‘THE THREE COMPANIONS’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Adventures with Polly, the Brigadier and Thomas Brewster
I have happy memories listening to this CD box set of ‘The Companion Chronicle Specials’ by Big Finish!
‘The Companion Chronicles: The Specials’ contain five CDs of ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventures that were released exclusively either on main range Big Finish CD releases or through ‘Doctor Who Magazine’. I myself didn’t listen to these adventures when they were originally released in that form.
Thankfully I didn’t need to, as these audio stories were re-released and compiled together in this five-disc CD box set. There are three ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventures in total. These include ‘The Three Companions’ on the first three discs; ‘The Mists of Time’ on Disc 4 and ‘Freakshow’ on Disc 5.
I purchased the CD box set in November 2011 and enjoyed listening to the three stories. There are five companions featured in this CD box set. ‘The Three Companions’ has Polly, the Brigadier and Thomas Brewster in it, ‘The Mists of Time’ has Jo Grant in it and ‘Freakshow’ has Turlough in it.
‘THE THREE COMPANIONS: POLLY’S STORY’
‘The Three Companions’ is an epic story by Marc Platt and was originally divided into 12 ten-minute episodes. The episodes were released as extras for the main range of ‘Doctor Who’ Big Finish audios.
‘The Three Companions’ stars Anneke Wills as Polly, Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier and John Pickard as Thomas Brewster. Why these three companions were chosen specifically, I do not know.
I’m afraid I went into ‘The Three Companions’ late as I first heard the last episode of ‘The Brigadier’s Story’ instead. But with catching up, I’ve been able to enjoy this first instalment of the big adventure.
In ‘Polly’s Story’, Polly is writing an e-mail to the Brigadier. She’s tracking down the Doctor, after having reading a blog article by Jo Jones née Grant, also detailed in ‘The Doll of Death’ by Marc Platt!
The Brigadier responds to Polly’s e-mail and the two share their experiences of knowing the Doctor. I enjoyed these exchanges about the Doctor between Polly and the Brigadier via e-mail at the start .
It was amusing and heart-warming when Polly was dismayed that the Brigadier’s Doctor wasn’t her Doctor at all. But the Brig clears this up, by saying her first two Doctors came before his own Doctor.
In this adventure, the Doctor, Polly, Ben and Jamie visit a street where there’s the machine G-Naught patrolling as well as the dreaded Coffin-Loaders. This could mean trouble with the TARDIS foursome.
Whilst Polly is telling this adventure of hers to the Brigadier, a certain ‘snooper’ tracks them. This happens to be Thomas Brewster himself. How did Brewster know where to find the Brig and Polly?!
Anneke Wills delivers a sensational performance as Polly throughout this epic adventure. I like how she balances the older Polly when telling the story as well as the younger Polly during her little tale.
I get the impression that Anneke enthuses a lot into the role of Polly and she certainly adds more to what Marc Platt writes in her character. It’s not to disparage Marc’s talents, but to improve on them.
It was fun hearing how Polly shares her interactions with the Doctor, Ben and Jamie during this adventure of hers and how the Brigadiers keeps butting in. It does help to keep the listener awake.
Meanwhile in the story, Polly, the Doctor, Ben and Jamie meet a slimy character in the form of Russell Floyd as Gerry Lenz (G.L. as he prefers it). G.L. is seemingly involved with these Coffin-Loaders.
It becomes clear that G.L. is a nasty piece of work and the Doctor and Polly don’t warm to him when they meet him. G.L. sounds dodgy as well as cockney. He evens offers Polly a deal in this adventure.
I must admit I found this story complex to listen to, even with all its mini-episodes compiled into one. I’m not sure how to visualise the setting, which is apparently called Cosmic Finance Central Five.
I like the references made to Jones née Grant and her husband Professor Clifford Jones from ‘The Green Death’. It’s so good to know these two are still married by this point in ‘Doctor Who’ history.
