In Remembrance

Posted in Audio by - September 15, 2018
In Remembrance

Released August 2018
SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW

‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ is one of the most fondly-remembered tales of the Sylvester McCoy era, providing a superb true introduction to the leading duo of a much more manipulative Seventh Doctor and a much more modern and proactive companion in Ace that also presented a significant development in the foundations of what would come to be the Time War. With its action set at Coal Hill, this plot was always intrinsically tied at least in the background to the events of Class that likewise calls this location home, and Big Finish wisely centred its early advertising for the simultaneously-released first two volumes of its audio adaptation of the franchise around the return of Ace and the Daleks in the pseudo-sequel ‘In Remembrance’ by Guy Adams.

The undoubted highlight of ‘In Remembrance’ is the fantastic interplay between Sophie Aldred’s Ace and Katherine Kelly’s Quill as the two slowly open up about each other’s pasts to craft a mutual understanding and even respect. It’s clear that Quill is no fan of the Doctor whom she considers to be an annoying meddler, a sentiment that only hints at the spite and animosity Ace herself has felt towards the Time Lord at times during her travels with him, but she is true to her word and insists that she will do everything in her power to find and protect Charlie in order to uphold her pledge. Yet Quill isn’t cynical and sarcastic just to be a difficult foil for Ace, and Kelly gives a powerful performance as needed to delve into her character’s tortured past and where she finds herself now compared to how she and her people once saw her. Likewise, Aldred is wonderful as a more mature and experienced version of Ace who has not only traveled with the Doctor and defeated Daleks but who since being returned to Earth has also helped found A Charitable Earth to help orphans and troubled children like the Doctor helped her, and the motivations of each come to the forefront spectacularly when Quill considers allying with a Dalek who now has the ability to travel back in time with the intention of changing the fate of its race from some thirty Earth years earlier.

Of course, Aldred is also tasked with recapturing the intonations of her younger self as Charlie finds himself on the fringe of the events of ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ via temporal displacement. Charlie is the one character with no previous knowledge of these deadly beings, and it’s fitting that he should try to minimize the Dalek threat based on the fact that the casing doesn’t look capable to conquering a flight of stairs, itself a legitimate point prior to this televised serial. This temporally split setting allows plenty of meaningful references and connections to the original events, and that same interconnectedness provides an enhanced sense of danger and tension that fuels this story from beginning to end. Aldred and Greg Austin don’t have quite the same chance to connect in this earlier time, but they nonetheless share a strong chemistry with both characters hinging their hopes on the actions of the Doctor.

As always, Nicholas Briggs delivers an exceptional Dalek performance that here also evokes the spirit of those heard in ‘Remembrance of the Daleks,’ and Aldred and he together strongly convey the idea that ‘In Remembrance’ is a story that at least partially unfolded off-screen during that 1988 serial. Also featuring strong direction and sound design to complement a strong mixture of action and emotion, Guy Adams’s script has managed to live up to the hype that the lofty reputation of its predecessor created, managing to offer a fitting twist on nostalgia while resulting in the strongest and most complete audio Class adventure yet.

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