Doctor Who Reviews – 1.03 Storm Warning

The Eighth Doctor takes center stage in Big Finish Production’s Storm Warning. The first solo story of the Eighth Doctor introduces his companion Charley Pollard and a plot line about the Doctor’s creating a broken string in the Web of Time. Storm Warning creates a strong introduction to both characters who continue to shine in the current productions.

The Doctor starts this story sometime well after his regeneration from his seventh life in the Doctor Who Movie, dubbed the Enemy Within. He has his long hair and his Edwardian attire that he wore in the movie, but makes reference to earlier adventures in Mary Shelly. This being a story about breaking time, the Doctor’s initial issues with the TARDIS are caused by what he has not yet done yet leading him right to the place to make this all happen. Confusing? Not for fans of Doctor Who.

Charley’s adventure originally happens simultaneously to the Doctor arriving on the doomed airship the R101. She has stowed away and pretending to be a young man. She hides her hair beneath a cap, and goes to work. With the introduction of a vortisaur, a temporal pterodactyl that feeds on time, the Doctor and Charley meet. She meets up with the Doctor as a secondary stowaway and the adventures ensue.

The story follows a lot of classic who plots with one thing leading directly to a bigger plot. Charley is a stowaway of a doomed ship. There’s a mysterious passenger with the man in charge having a secret linked with the passenger. The passenger turns out to be an alien. The commander is looking to bring the alien home for glory of the British empire. This leads to the final climax and resolution.

India Fisher creates the wonder personage of Charlotte Pollard. She’s a strong independent woman who basically invites herself into the TARDIS after helping the Doctor with the adventure. She compliments this Doctor’s romantic nature and the adventurous spirit. Paul McGann comes back into the role excellently as the romantic Doctor. He gives the Doctor a more serious nature than the frivolity that his representation in the movie. He has a concrete grasp of just exactly who the Eighth Doctor is and it comes through in the tone of his voice.

The most interesting about this introduction tale is it begins a long arc throughout the Eighth Doctor’s monthly range stories. Charley Pollard, like all the passengers of the R101, was supposed to die. She did not. The Doctor makes note of this throughout the first story about breaking the Web of Time, first when the soldiers wish to capture the alien spacecraft and again when he tries to stop the alien weapon from making it to the ground. In the end, the Doctor himself breaks the Web of Time by not realizing that Charley was supposed to be on the ship and the line of coffins in Westminster Abbey that time says should be there are minus one.

As an introductory story, Storm Warning creates an interesting tale of imperial England. Charley creates a strong companion for the Eighth Doctor to travel. It begins an intriguing plot about the Web of Time being broke. And it leaves the audience wondering just what will happening next.

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