jackie Tyler fronted MetaCrisis Doctor stories, originally slated for later in the year, slip down the schedule – something for which Big Finish are very apologetic and for which they promise is “for good reason”… colour us intrigued!

Listen to an extract from The Turn Of The Screw here.