Lucie Miller

Posted in Audio by - October 15, 2017
Lucie Miller

Released February 2011

The Eighth Doctor Adventures begins its two-part finale with the aptly-titled ‘Lucie Miller,’ reuniting every important character from this run of stories in a monumental conflict against the Daleks that pays due respect to ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth.’ With the Doctor nowhere to be seen, Lucie succumbs to the plague overwhelming Earth as an even greater threat looms, the second Dalek invasion of Earth that Susan has personally had to endure.

Most opening instalments of two-part stories are burdened with the necessity for exposition to set up events for a grand climax and conclusion in the second part, and ‘Lucie Miller’ certainly has more exposition than most to navigate. Writer Nicholas Briggs chooses to convey the necessary information through an extended use of narration broken up by only brief dramatic scenes. In one sense, it’s quite harrowing to hear Lucie explain years of events as she contracted the Dalek plague that caused her to lose use of her legs and right eye, her fight to again use leg braces instead of a wheelchair, and her fight against repeated despair and wanting to give up on herself and her faith in the Doctor, but the amount and extent of the suffering is introduced and necessarily moved on from too quickly to fully develop the intended impact. Still, Sheridan Smith spectacularly delivers the requisite range of emotion, and Lucie’s scenes with Susan are particular standouts.

The choice to keep the Doctor away from events for so long also allows the effects of war to be explored quite intimately from more perspectives than just Lucie’s with her very personal knowledge of just how dangerous the Daleks can be. The presence of Susan is perhaps the most important here, and Carole Ann Ford perfectly imbues into Susan the anguish and hope of someone who has experienced these events before but refuses to give up and lose faith in her assurance that the Doctor will eventually appear. At the same time, the events of ‘Lucie Miller’ rapidly showcase just how much Alex has matured, first with his dedication to Lucie as she becomes ill and later with his determined assistance to the rebel cause, and Jake McGann truly impresses throughout this release with his growing acumen in the role.

Given earlier events, it’s not entirely surprising that the Monk is involved in affairs. Though it’s unclear how he has managed to keep Tamsin in the dark about the Daleks’ true nature by simply spinning a tale about the Daleks being medical missionaries and that she is helping him preserve Earth’s priceless art and jewels until a calmer time in the future, their eventual split when she learns the truth is profoundly dramatic and satisfying. Of course, the Monk has never been a completely evil character despite his mistrust of the Doctor, and his flashes of compassion intermingled with his own self-serving nature as he interferes with communication systems does at least offer a glimmer of hope for redemption going forward as he tries to handle his own mistakes as his plan continues to spiral out of his grasp, a facet that Graeme Garden plays perfectly.

While so much of ‘Lucie Miller’ does seem like an entry from Big Finish’s own The Companion Chronicles range instead of a full-cast production, it nonetheless perfectly sets the scene for the concluding ‘To The Death’ with a dramatic, disquieting tale about the personal and global effects of war, quickly placing the Doctor in mortal danger upon his appearance as the Daleks’ plan to place a propulsion unit in the core of the Earth steadily progresses.

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