‘THE ETERNAL SUMMER’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
“But thy eternal summer shall not fade…” – William Shakespeare, Sonnet XVIII
‘The Eternal Summer’ is a thrilling; fantastic and brilliant instalment in ‘The Stockbridge Trilogy’!
I stated in my ‘Castle of Fear’ review, that I’d put Disc 1 of ‘The Eternal Summer’ into my CD player after hearing the first story of the trilogy over Christmas in 2009. I was excited once being immersed back into the world of Stockbridge and wanting to find out what happened to the Doctor and Nyssa.
I’ve had my CD cover of ‘The Eternal Summer’ signed by Peter Davison at the ‘Regenerations 2016’ convention in Swansea, September 2016 and the lovely Sarah Sutton at the ‘Collectormania Glasgow 2012’ convention in August 2012. I told Sarah how much I love the Stockbridge stories and that they’re my favourites. Sarah told me that they’re her favourites as well.
‘The Eternal Summer’ follows on after the Doctor and Nyssa fail to stop the Rutan ship from exploding. Instead of being shattered into smithereens, the Doctor and Nyssa find themselves back in Stockbridge during the present day. But something is not right as time goes haywire in the village.
This is a four-part story by Jonathan Morris. It is the second story of ‘The Stockbridge Trilogy’. I loved the concepts in this story by Jonny Morris, who loves time paradoxes and fiddling about with time, making it wibbley-wobbly, timey-wimey. He focuses on the Stockbridge locals who get to live forever
For the Doctor and Nyssa, they’re being treated as ‘if they’ve been inhabitants of the settlement for years’. The Doctor happens to be the ‘village doctor’ and Nyssa happens to be the ‘post mistress’. As the story progresses, they realise that Stockbridge is caught in a time bubble and they can’t escape.
Jonny Morris recreates the village of Stockbridge as I remember it from ‘Circular Time: Autumn’ (my favourite audio). There’s the peaceful, calm, heavenly quality to the village but there is also something sinister added as the villagers are trapped; enclosed and unable to escape from eternity.
I love the story’s guest cast as it features Roger Hammond and Susan Brown as the married couple, Harold and Alice Withers; Nick Brimble as the landlord, Dudley Jackson and Abigail Hollick as the schoolmistress, Jane Potter. I like how they both have pleasant and sinister sides to them in this tale.
The character of paramount interest is Mark Williams as Maxwell Edison or Max for short. Max is the Doctor’s friend in Stockbridge. He first appeared in the ‘Doctor Who’ comic story called ‘Stars Fell on Stockbrdge’. There’s even a flashback scene from the comic story in this one which was very exciting.
Mark Williams delivers a marvellous performance as Max. I like how he plays Max with his bumbling yet somewhat keen and enthusiastic charm when helping out the Doctor. Max is rejected by the locals since he’s not considered part of the village, but he has a sixth sense to help him save the day.
I’m looking forward to when Max returns to ‘Doctor Who’ on audio. I wonder whether he’ll be reunited with Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton again or whether he’ll be in an audio adventure with Paul McGann’s Doctor (as Max also appeared in the Eighth Doctor comic strips). I hope it’ll be soon.
Pam Ferries guest stars as Lizzie Corrigan. I was pleased to hear Pam in this. I remember her as Miss Trunchbull from my favourite children’s film called ‘Matilda’. Pam delivers a charming, lovely performance as Lizzy, who is in charge of the P.I.G. (I know ‘the pig’) – ‘Psychic Investigation Group’.
Lizzie knows something is wrong with Stockbridge as the village has disappeared. She takes Nyssa out of the time bubble and utilises her help. I love Lizzy’s scenes with Max. There’s something going on between them. I felt sad when everything was saved with time reset and Lizzy not knowing Max.
Peter Davison excels as the Doctor. He knows that something is wrong with Stockbridge and tries to sort it out. I love his reunion with Max as Peter plays on it so enthusiastically. I love the Doctor’s scenes with the villagers and how he comforts and confronts them as time goes wrong in the village.
I like the Doctor’s scenes with Nyssa when he tries to find her; or when he realises she’s been taken or kidnapped. He tries to dissuade her from coming with him into dangerous territory as she’s insistent. I like how he reacts horrified when meeting the Lord and Lady of the Manor in ‘Part Two’.
Sarah Sutton is wonderful as Nyssa, as this story stands out for her pretty well. Sarah likes the stories that are set on Earth. She can visualise them easily when doing them on audio. I love how Nyssa reacts when time goes wrong in Stockbridge; when she meets Lizzie Corrigan and solves the mystery.
I loved the references to ‘Circular Time’ at the beginning, when she and the Doctor are back in Stockbridge and she tries to find her ex-boyfriend Andrew. I liked it when Nyssa’s psychic abilities are put to good use when trying to contact the Doctor and when she tries to rescue him in Well’s Wood.
The villains turn out to be…the Doctor and Nyssa, who are the Lord and Lady of the Manor. These versions of the Doctor and Nyssa are thousands of years old and withered. They rule Stockbridge in the time bubble and aren’t the Doctor and Nyssa we know and love as they’re evil and vampire-like.
I couldn’t help sympathise when ‘pretty old’ Nyssa can’t remember the happy times she had when she was young. I also found it disturbing when Nyssa became harrowing and vampire-like, as she sucked the memories out of the villagers since it provides nourishment for both her and the Doctor.
Nyssa always demands more when she gets a thirsty appetite. Sarah plays that part with relish and does a really good vampire-like Nyssa, balancing the sympathy and evil so well. If ‘Goth Opera’ gets adapted into an audio drama by Big Finish, I don’t doubt that Sarah would play Nyssa so well in that.
Peter obviously enjoyed doing his evil portrayal of the Doctor in this story. He sounds very malicious and cackling when he laughs. Peter said, according to the CD extras that he would like to play a character with a Valentine Dyall voice. This is good a place as any to do that kind of a performance.
‘The Eternal Summer’ is a very good and clever story. ‘The Stockbridge Trilogy’ is now one of my favourite trilogies with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa. The Big Finish team have made the best of Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton as the Doctor and Nyssa in all three stories, which I’m very pleased about.
As this story is called ‘The Eternal Summer’ I could do with more summery days (though not like the ones in this story) as it’s raining, dreary and overcast in the summers. When I was listening to this story, I was on my way to meet Sarah Sutton at my first ‘Doctor Who’ convention in February, 2010.
The CD extras are as follows. On Disc 1, there is a trailer for the final story with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa in ‘The Stockbridge Trilogy’ called ‘Plague of the Daleks’. There are also behind-the-scenes interviews with cast and crew, including Peter Davison; Sarah Sutton; writer Jonathan Morris; director Barnaby Edwards; etc. I’m pleased that Sarah visited the ‘real’ Stockbridge in Hampshire and stayed overnight in a B&B.
At the end of Disc 2, there’s the ninth episode of ‘The Three Companions’ with Anneke Wills as Polly, Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier and John Pickard as Thomas Brewster. This episode begins the Brewster segment of the story. ‘The Three Companions’ is now complete in ‘The Companion Chronicles Specials’.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘The Eternal Summer’ via a 6 or 12 CD/Download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There is a PDF script and extended extras of ‘The Eternal Summer’. There’s also a bonus Short Trip called ‘Museum Piece’ with the Eighth Doctor, read by Nicholas Briggs.
‘The Eternal Summer’ rating – 10/10
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