Posted in Audio by - July 29, 2023

Released July 2023


Though the notion of the Second Doctor continuing on a series of adventures at the behest of the Time Lords between the events of ‘The War Games’ and ‘Spearhead from Space’ has long been used as a means of explaining away certain inconsistencies with the Second Doctor in his later returns to screens, Big Finish shied away from exploring the so-called Season 6B until last year’s aptly-titled Beyond War Games set that also saw Michael Troughton firmly take the lead role for this Doctor’s own continuing audio adventures. Of course, the Second Doctor is all but synonymous with his trusted companion, Jamie, and so it’s only natural that the two should reunite within this new context in another aptly-titled set, James Robert McCrimmon.

Of course, the Time Lords wiped Jamie’s memories of all of his adventures alongside the Doctor but for his first following their momentous first on-screen appearance in ‘The War Games,’ but while an elder Jamie has returned in various capacities in Doctor Who through the years, writer Mark Wright takes a fairly novel approach to this particular return of the famed Highlander in ‘Jamie.’ The Doctor and Jamie do not simply happen upon each other, and nor is there a convenient break in the memory wipe; instead, Jamie is trapped in the dungeons of Edinburgh Castle, haunted by visions of his past and of futures that might have been lived, a setup that allows Frazer Hines to expertly highlight his immense talents as he brings forth the palpable anguish and utter confusion that Jamie is experiencing. This approach allows for a surprising nod to the expanded universe of Doctor Who in all media by briefly visiting some of the many futures Jamie has been seen to have, and Jamie’s reactions to events both with and without the Doctor again highlight just why this character is so beloved as his blunt honesty and good nature never waver. Hines also forms a very nice chemistry with Elen, the kindly nurse taking care of him whom Daisy Ashford plays so well, and although this storyline that touches upon the effects of the memory wipe and that jumps between visions and vignettes in quick succession hardly provides the deepest or most resonant exploration of a character returning after so long away, it successfully manages to showcase the enduring legacy of Jamie who has inspired so many imaginations over the years.

The unique setup of this Season 6B is that the Doctor is no longer acting with complete autonomy, and ‘Jamie’ sees the Time Lord Raven take a much more direct approach with the Doctor here, joining him as he takes to the streets of Edinburgh to solve a mounting series of murders and studying his every move. To this point, Raven is not an overly antagonistic presence, but the airy sort of nonchalance that Emma Noakes uses for this character also serves as a reminder of the ultimate power she holds within this current setup and clearly indicates that she knows much more than she will ever let the Doctor know. Troughton and Noakes have formed a unique relationship unlike anything the Doctor has had to directly experience, and the wealth of storytelling potential it presents will hopefully provide a long series of ongoing adventures in this nearly-uncharted territory with plots and stakes that will hopefully continue to increase in turn to truly emphasize the Time Lord angle and the importance of the Doctor’s decision to ally with them no matter how uneasily. Michael Troughton already has a firm command on the nuances of his take on the Second Doctor, and the unique combination of levity and optimism with grim determination is a perfect homage to his father’s portrayal and testament to the character as a whole.

It’s perhaps unsurprising that the Edinburgh murders storyline is somewhat rushed and underdeveloped given all the time that has to be spent with Jamie is in his infirmed state, the Doctor alongside Raven, and eventually the Doctor with Jamie as the two revisit an old adventure with lasting consequences, but Alec Newman is fantastic as Dr James Breck and a kindred spirits of sorts for the Doctor. However, the main draw for this story is naturally the reunion between the Doctor and Jamie, and while there is again very little time for the two to reminisce about times of old as Jamie comes to remember his past, Troughton and Hines showcase an instant rapport that ‘The Annihilators’ has already shown will develop into a fantastic continuation of this cherished friendship. Still, ‘Jamie’ as a whole is a story that benefits more from the potential it sets up than from the story it tells, the surprising look at Jamie’s potential lives providing a nice love letter to fans of Jamie but unfortunately not providing the most profound reunion despite the ties back to his past and Raven’s more recent involvement. It’s a story that with some modifications may have been more resonant in the middle of ongoing adventures with the Doctor seeking out his friend who has gone missing while suffering from strange dreams, but it nonetheless provides an intriguing entry point for Jamie back into the Second Doctor’s life with so much yet to be explored.

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