The Mummy Speaks!

Posted in Website by - February 06, 2022
The Mummy Speaks!

Released January 2022


In 2001, years before Doctor Who would return to screens with Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor, the addition of the Eighth Doctor to the Big Finish catalogue and the ability to tell completely new stories in completely uncharted territory was a tremendously exciting prospect. Alongside Paul McGann, India Fischer as self-styled Edwardian Adventuress Charlotte Pollard made the experiment a resounding success, and while the Doctor and Charley parted paths multiple times long ago, Charlotte Pollard- The Further Adventuress reunites this beloved pairing for four brand new adventures.

Fittingly, the creator of Charley, Alan Barnes, pens the first instalment of this nostalgic set, ‘The Mummy Speaks!’ Arriving at the Carnaval de Paris in 1841, the Doctor and Charley almost instantly find themselves on the run from an angry mob after a few ill-received comments about Napoleon Bonaparte. Ducking out of sight of the pursuing Inspector, they discover Cagliostro’s sideshow spectacle, a preserved mummy from four thousand years ago that will speak on demand and answer any and all questions directed to it. Unfortunately for Cagliostro, the intrepid travelers ask rather pointed questions that reveal the mystique is not quite as harmless as it might otherwise seem, and they quickly uncover the criminal activity and corruption at the core of this setup.

‘The Mummy Speaks!’ certainly taps into a far more comedic tone than any of the original adventures featuring this pair, and while that does perhaps reveal a missed opportunity for Cyril Nri to truly explore Khaset in a more serious and eerie backdrop, it does allow for the focus to be on the characterization of the leads as well as the highly visual nature of the carnival setting. Indeed, there may be no greater idea than the Doctor traveling around space and time with a gorilla in a waistcoat and cravat as they attempt to land at the proper location to help Charley, and making the gorilla such a prominent feature of this script that pays homage to Paris’s own Quasimodo by its end is a surprising but brilliant touch that blends together the absurdity and the more traditional components stemming from the alien menace that was sealed away so very long ago quite well.

The brief running time does unfortunately mean that the resolution comes about almost as quickly as the genuine threat is introduced, bringing into focus the fact that so many nods to this pairing’s earliest days and throwaway gags such as those about the TARDIS’s translation abilities ultimately hinder the development of a more fully-realized story. Charley once more pretending to be a boy and mentions of the R101 and Ramsay the Vortisaur are nice nods for longtime fans to reminisce about, but they are clearly forced into the script simply for nostalgia’s sake rather than for a genuine narrative purpose. However, Barnes is intimately familiar with these two characters, and he perfectly recaptures their voices to allow McGann and Fischer to recapture the excitement and energy of their initial time together. The Doctor is at his most roguish and charming, and Charley is brash and unafraid to take control of any situation thrust at her, and the mesmerizing chemistry on display is all that is needed to prove just why revisiting this era holds so much potential. ‘The Mummy Speaks!’ will hardly top any lists of favourite stories featuring this pair, but it serves as a thrilling reintroduction to a beloved Doctor and companion pairing that certainly holds a few surprises as its rushed and more comedic narrative flows.

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