‘The Invasion of E-Space’ (Audio)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

An Adventure in E-Space with the Farrian

‘The Invasion of E-Space’ is a ‘Doctor Who’ Companion Chronicle featuring Lalla Ward as Romana!

It is a two-part story by…Andrew Smith! This is a real treat as Andrew returns to write for ‘Doctor Who’ after so many years! Andrew wrote ‘Full Circle’ in 1980, which was the first story in ‘The E-Space Trilogy’. Andrew was invited by the producer David Richardson to write for Big Finish in 2009.

Andrew writes a new story with Lalla Ward as Romana in the Companion Chronicles series. It was originally called ‘The CVE Makers’ before it became ‘The Invasion of E-Space’. It makes a nice connection to Andrew’s first writing experience and this is the first of many Big Finish audios by him.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Andrew at conventions. I’ve had the CD cover of ‘The Invasion of E-Space’ signed by Andrew Smith at the ‘Project Motor Mouth 2’ convention in Slough, August 2013. Andrew is a great guy to chat to and I’ve enjoyed chatting to him about his audio work for Big Finish.

What I found from listening to this story is that Andrew recaptured the spirit of ‘The E-Space Trilogy’ with references to CVEs and other stories. He also had the chance to write a fully-fledged action adventure with a full-on invasion. It is such a shame this couldn’t be a four-part story instead of two.

This story is set between ‘State of Decay’ and ‘Warriors’ Gate’. It is performed by Lalla Ward as Romana who narrates this in the first person, recollecting the events after ‘Warriors’ Gate’. This story also guest stars Suanne Braun as Marni Tellis, a law enforcement officer of the planet Ballustra.

It is a shame we don’t get to know what happened to Romana after ‘Warriors’ Gate’ in this story. It seems that Romana is still in E-Space with the Tharils by this point before she returns to Gallifrey. This story is taken from two perspectives – one from Romana and one from Marni in diary accounts.

The Doctor and Romana with Adric are still trying to find a way out of E-Space, as they’re searching for a CVE (Charged Vacuum Embiotment). It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. But as luck would have it, they manage to find one as it opens up in space. But this CVE is volatile and unstable.

This CVE was created deliberately from the other side, as E-Space is soon invaded by a war-like species called the Farrian. They make their first attack on the planet Ballustra. Can the Doctor, Romana and Adric stop this invasion in time before they have their chance to get through the CVE?!

Andrew gets to write for Romana again since ‘Full Circle’. I liked how Andrew’s recaptured the spirit and grace of Romana. Lalla Ward’s version of Romana is so cool and precise. She can be quite cold, but she is also compassionate. It was interesting hearing this story from this Romana’s point-of-view.

I liked how Romana’s relationship with Adric is developed. It’s clear that Romana and Adric didn’t see eye to eye. Whether that’s due to Lalla Ward and Matthew Waterhouse’s relationship, I don’t know. Its good it’s mentioned here, as Romana was unhappy when Adric stowed away aboard the TARDIS.

But Romana learns more about Adric when they’re both locked up in their interrogation cell on Letrus, one of the moons of Ballustra. Since Andrew introduced Adric in ‘Full Circle’, he knows the character inside out and it was great to have him write for the character again in his new adventure.

Suanne Braun delivers a great performance as this sexy, refined interrogation officer in Marni Tellis. I liked how Marni narrates her story, as she witnesses the invasion of her home planet. She interacts with Romana and Adric when she’s interrogating them and gets to meet the Doctor who rescues her.


Suanne Braun, writer Andrew Smith and Lalla Ward in ‘The Invasion of E-Space’.

Hearing Suanne as Marni was pretty refreshing, since it was nice to hear a supporting character have a story of her own. It was interesting how Andrew does it in terms of writing Romana’s side of the story as well as Marni’s side of the story in parallel to each other and it works out pretty well for me.

