Big Finish has just released its latest set of novel adaptations, the first of which is ‘Damaged Goods’.
A Seventh Doctor story starring Sylvester McCoy accompanied by two new-to-audio companions Chris Cwej (Travis Oliver) and Roz Forrester (Yasmin Bannerman), the significance of this story is in its origin – the original New Adventure story was published in 1996 and written by former showrunner Russell T Davies.
This release gives a glimpse into the early thinking of the man who would bring Doctor Who back to the small screen, but it is no nostalgia trip; it is a solid adaptation (by Jonathan Morris) of a well-regarded and dark novel set in 1987 telling several interwoven tales of human anguish, along with some science fiction twists.
Even without the science fiction, there is at the core of ‘Damaged Goods’ a strong story about Thatcher’s Britain, drugs, council estates, homosexuality and family. It is this core story Big Finish has focussed on with some amazing performances from two women at the centre of a tale of families with dark secrets – Winnie Tyler (Michelle Collins) and Eva Jericho (Denise Black).
If the wider Doctor Who elements seem secondary at times, this is not at the expense of the overall power of this drama and Ken Bentley’s direction is to be admired. The two companions are somewhat vanilla, no reflection on the actors, and listeners unfamiliar with their backgrounds from the 1990s novels may take time to get used to them. This is the first time they have appeared in Big Finish audios; it is a sage prediction that they could well return.
Jonathan Morris has added some twists in the adaption, including a couple of references to more modern Who that will please fans, and, while cutting some of the more adult content of the novel, there is plenty here for anyone who read and enjoyed the original novel.
This is highly recommended.
Released on Monday 13 April 2015 by Big Finish Productions Ltd.
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