‘Doctor Who: Short Trips – All Hands On Deck’ reviewed

❉ There’s something about Susan…

“Carole Anne Ford has always done a splendid job of performing as an older Susan and All Hands on Deck manages to be tragic and beautiful all at the same time. It’s one of this year’s best Short Trips in a really strong year.”

Susan Foreman’s life, outside of her television appearances, has always been a bit of a mystery. Is her name really ‘Susan’? No. Is she really the Doctor’s granddaughter? Maybe, but it depends on who you ask. Was it ‘happily ever after’ with David Campbell on a Dalek-ravaged Earth? Definitely not…

Ever since the 2005 revival of Doctor Who on television, the Time War has loomed over the proceedings. The Doctor repeated states that he’s the last Time Lord and that all of his family is dead. So where does that leave Susan who’s still presumably safe on Earth? All Hands on Deck appears to answer that question, but it only makes several more in the process. Considering Big Finish is rolling out the first Time War  box set later this month, perhaps it’s the beginning of the end for a lot of things in the Doctor’s life very soon…

Carole Anne Ford has always done a splendid job of performing as an older Susan. This Short Trip, the first story set after the events of Lucie Miller/To the Death for her really hones in on this rougher, sadder, and lonelier Susan. She’s certainly not the child she used to be. A fact this story seems to hammer in at every turn. It is wonderful to see the character handling problems and just generally being very competent before the Doctor shows up to make matters worse. There’s a sense of dread and tension when he finally shows up. Susan and the audience just know that something’s wrong; that it’s all going to end badly.

Somehow, All Hands on Deck manages to be tragic and beautiful all at the same time. It’s one of this year’s best Short Trips (in a really strong year, mind you) and Carole Anne Ford’s performance makes you realise why Susan is such an alluring character. There’s a lot of long overdue payoff here from the events of The Dalek Invasion of Earth and Lucie Miller/To The Death, and I’m hoping it all leads to something else in the future….


❉ ‘Doctor Who: Short Trips – All Hands On Deck’ is available as a digital download exclusively from the Big Finish website, RRP £2.99.

❉ Ian McCann is a regular contributor to We Are Cult and editor of The Casual Nexus, home of the ‘Chronological Hysteresis’ series.

 

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