Andrew gets to write the Fourth Doctor again and describes him down to the last detail, from burgundy coat to scarf. It was rare for Big Finish to have a story told during the Season 18 era of ‘Doctor Who’ that is essentially the last leg of Tom Baker’s era. But it was intriguing and nice to hear.

Andrew writes the Fourth Doctor pretty much as he’d written him in ‘Full Circle’, getting him involved in the action and being heroic rescuing Marni Tellis. Although he gets a bump on the head in ‘Part One’ and is put away into the Zero Room, he manages to come back in full form in ‘Part Two’.

K-9 doesn’t feature in this story at all I’m afraid, as he’s kept in the dog house. This reemphasises the spirit of Season 18 during this story, since the production term were trying to get rid of K-9 at the time. Andrew Smith also wasn’t a fan of K-9, as he made this clear for the ‘K-9 in E-Space’ featurette on the ‘Full Circle’ DVD.

The planet Ballustra is the first of the Farrian invasion to be attacked. I liked how Andrew depicts this alien world, although Ballustra is quite an extraordinary planet name to get your tongue around. It’s revealed there are eight billion people on the planet who are victims from this E-Space invasion.

The Farrian are a war-like species who have the ability to create CVEs in their own universe. This raises a question about whether the Farrian were partly responsible for creating the CVEs as much as the Logopolitans were. The Doctor and Romana know who the Farrian are and are terrified of them.

Why these Farrian want to invade E-Space by creating CVEs is unclear. They are led by a Farrian warrior called Maxin, who is pretty vicious and callous. He even shoots Adric in the leg in cold blood. These Farrian are vicious in the terms of their weaponry and technology such as blasters and blades.

You can tell there are a lot of Bidmead influences in this, as ‘The E-Space Trilogy’ was devised by script editor Christopher H. Bidmead. As well as CVEs, Andrew includes a reference to the Zero Room, which is unusual as the Zero Room doesn’t get shown in ‘Doctor Who’ until ‘Castrovalva’.

Something disappointed me about this story. It’s a minor thing, but they got the wrong theme music! The Delia Derbyshire theme music is used for the opening and closing credits. It should be the Peter Howell theme music for Tom Baker’s last season in this specific ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventure.

This story is well directed by Lisa Bowerman (well-known as Bernice Summerfield). Lisa has a knack and talent for directing ‘Doctor Who’ audio stories like the Companion Chronicles. She takes great care to participate the writer’s involvement, including Andrew’s very tongue-twisting Ballustra.

The CD extras are as follows. There’s a trailer for ‘A Town Called Fortune’ with Maggie Stables as Evelyn Smythe. There are also behind-the-scenes cast and crew interviews with Lalla Ward, Suanne Braun, writer Andrew Smith and director Lisa Bowerman, conducted by producer David Richardson.


‘The Invasion of E-Space’ is a great story to listen to. I enjoyed listening to this story by Andrew Smith as it’s been nice to explore more of Season 18. I hope there’ll be more stories set in E-Space soon. This story is worthy for the enjoyment with Lalla Ward’s Romana and Suanne Braun as Marni Tellis.

‘The Invasion of E-Space’ rating – 8/10

The previous story

For the Fourth Doctor was

  • ‘The Eight Doctors’ (Book)

For Romana was

  • ‘The Eight Doctors’ (Book)
  • ‘The Search’ (K-9 & M) (Audio)

For Adric was

The next story

For the Fourth Doctor is

  • ‘A Full Life’ (ST/Audio)

For Romana is

For Adric is

  • ‘A Full Life’ (ST/Audio)
Return to The Fourth Doctor’s Timeline
Return to Romana’s Timeline
Return to The Timelines of K-9
Return to Adric’s Timeline
Return to The Doctors’ Timelines Index
Return to The Companions’ Timelines Index
Return to Doctor Who Timelines
Return to Doctor Who
Return to Sci-Fi

4 thoughts on “‘The Invasion of E-Space’ (Audio)

  1. Timelord 007

    I wasn’t happy either that they got the theme music mixed up, i quite enjoyed this one & i enjoyed reading your review, i wish this had been done for tv instead of Warriors Gate as with a few re-tweaks this could’ve made a far satisfying finale for Romana to go out on.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tim Bradley Post author

    Hi Simon.