By the time Polly finishes her tale, it’s not over yet. Polly’s story stirs up memories for the Brigadier as he remembers something, especially with Gerry Lenz. He soon starts to share ‘his story’ to Polly…
‘The Three Companions: Polly’s Story’ rating – 7/10
‘THE THREE COMPANIONS: THE BRIGADIER’S STORY’
In this instalment of ‘The Three Companions’, the Brigadier gets to share his story to Polly on how he had an adventure with the Third Doctor. This was interesting, as the Brig rarely travels in the TARDIS.
‘The Brigadier’s Story’ was the second four episodes of ‘The Three Companions’. They were released on the ‘Patient Zero’, ‘Paper Cuts’, ‘Blue Forgotten Planet’ and ‘Castle of Fear’ CDs by Big Finish.
As I said, the first time I heard an episode of ‘The Three Companions’ was the last one with ‘The Brigadier’s Story’, released with ‘Castle of Fear’. It was strange without hearing the earlier episodes.
But I enjoyed the experience and more of the episodes as I got into ‘Brewster’s Story’ for the next two main range Big Finish CDs. Having heard the story in full has enabled me to understand it more.
In ‘The Brigadier’s Story’, the Brig shares with Polly how he walked into the TARDIS to find the Doctor, before it took off to respond to a distress call. Thus the Brig has an adventure in the TARDIS.
This wasn’t the first time the Brigadier had been in the TARDIS before. Oh no! The Brig was in the TARDIS for ‘The Three Doctors’ when he joined the adventure to the anti-matter world with Omega.
By the way, the Brigadier’s segment of this epic takes place between ‘The Green Death’ and ‘The Time Warrior’. The Third Doctor is still moody, following the departure of his dearest companion Jo.
In this adventure, the Doctor and the Brigadier visit a facsimile of London’s Waterloo railway station. This model railway station happens to be above the London Thames and have the Statue of Liberty?!
This is where Marc Platt’s weird, creative genius comes into play during this story. The Brigadier assumes they’ve come to another Earth-like world, before the clues of its unreality comes into focus.
The Doctor and the Brigadier also meet facsimiles of Polly whilst at Waterloo Station. They aren’t the real Pollys of course, as they happen to be named Alice Walker and cockney Florrie Cooper instead.
The real Polly, who the Brigadier keeps in touch with, is shocked and dismayed when she’s told about this. It of course gives Anneke Wills a chance to play some difference characters in Polly form.
Eventually, the Doctor and the Brigadier find Gerry Lenz (or Garry Lender as he prefers to call himself now). He’s still a nasty piece of work. The Brigadier as well as the Doctor doesn’t warm to him either.
I wonder who this Gerry Lenz and Garry Lender is all about in this story and why he seems to have meet Polly and the Brigadier in these adventures. This would all be answered in the final instalment.
Nicholas Courtney is wonderful as the Brigadier in this adventure. He still maintains that nostalgic feeling about the Brigadier from the TV series and narrates well when doing a Companion Chronicle.
This isn’t the first time that Nick Courtney has done a Big Finish audio. He’s also done many full-cast dramas and a Companion Chronicle in ‘Old Soldiers’. It was lovely to hear Nick doing this adventure.
It’s strange to think that Nick Courtney recorded this story as the Brigadier before his death in 2011. Having the Brigadier as one of ‘The Three Companions’ is a true tribute to his role in ‘Doctor Who’.
‘The Brigadier’s Story’ ends with Gerry Lenz or Garry Lender escaping whilst the Doctor and the Brigadier escape in the TARDIS before the model Waterloo railway station blows up. Explosive, hey?!
During the story, Polly and the Brigadier keep receiving e-mails from a certain Thomas Brewster. He tells them that ‘the TARDIS awaits’ and is expecting to meet them when they come to London soon…
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 2, there are behind-the-scenes interviews with Nicholas Courtney and writer Marc Platt, conducted by producer David Richardson which was lovely.
‘The Three Companions: The Brigadier’s Story’ rating – 8/10
‘THE THREE COMPANIONS: BREWSTER’S STORY’
The final instalment of ‘The Three Companions’ takes place from Thomas Brewster’s point of view. It also occurs during the present day for the year 2009, where Brewster meets the Brigadier and Polly.
