The Stuntman

Posted in Audio by - September 16, 2022
The Stuntman

Released September 2022


Now with K9 helping to look for Time Lord technology to clear up lingering threads from the Time War, the Tenth Doctor finds an old friend trapped in a war criminal’s latest scheme in Lizzie Hopley’s ‘The Stuntman.’

Hopley wastes little time setting a most peculiar scene in which a stuntwoman and her managerial father are constantly pushed into action to complete another Hollywood blockbuster. Voiced by Sarah Sutton and John Leeson, there is no doubt that in some way the characters of Nyssa and K9 are involved even if their characters go by other names and only recall their time in this industry together, and this setup allows for the story to at least briefly explore and at times condemn the inner workings of Hollywood and the fraught relationships within it. There’s quite a bit of action here as the scenes and action continue to shift, and the sound design, music, and direction to well to keep a strong sense of pace to match the frenetic life of this stuntwoman.

However, Sutton’s character seems to be undertaking far more work than is typical, and as the Doctor pushes both her father and her individually about who they really are and just what they can remember if they truly look back on their past, the story changes to something far more impressive in its scope. Unfortunately, because so much time is dedicated to the Hollywood and stunt storyline, there isn’t enough time allowed for the true emotions of Nyssa and the Doctor to develop once they truly meet outside of this Gallifreyan Matrix device that has been hijacked for commercial gain in a most nefarious plot wrapped in the guise of magnanimity for those most in need. It’s a clever twist on the Matrix that does raise the prospect for the Doctor that perhaps he has crossed paths with another Time Lord survivor of the Time War and that allows a nice villainous turn from Jon Glover, but this is a story that unequivocally should have a heavy focus on the mature Nyssa who has lost her father and her planet but who continues to do genuine good throughout the universe. Of course, Nyssa in both her more youthful and more experienced years has had tremendous opportunities to develop alongside the Fifth Doctor with Big Finish throughout the years, but she represents an anchor point of familiarity who can genuinely empathize with the Tenth Doctor’s current situation. Nyssa simply mentioning that she heard what happened to Gallifrey and is sorry is such a glaring missed opportunity for these two beloved characters to genuinely reflect upon shared and distinct experiences to connect even more deeply. David Tennant and Sarah Sutton are immensely talented actors who do exceedingly well through this script and expertly convey just how much their characters mean to each other regardless, but what could have been a moment of joint catharsis and empathy is left mostly unsaid.

It’s incredibly easy to take K9 for granted given his steadfast loyalty to the Doctor, the Doctor’s companions, and logic, but John Leeson gives an incredible performance as both K9 and his human avatar within the Matrix. Although brief as well, the moments in which K9 must explore what sentience actually means and just who he is in relation to the figure he portrayed inside the Matrix with no memory of being K9 are fascinating and add an incredible amount of depth to a character who is too often used simply as a plot device. Again, K9 works exceedingly well alongside the Tenth Doctor, and seeing these two friends reunited and continuing to travel together as they seek out wrongs to be righted is a fantastic central concept for this set. ‘The Stuntman’ is unfortunately not the deep character drama that it perhaps should be despite Nyssa expressing gratitude to K9 for allowing her to better remember her father, but the end result is a fun and well-paced affair that nonetheless provides a successful intermingling of Doctor Who eras.

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