Quinnis

Posted in Audio by - April 17, 2019
Quinnis

Released December 2010

As a companion piece of sorts to Big Finish’s own The Eighth Doctor Adventures at a time when the Doctor finally reunited with his granddaughter, Marc Platt’s ‘Quinnis’ marks the company’s first true foray into the Doctor’s travels prior to his televised beginnings in ‘An Unearthly Child.’ As the Doctor becomes an unwilling rainmaker on the Fourth Universe planet Quinnis that has been ravaged by drought, Susan learns that friends are not always what they appear as the planet learns that the arrival of rain may not be all good news.

Quinnis effectively comes to life as a bustling exotic marketplace filled with criss-crossing, half-finished viaducts, and with a functional chameleon circuit that allows the TARDIS to assume the form of market kiosk it’s a joy to get a glimpse at the early adventuresome spirit of the Doctor and at least one event that would come to form the foundations of the more secluded and irascible man initially seen in Totter’s Yard in 1963. While this is not a Doctor willing to injure to ensure his safety or even dangerously deceive those around him to satiate his own curiosity, this is still very much a character whom the best of humanity has not yet had its opportunity to influence. He’s full of bombast and all too confident in his own abilities, and his unwillingness to listen to the stories and legends of this locale proves to be a vital learning opportunity for a man who would come to face so many supposed myths across all of time and space.

As Susan recalls her own youth and the wonders and dangers that her implicit trust in her grandfather brought, it’s intriguing to note the degree of individuality and self-sufficiency she showed here prior to her time at Coal Hill. She is still incredibly naïve and very nearly allows her trust in others to cost them the TARDIS itself, but she remains true to her own convictions and shows a degree of maturity and willingness to learn from her mistakes that hints at a far more dynamic character than was usually shown on screen. She seems almost desperate to have a friend and to belong somewhere, however, and though she is horrified by the prospect of losing the Doctor and the TARDIS as the only family and life she has ever known, her conviction in Meedla who appears as a sympathetic and friendly face is all too relatable and again begins to create a very solid foundation for this well-intentioned character who likewise would continue to have such an impact on the Doctor as their journeys headed to Earth for the first time.

Unfortunately, as atmospheric and visual as this city of bridges being attacked from below by brutal plants is, there is little to actually distinguish Quinnis as being in a different universe. Indeed, much of the story is standard Doctor Who, but the relation of the villain with this particular culture is a nice touch that creates a much deeper experience overall. Although not quite enough is done with this story’s chronological placement and unique locale, ‘Quinnis’ is nonetheless wholly effective and opens up an entirely new avenue of storytelling, benefitting from an incredible performance from Carole Ann Ford who recaptures her younger self as well as the First Doctor exceedingly well.

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