‘Hall of the Ten Thousand’, the latest Doctor Who Short Trip, features the Eighth Doctor and his enduring fan-favourite companion, Charlotte “Charley” Pollard. Keen to meet the well-renowned artist, the Doctor brings Charley to the “Hall of the Ten Thousand”, an art installation orbiting a former war-torn, now peaceful, planet. With echoes of China’s Terracotta Army, the hall stands in memorial to lives lost in a brief and brutal conflict.
Despite blagging their way in, the time travellers soon have questions. Why is the artist hiding herself away – and why is the installation not being maintained?
Author Jaine Fenn’s story, her first for Big Finish, captures the Doctor and Charley brilliantly. Beneath the well-observed banter, it considers deeper themes; the futility of war and the notion of art born from despair. It heads to a wonderfully bleak ending too. There is also plenty fun with logic, not least as Charley tries to implement the “two-door riddle”: immortalised in Labyrinth, it is also lovely nod back to the ‘The Pyramids of Mars’.
India Fisher narrates assuredly and the story rips along at an entertaining pace. Despite a slightly disingenuous blurb, there are no angelic statues here (and surely, they’d have been on Mark Plastow’s striking cover) this is an entertaining tale. It is always great to spend time with the Eighth Doctor and Charley.