No Place Like Home

Posted in Audio by - January 09, 2019
No Place Like Home

Released January 2003

Originally included as part of Doctor Who Magazine issue 326 and still available as a free download on the Big Finish website, Iain McLaughlin’s ‘No Place Like Home’ features Erimem still adjusting to life aboard the TARDIS alongside the Fifth Doctor as the ship appears to be acting as unhelpfully as possible.

At the time of this short story’s release, the uncrowned pharaoh Erimem had only featured in two stories, and as such ‘No Place Like Home’ acts just as much as a further introduction to the character for the audience as it does for the character to the Doctor and her new life. Within this bottle story taking place solely within the TARDIS that continues to change its internal configuration and make her guided tour all but impossible to continue, she is gently introduced to the concepts of the Doctor being able to literally become a new person as well as that there have been many companions before her based on the many outfits of differing styles sitting within the many iterations of the wardrobe. Naturally, she is incredibly intuitive and intelligent as well, and though her cat Antranak does cause the Doctor some consternation with the messes he makes, she understands implicitly that the Doctor is older than he seems and is able to retain her composure as she comes across a full cricket pitch and rainforest as well as certain doors and corridors that seem to be reappearing at every turn.

McLaughlin’s script and the chemistry between Peter Davison and Caroline Morris help to create a uniquely tense atmosphere within this familiar yet abnormal environment, and the shifting shadows during a power failure enhance that uneasy tension while providing another unexpected yet fitting connection to the comics that Doctor Who Magazine originated. Following Beep the Meep’s appearance in the previous year’s included story ‘The Ratings War,’ it’s Shade that makes his audio debut here as this construct put on the TARDIS without the Doctor’s knowledge to ensure Gallifrey’s interests are served must help the Doctor against a nefarious force trying to take control of the ship and expel its current occupants. Even with only the brief glimpse of this figure afforded here, Mark Donovan brings Shade to life in an engaging manner that certainly leaves the audience wanting to know more.

Unfortunately, the story does fall somewhat flat once the actual villain is revealed, not simply because of its resemblance to a mouse but because of the overt laughter and scoffing that his appearance causes. No matter what the Doctor and Erimem may genuinely think about the diminutive creature standing before them, having the leads scorn him so openly takes away from all intended dramatic effect, and the creature’s rantings in response do little to reclaim it. There’s a genuinely interesting story to be had about this harmless and fearful creature inadvertently being forced through centuries of evolution because of a mistake by the Time Lords, but this is not the approach to take to maximise effect, and the inclusion of Antranak in the conclusion is all too predictable and unnecessary. The Doctor has occasionally goaded enemies into making crucial mistakes before, but there’s something odd about the more gentle Fifth Doctor leading the charge here, and the end result is a truly enjoyable first half that is let down by a jarring tone that undermines the drama of the second.

  • Release Date: 1/2003
This post was written by

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.