‘AN EARTHLY CHILD’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Grandfather reunites with Granddaughter and meets Great-Grandson
“One day I shall come back! Yes, I shall come back!” –The First Doctor, ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’.
This is a superb audio adventure! ‘An Earthly Child’ by Marc Platt is the 2009 subscriber’s special of ‘Doctor Who’ from Big Finish. It stars Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor and it’s a 70-minute long adventure of him reuniting with his granddaughter. Carole Ann Ford returns to play Susan in the series.
Susan travelled with the First Doctor, Ian and Barbara in Season 1 of classic ‘Doctor Who’. She left the TARDIS to marry David Campbell whom she fell in love with in ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’. Her grandfather promised to come back and see Susan again and he fulfils that promise for this adventure.
The Doctor, now in his eighth incarnation, finds Susan again. It’s many years after the Dalek occupation of Earth in the 22nd century ended. Susan speaks to the human race now in unrest. Another alien invasion is about to occur and Susan’s son (and the Doctor’s great-grandson) Alex is in the middle of it all.
I really like how Marc Platt writes the reunion between Susan and her grandfather who is now in his eighth body. It’s a wonderful, touching reunion as Susan easily recognises him, despite him being younger than he was. She’s surprised her grandfather is now in his eighth body since the last time she saw him.
Susan clearly remembers the events of ‘The Five Doctors’ when reuniting with her grandfather as the Eighth Doctor. Therefore, she must be of the same blood and race as her grandfather on Gallifrey. I did like the nods and references made to those previous adventures Susan’s had with her grandfather.
Carole Ann Ford clearly embraces reprising her role as Susan in this audio adventure. I really liked how Susan’s character gets developed compared to the TV series. It’s a shame that her husband David died recently and that she seems to struggle keeping the world together and looking after her son on Earth.
Paul McGann is equally delightful to listen to as the Doctor and I like how he interacts with Susan in that grandfather-granddaughter relationship. This is something that Paul likes with character-developing. He must have been pleased to discover more of the Doctor’s family-ties in this audio story.
The story features Susan’s son and the Doctor’s great-grandson named Alex Campbell. Jake McGann plays him. Jake is the real-life son of Paul McGann, so it was very nice to have him play the Doctor’s great-grandson in this adventure and maintain the family bonds together both in character and reality.
Alex is a rebellious teenager who gets mixed up with the revolts on Earth against alien intervention and xenophobia. He meets his great-grandfather, the Doctor, but doesn’t know who he is at first and finds him annoying. He distances himself from his mother with joining the youthful rebellions on Earth.
Another special guest star is Leslie Ash who previously appeared in ‘The Haunting of Thomas Brewster’ with Peter Davison. Leslie guest stars as Marion Fleming, one of Jake’s schoolteachers, who is deeply concerned about him. Leslie Ash also does the voice for Hope who talks to Susan during this adventure.
The guest cast also includes Sheryl Gannaway as Holly Barrett and Matt Addis as Faisal Jensen. There’s also Ian Hallard (who has appeared in the audio story ‘Primeval’ with Peter Davison) as Duncan and Ian Brooker (who has done many Big Finish ‘Doctor Who’ audios) as the President of the Earth Council.
The story ends with the Doctor and Susan bringing Alex into the TARDIS. Alex is shocked by what he sees as the Doctor and Susan explain who they are and that they used to travel in time and space. Alex doesn’t want to know and runs out upset. It made me wonder whether that was the last we’ll see of Alex.
There’s a touching farewell scene between the Eighth Doctor and Susan at the end. The Doctor offers Susan to join him in his travels in the TARDIS again. But Susan kindly refuses her grandfather’s offer as she stays on Earth with her son. But it is clear the Doctor will see her granddaughter again pretty soon.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of this disc, there’s an enjoyable interview with Paul McGann and his son Jake, conducted by producer David Richardson. I enjoyed how Paul and his son Jake shared working together and the possibility that Jake could return to play Alex once again in ‘Doctor Who’. 😉
I enjoyed ‘An Earthly Child’ very much. It’s a great story where the Doctor reunites with his granddaughter Susan and meets his great-grandson Alex. It’s well-written by Marc Platt, though the story was over quickly than anticipated. Clearly this isn’t the last time the Doctor sees Susan. More is yet to come! 😀
‘An Earthly Child’ rating – 8/10
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