‘The Second Oldest Question’ is posed this month by the Doctor Who Short Trips range, hot on the heels of September’s Capaldi era tale ‘Dead Media’. Narrated by Sarah Sutton, this is a story for Nyssa during her solo travels with the Fifth Doctor.
The story takes place in a medieval village, in the wake of a devastating fire. With an innocent foully accused of starting the blaze, the Doctor steps up to mount a spirited defence. In doing so, he uncovers an unexpected conspiracy.
Carrie Thompson’s story is beautifully descriptive and tackles a wonderfully daft premise as only Doctor Who can. While the Doctor defends the impossibly accused, we view the proceedings primarily through the eyes of Nyssa. However, as the story progresses, she remains frustratingly passive watching the Doctor’s legal theatrics.
Although there is a satisfying conclusion, we would have liked some further characterisation; there seemed little to root the tale to this particular Doctor and companion pairing.
Regardless, Sarah Sutton provides a spirited narration and provides an entertaining range of voices to populate the court. Sound designer Richard Fox sets the scene well and offers a suitably enthusiastic crowd, as well as the specific vocalisations of the defendant herself.
Next month, the Short Trips brings us ‘Hall of the Ten Thousand’, an Eighth Doctor and Charley tale narrated by India Fisher.
Additionally, Big Finish have announced details of December’s free Short Trip release, the winner of this year’s Paul Spragg Memorial Short Trip Opportunity winner: a Twelfth Doctor story entitled ‘The Best-Laid Plans’, written by Ben Tedds.