Doctor Who: Battle Scars review

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The July 2019 Doctor Who Short Trips release from Big Finish is a Selim Ulug tale, Battle Scars. It’s a Ninth Doctor story, performed by Nick Briggs and set very much near (if not at) the beginning of the Ninth Doctor’s time. There’s no Rose, instead a family living in Southampton in 1912. It turns out the Doctor isn’t the only person plagued by memories of war.

A Titanic Story

Welcome to the Daniels family. Arthur Daniels suffers from nightmares brought on by serving in the Boer War; his business is in trouble and the family needs a change of scene. A holiday. What could be better than a trip to America onboard the Titanic?

To complicate life even further, a stranger has appeared from a blue shed suddenly standing in the garden. He needs care and while recuperating from his own nightmares, earns of the problems facing the family.

All the Doctor has to do is get to the bottom of Arthur’s problems, sort out the family debt and stop them travelling on the Titanic. Surely another day in the busy life of the last of the Time Lords?

It’s a pleasurable listen, there are plenty of emotional moments and a satisfying ending. If a couple of places are rushed, let’s remember this is a 42-minute story, not a full-cast epic. Nick Brigg’s Ninth Doctor is more than passable though.

Selim has taken an interesting approach to this tale (no doubt under the guidance of producer / script editor/ director Alfie Shaw), in that it uses the Titanic without overusing it. Other writers might have set a story on the ship as the iceberg hits, instead here it’s an unstoppable force acting as a backdrop to an exploration of war and its impacts on individuals.

Writing Battle Scars

Selim had this to say on how he approached Battle Scars:

I wanted to use this story to explore the impact of war on its participants. The Doctor, after all, was recently in the Time War. Other characters in the story fought in the second Boer War. They’re all looking for ways to move forward.

The story is available to buy now (download only) for around the price of a coffee, or even cheaper if you take out a subscription, giving all twelve of 2019’s releases.