Baker Street Irregulars

Posted in Audio by - March 13, 2021
Baker Street Irregulars

Released March 2021

SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

When a World War II bomb is found in the middle of Baker Street, the Doctor takes Zakia and Aisha to see some of their family history and the secret life their grandmother led in Lisa McMullin’s ‘Baker Street Irregulars.’ The truths the sisters find in short order, however, threaten to be even more explosive than the bomb Tania and Liv are attempting to defuse.

Stranded 2 has thus far featured Doctor Who’s more secretive organizations of UNIT and Torchwood quite prominently, and so it’s fitting that this trip into the past should delve at least superficially into the real-life Special Operations Executive. This is a fascinating organization that looked to sabotage Axis warfare plans directly and indirectly and that was quite forward-thinking regarding the potential capabilities and usefulness of women, and those facets dovetail quite nicely when Zakia and Aisha discover that their grandmother’s role in the war was not as stationary as they had assumed. Of course, since this is Doctor Who and no visit to a personal past can come without the potential threat to unwittingly rewrite history, Nisha’s life is quickly revealed to be hanging in the balance when a mission that was originally meant to succeed is assured of anything but. Given Adi’s own obvious feelings for Nisha and his resulting dismay over her accepting the mission at the beginning, Nisha’s peril is all the more personal and resonant, and although there isn’t time to fully explore the nuances of this organization and all it entails, Homer Todiwala does well to bring forth both the professional and more personal sentiments of his character with an understated emotion.

Surprisingly, the rescue mission that ensues without use of the TARDIS is strangely rushed with little sense of any real danger. There are certainly moments of action and introspection while the Doctor ably steps into the more traditional role of hero, but even the paradox facing the sisters can’t quite elevate a fairly straightforward plotline that- like the SOE- falls victim to the allotted running time and the amount of characters that necessitate focus. However, despite Zakia and Aisha not receiving a featured story quite as engaging as Ron and Tony previously, Avita Jay and Amina Zia are wonderful and set the scene for an incredibly engaging performance from Anjli Mohindra as Nisha. Yet despite the obvious precedence placed on the Akhtar family here, Tania and Liv at times threaten to upstage them all as their burgeoning relationship is tested by the secrets that Liv knows Tania is still keeping from her. The obvious affection and frustration is organic and believable, and Rebecca Root and Nicola Walker continue to excel alongside each other as the familiarity of grounded, everyday life continues to pervade this latest Doctor Who series.

With its World War II backdrop, a bomb that is not a bomb, and a shocking family secret that shakes its very foundation, ‘Baker Street Irregulars’ liberally borrows from the television two-parter ‘The Empty Child’ and ‘The Doctor Dances,’ but the sterling character work makes it easy to look past the obvious commonalities and the threads that are rushed through to bring the characters together to appreciate this story in its own right. The two Akhtars still may not be the most robust characters on Baker Street to this point, but they continue to develop and now have the impetus for further genuinely engaging drama going forward based on the events that transpired here.

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