Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon: Other Worlds

Posted in Audio by - October 16, 2022
Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon: Other Worlds

Released October 2022


Continuing their desperate search for the Doctor across dimensions, Rose and her friends and family return for three further adventures in Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon: Other Worlds.

In Alison Winter’s ‘Saltwater,’ Rose finds herself on an Earth on the brink of nuclear war as salt from the oceans begins to go missing with expertly timed regularity while battleships across the globe continue to sink. A small group believes that extraterrestrial forces are to blame, but the UK government is censoring all unauthorized dissemination of information and ideas, and Pete and Jackie have recently died in a firebomb attack that has raised plenty of questions. Doctor Who and its spin-offs don’t often go down an overtly political route, but Winter makes the exceedingly wise decision to avoid the easy narrative choice of having a nefarious alien force behind the missing salt that will soon threaten global extinction to instead focus on the very human response when the actual threat is unknown and the truth is a simple alien drone that is unaware of the presence of sentient life. In so doing, she is able to explore the uneasy tension that builds between the nations of this world and the resulting threats of mutually assured destruction should any one government threaten overt action against another, and the posturing both on a global stage and on a much more intimate level brilliantly highlight the balance between bluster and fact this country is facing and trying to project abroad and at home. Naturally, Rose is able to involve herself in local affairs after holding out hope that the promise of faster-than-light technology can assist her search for the Doctor, and Billie Piper instantly recaptures the energy, determination, and incisiveness that made Rose such an impactful companion upon the 2005 relaunch. And while the inclusion of Clive Finch as a regular player may have initially seemed like an odd choice for this series, the immense chemistry on display between Piper and Mark Benton fuels the strong energy and determination at the heart of this story as their individual motivations intersect. ‘Saltwater’ continues the theme of every Earth in every reality being under threat, and the darker backdrop as humanity brings itself to the brink that is dwarfed by an even darker realization upon story’s end creates a resounding foundation for this reintroduction into Rose’s desperate search and the convictions that drive her to help wherever she can.

Rose and Clive arrive on an Earth that never left the Dark Ages in AK Benedict’s ‘Now is the New Dark,’ finding themselves under arrest for a series of murders on a world that has yet to embrace germ theory and still believes that the four humors of melancholic, phlegmatic, sanguine, and choleric dictate health and illness. Naturally, this is a complete anathema to the very logical Clive, and Benton gives arguably his strongest performance yet as Clive’s words are twisted into suggestions of guilt while his logic falls upon deaf ears and as the notion of family continues to drive him in a continuation of the previous set’s themes. Of course, the initial focus of this story as it unfolds is the presence of a doctor whose descriptions from this world’s Jackie certainly seem to meet Rose’s requirements. While it seems highly unlikely that Rose wouldn’t ask this doctor’s name to know he is not the Doctor she seeks, Hywel Morgan is wholly engaging as Dr Richard Acres who is trying to get his research into germs into the public eye. He’s another very logical presence to provide a counter to Victoria Jefferey’s Assessor who is quite firmly well-intentioned despite the obvious flaws in her humoral belief system. And while the story is quite reliant on coincidences and more so than any other story of this range given the stagnated progression of humanity showcases the unlikelihood that these worlds feature essentially the same people Rose knows from her own, there is also some decent misdirection along the way to ensure the plot doesn’t unfold exactly as Rose expects. However, in what is likely the closest this range will get to a historical adventure despite the year still being 2010, the sound design is truly the unstated star, and the Dark Ages are vividly evoked through simplistic but powerful inclusions of horses, bells, and natural forces. Piper is again exceedingly charismatic as Rose who finds her progress frustrated by these societal norms, and although ‘Now if the New Dark’ isn’t quite as strong as the preceding story, it nonetheless inject a greater degree of variability into this range and is plenty engaging from start to end.

Other Worlds closes with Emily Cook’s ‘The Rogue Planet’ as Rose and Jackie end up on a world that appears doomed when three comets appear in the sky and Professor Clive Finch warns of a planet that will enter the solar system within a year and halt the Earth’s rotation with devastating consequences. Shockingly, a famed prophecy about these comets and forthcoming disaster was made by this world’s Donna Noble after a visit from a blonde girl going by Bad Wolf, and Rose is more determined than ever to find this connection to her original universe and the man who can save them all. However, as her own Clive works through a spotty connection to determine that the titular rogue planet will be arriving much sooner with effects palpable within hours rather than months, her race to save this iteration of humanity is confounded by woefully inadequate underground bunkers and the bureaucracy of determining who is worthy of a spot as well as by the fact that her counterpart in this world has a young son. Even though this child is not truly hers, Rose cannot help but become attached and to take on something of a motherly role as Rosie works at her tea shop and tries to navigate the complicated feelings she has for her mother who has all but abandoned her for her own career and love. Fittingly, the danger of the comets and planet bring Rosie and her mother closer together as the danger becomes all too visceral, but it also brings out the very best in Rose and Jackie who do not need to put themselves in unnecessary danger given the escape route they possess to continue their search for the Doctor elsewhere. Both Piper and Coduri are superb with subtly differentiating their dual roles here, and both delving into the extremes of their characters’ determination to help others as they race against the clock before their bridge home closes- with Jackie even willing to stay behind in order to help Rosie and her son- makes for an impactful climax that culminates in a brilliant cliffhanger for Rose trapped on this ill-fated world. Hopefully this story is the beginning of a transition for this series to a more tightly interlinked narrative rather than simply standalone stories, but ‘The Rogue Planet’ is an emotional and visual high upon which to end this second Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon series.

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