    Thanks for your comments on my review for ‘The Invasion of E-Space’.

    It is annoying that they couldn’t get the right theme music for this story’s setting in Season 18. I enjoyed listening to it though and it was great to have Andrew Smith back for his first contribution to ‘Doctor Who’ through Big Finish. I like how this story foreshadows Romana’s departure in ‘Doctor Who’ before ‘Warriors’ Gate’.

    Tim. 🙂


  3. helenofvulcan

    Wow – I didn’t even notice the theme tune… actually, I probably skipped it!

    My biggest criticism of this story is that it seemed too big to be such a short audio book. I’m aware that the focus is really on Romana as it’s one of the Companion Chronicles, and this may have made it unsuitable for a bigger production, but I think it could have been expanded really well into a radio play, if the roles of the Doctor, K9 and Adric… and, yes, Marni, had been expanded as well.

    I must admit that for the Short Trips and Companion Chronicles, I prefer formats such as ‘The Toy’ – more of a character piece than an adventure. However, I’m probably a bit biased, as those that I’ve enjoyed most have been done in this way, and Sarah Sutton remains the clearest narrator I’ve heard so far.

    Marni was a lovely character; I really liked her and again BF produced someone who had realistic and understandable reactions to the events around her. I thought that her sections paralleled Romana’s nicely, too. The villains were evil enough, and the story itself was entertaining and clever, especially on the point of the unstable, manufactured CVE; the brief visit to N-Space, but being stuck back in E-Space. But again, these points make me want to hear this as a fuller radio play.

    Hearing Romana’s changing view on Adric was nice, too. It makes sense if the writer was the one to introduce him in the first place; a pity his influence couldn’t have lasted longer in the TV series, but it also gave me a warmer opinion of Romana – that she’s not too proud to change her mind and give someone a chance.

    And again – poor ol’ K9! I love K9; he’s as iconic to me as the TARDIS is. But the more I read/hear stories of him, he really is far too fragile. While I understand the limitations of SFX and there was virtually no CGI back in the day, I do wish that the Doctor might make a K9 Mark II v.2 with a sealed titanium and polycarbide casing, everlasting batteries and traction &/or thruster control that could deal with unkind terrain and mundane facts of life, such as rain.
    And perhaps a couple of circuit breakers, or another defence against burnout.

    I really hope that we get more E-Space adventures; I do feel there is a slightly different atmosphere and character to them, which keeps the series varied and interesting. And I’ve enjoyed reading your reviews and comparing notes. 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Helen.

      Yeah, ‘The Invasion of E-Space’ does feel too big story to be made as a Companion Chronicle instead of an audio drama. I enjoyed the story and Lalla Ward performs well as Romana here. This is also a story made before the full-cast E-Space adventures with the Fourth Doctor, Romana, Adric and K-9 happened in 2020.

      I like the Short Trips audios featuring Nyssa and being read by Sarah Sutton and as you say Sarah is a clear narrator. She’s very good as the narrator for ‘The Moon Stallion’ audiobook, which I’ve enjoyed immensely. I wonder if Sarah will do a Short Trip in the upcoming Short Trips collection by Big Finish in 2021.

      I’m glad you liked Marni’s character in the story and I’m glad you like how Romana’s opinion of Adric is touched upon in the story compared to other stories where Romana and Adric interact with each other. Yes, K-9 didn’t have much of an appearance in this adventure. Thank goodness the E-Space audio dramas take place after ‘The Invasion of E-Space’ and before ‘Warriors’ Gate’ happened as K-9 did feature quite significantly in them.

      Very pleased you’ve enjoyed my reviews on the E-Space stories lately. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on them.

      Tim. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person


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