‘Doctor Who: Redacted – 4: Angels’ reviewed

  Guest writer Catherine Brinkwork brings a fresh voice to Juno Dawson’s story in its fourth instalment,writes Andrew Creak.

“In a franchise all about change and experimentation, Redacted is proving that stories from voices and characters not often given the time of day, or viewed as “woke” within the Whoniverse help to energise and provide a beautiful freshness to those stories.”

Good news all round, the next instalment of Redacted is live on BBC Sounds for us all to enjoy. When the title of the episode was revealed as ‘Angels’ I think a feeling of excitement spread across its audience as we all knew what it would mean. Weeping angels. 

The episode opens with Cleo returning to her missing brother’s home to find an active crime scene for an apparent woman.  While on call planning the next episode of ‘The Blue Box Files’ Abby tells the story of the weeping angels. Abby tells the gang that she’s going to meet Larry Nightingale about the weeping angels, but her friends aren’t sure it’s safe. During the call, Cleo believes she hears someone outside her flat, but when she goes there is no one there. 

Jordan manages to call Cleo, his signal is doggy, but he is begging for her help, declaring he’s cold and scared and doesn’t know where he is. Cleo attempts to call Abby but doesn’t get through, so calls Shawna to tell her about Jordan’s call. Shawna says that Abby has gone to meet the weeping angels guy alone, and they worry he is ‘the doctor’ and is going to kidnap or kill Abby. 

Abby arrives at the agreed meeting place, a grave yard, but Larry is nowhere to be seen. Abby says there are a lot of statues in the cemetery. She finds an old metal box behind a bush near where she was due to meet Larry, a properly ancient box that has her name on it. 

Shawna and Cleo arrive at the cemetery, Abby shows the gang the box she’s found. They decide to open it, the number 2008 was the key to opening, the year Larry’s sister went missing. And inside they find a 1930s tape recorder. 

On the tape is a recording from Larry Nightingale. It turns out he was sent back in time by a weeping angle. He said after his wife Natasha went missing, his notes, evidence of the angels started to disappear, and his memory was fading, forgetting that Natasha existed. Larry confronted the angels, Larry was taken back to the 1920s, and his memory reset. 

Larry has photos of the angels that he sent to Abby… Could this potentially be a thread that will picked up later on, as we all know an image of an angel is itself an angel.

But a shocking twist, the angels weren’t to blame for the amnesia, and they too were scared of whatever was happening. Larry worries that the Doctor has turned against humanity, and that scares him. He begs Abby to be careful, and to watch out for the Blue Box.

In a very Doctor Who cliffhanger, Cleo feels someone is watching her, suddenly someone jumps out shouting “nobody move!”, there is the sound of tasers as the girls are taken down, as Cleo pleas “Doctor help us”. 

This episode was the first to be written by someone other than the amazing Juno Dawson,  welcoming guest writer Catherine Brinkwork. The script for this episode was brilliant, the dialogue and emotions felt so real, brought to life by the brilliant cast. I feel Juno’s story has benefited by having a guest writer, to add a fresh voice to the story in its fourth instalment.

The sound design this episode, once again by David Thomas, was the best of the series so far. I feel the addition of the weeping angels and the mysterious figure following Cleo, has allowed a little more creative fun, taking the story outside of the social realist soundscape of the real world that the story has mostly been set in so far.

In a franchise all about change and experimentation, Redacted is proving that stories from voices and characters not often given the time of day, or viewed as “woke” within the Whoniverse help to energise and provide a beautiful freshness to the stories. Shall I be the first to say Juno Dawson should be the showrunner of Doctor Who when Russell T Davies’s second coming (pun intended) ends?

Along with this series feeling fresh and different, we also get familiar story telling, with this week’s old-school cliffhanger, but also conspiracy theory drama with a mysterious force stopping the truth-tellers on their journey.

Next week will bring us half way through the narrative of Juno Dawson’s amazing story, and I think the best part of this series, and indeed the signs that Juno is an incredibly talented show runner, is that I have no idea what is going to come next every week, it feels fresh and exciting, something that hasn’t been felt often in the worlds of audio Doctor Who.


‘Doctor Who: Redacted’ is available to listen for free on BBC Sounds app and transcripts for those who are hard of hearing can be found on the ‘Doctor Who: Redacted’ webpage. Main cast: Cleo Proctor – Charlie Craggs, Abby McPhail – Lois Chimimba, Shawna Thompson – Holly Quin-Ankrah. Written by Juno Dawson. Produced by Ella Watts. Directed by Ella Watts and James Robinson. Executive Producer: James Robinson. A BBC Studios Production for BBC Sounds.

Andrew Creak is a freelancer in TV and Film production based in South Wales. As well as this they are a producer director in their own right through their production company Third Time Lucky Productions. Follow them on Twitter: @AndrewCreak

 

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