Doctor Who Audio Review: The End Of The Stranding

Stranded 4 is a Doctor Who audio boxset from Big Finish Productions and concludes a saga where the Doctor and his friends are trapped on Earth in a house with a malfunctioning TARDIS and Time in disarray. Paul McGann returns as the Eighth Doctor. He is joined by a guest cast that includes Nicola Walker, Hattie Morahan, Rebecca Root, Tom Price, and Colin Baker. There are four episodes directed by Ken Bentley.

Matt Fitton starts off this collection with Crossed Lines, which has the Doctor and young Robin meet while some of the residents of Baker Street contend with conflicting memories and time streams. The Curator is on hand to help, but he is not quite the man encountered earlier by Liv Chenka and Helen Sinclair in previous episodes. Colin Baker, who is best known as the Sixth Doctor, has the role after Tom Baker’s earlier performance. Colin does quite well, but that’s really no surprise. This is probably an episode that needs another run through the player to better understand it, but it was still enjoyable enough.

Just when we thought that Sgt. Andy Davidson was doomed in the previous set, writer Lisa McMullin decides to not allow that to last with her contribution, Get Andy. The Doctor is trying to rescue his apparently deceased friend from a rogue timeline but ends up in dire trouble himself. In the meantime, the mysterious traveler known as Mr. Bird comes to Andy’s aid; however, that doesn’t go as planned either. There are two storylines that are quite compelling. Andy is a somewhat comically optimistic character, and Tom Price does a great job with it. The Doctor is about to die in this one, and Paul McGann always delivers a compelling performance. His efforts to say his apparent good-byes to his companions is pretty moving. This may be the episode I enjoyed the most here.

Roy Gill continues the story with The Keys of Baker Street which has the remaining residents of the Doctor’s house facing what is left of reality. Colin Baker returns as the Curator in a final bow as that character. Hopefully, Colin Baker has plenty of bows left as the Sixth Doctor. Some effective sound design is presented here. This episode actually has the Doctor solve the problem of the shredded reality.

Which brings us to the conclusion written by John Dorney, Best Year Ever. The Doctor and his friends are now in what is apparently the genuine 2020, but of course that wasn’t a great year in any reality. Everyone is coping with the year of COVID 19. Liv Chenka and Tania Bell, played by Rebecca Root, figure out their relationship since one is a traveler in time and space and the other isn’t. This ended up being a rather tame final story for a lengthy saga. It was basically a character piece no real action that is typical of a Doctor Who episode that concludes a series.

I am just glad this thing is finally over. There were some interesting moments in the stories. The high points tend to include Colin Baker’s performance. Big Finish will find more to do with Paul McGann’s version of the Doctor. I ca understand Big Finish’s interest in changing the pace and maybe slowing things down a little, but at times it moved a bit too glacier-like for my taste. None of the stories turn out terribly. Unfortunately, it was a struggle to consistently stay interested. Anyway, all of time and space is available to this Doctor once again, so the pace should pick back up.

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