‘Brewster’s Story’ was the last four episodes of ‘The Three Companions’. They were released on ‘The Eternal Summer’, ‘Plague of the Daleks’, ‘A Thousand Tiny Wings’ and the ‘Survival of the Fittest’ CDs.
I listened to the first two episodes of ‘Brewster’s Story’ whilst I was enjoying ‘The Eternal Summer’ and ‘Plague of the Daleks’. I knew who Thomas Brewster was already after hearing his audio stories.
Thomas Brewster was character who met the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa in the Big Finish audios of ‘Doctor Who’. He came from Victorian London and had a damaged upbringing with being an orphan.
In ‘Brewster’s Story’, Thomas is working at a café in London 2009 where the Brigadier and Polly meet up. The Brigadier and Polly don’t know who had sent the e-mail about ‘the TARDIS awaits’ for them.
I like it when Brewster reflects on how he misses Nyssa during the story. It goes to show how much Nyssa made an impression on him, since she was kind to him in ‘The Haunting of Thomas Brewster’.
Eventually, something happens and the Brigadier and Polly know that it’s trouble. They are about to leave, but Brewster has locked the café front door. The Brigadier and Polly demand answers of him.
Soon Brewster reveals to the Brigadier and Polly what’s going on and how he met up with a certain employer of his called Gerard Lendler. This adds more back-story to Thomas Brewster’s solo travels.
This wasn’t the first time that Marc Platt had written for Thomas Brewster. Oh no! He wrote for Brewster in the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa story ‘Time Reef’ and got a knack with writing his character.
Very soon, the Brigadier and Polly meet Brewster’s employer. Gerard Lendler happens to be the same man, Gerry Lenz and Garry Lender, whom Polly and the Brigadier had met all those years ago.
It was interesting how Thomas Brewster in the TARDIS got picked up by G.L. when journeying adrift in space. G.L. gets impatient with Brewster when he sets him out to carry out a job for him and a client.
That client happens to be Professor Clifford Jones, Jo Jones née Grant’s husband. It was lovely to hear those references to Jo and her husband, although this story had originally meant to feature her.
I enjoyed John Pickard’s impersonation of Professor Clifford Jones in the story. Hearing him do Clifford Jones made me feel like I was hearing Stewart Bevan’s strong Welsh accent during the story.
Speaking of John Pickard, it was great to have him back playing Thomas Brewster again in this ‘Doctor Who’ audio. I like Thomas Brewster as a character, even though he does divide fan opinion.
It was fun to hear him narrate as Thomas Brewster whilst witnessing events in the story. It was also so intriguing how he interacted with the Brigadier and Polly compared to the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa.
As I said before, this adventure adds more back-story in terms of what Thomas Brewster has been up to since he stole the Doctor’s TARDIS. Who knows what else Thomas Brewster did in that time?!
It was fun to hear how Polly and Brewster get to escape from being captured and rescue the Brigadier. The Brigadier also gets captured and has a duplicate version made of him for G.L.’s agenda.
My only disappointment with this final segment of ‘The Three Companions’ was the Doctor not turning up. It would have been nice if the Fifth Doctor turned up to sort out Brewster’s mess in this.
The story ends with Brewster, the Brigadier and Polly defeating the Coffin-Loaders and seeing Mr. G.L. off. Thomas Brewster soon heads back into the TARDIS and travelling off to goodness knows where…
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 3, there are behind-the-scenes interviews with Anneke Wills, John Pickard, director Lisa Bowerman and writer Marc Platt, conducted by producer David Richardson.
‘The Three Companions’ has been an enjoyable audio adventure with Polly, the Brigadier and Thomas Brewster. I’m so glad to have listened to the entire story and to understand it more clearly.
‘The Three Companions: Brewster’s Story’ rating – 7/10
‘The Three Companions’ rating – 8/10
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For the Second Doctor was
For Polly was
For Ben was
For Jamie was
For the Third Doctor was
For the Brigadier was
For Thomas Brewster was
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For the Second Doctor is
For Polly is
For Ben is
For Jamie is
For the Third Doctor is
For the Brigadier is
For Thomas Brewster is
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