On the 10th May 2008 the BBC aired an episode of Doctor Who called ‘The Doctor’s Daughter’ now over ten years later we have a sequel. Big Finish released Jenny – The Doctor’s Daughter on the 5th June 2018. The box set of 4 stories features Georgia Tennant returning to her role of Jenny alongside Sean Biggerstaff in the role of Noah her companion.

Having just finished listening to it I have to say that the box set was slightly different from what I had expected. To be fair I did not know what I was expecting but here we are. I have recently been listening to Dark Eyes and have just finished Doom Coalition 3 so my expectation of Big Finish stories are a touch more serious and a touch more epic than Jenny – The Doctor’s Daughter so for me the shift in tone is a little odd but not unwelcome.


Jenny – The Doctor’s Daughter is a light heated romp with comedy and a selection of stories some smaller scale, some more traditional in style. The over arching plot picks us up with Jenny what feels fairly near to the original show, albeit a few months later, and Jenny is being pursued by COLT-5000 (Siân Phillips) a cyborg bounty hunter that wishes to capture her.

Jenny is all about saving the day using her courage, wit, and more than a little bit of her intuition. Once Noah ios introduced into the story then it becomes Jenny’s role to mentor him and fill in the gaps. You see Noah is woken from cryosleep during the first story and remembers none of his life. He does however have quite a lot of facts that can be regurgitated as the plot requires, which as Jenny points out on a number of occasions makes him incredibly handy but frustrating.

Jenny as a series is, while fun, also frustrating. It introduces a number of mysteries and provides some hints but by the end of the fourth episode, nothing more is know. For the listener, not knowing if or when a second Jenny – The Doctor’s Daughter box set will released it create a somewhat incomplete experience. In my opinion it would have been nice to have a more complete experience over the four stories and wrap up at least one of the mysteries. However by the end of the four stories we are in a new galaxy and it is clear Jenny and Noah are bound for new adventures, should they ever come.

 

Stolen Goods by Matt Fitton Features the return of the conman Garundel (Stuart Milligan) and I must confess I do not remember him (even though I’ve listened to Black and White). However, this is not an impediment to the story which clips along at a good pace. Jenny is crashed into by Garundel and he escorts her to a garage for repairs where his co-conspirators are running a con to get 5000 credits out of Jenny.

It was nice to see Jenny use her intellect and observational powers, much like the Doctor would, to work out she is in a scam. Upon discovery of this the story takes darker turn, while still being humours and light hearted, when Garudel tries to kill Jenny. Jenny finds Noah in a ship and wakes him up and then they meet their new problem. COLT-5000 is here and looking for Jenny and chaos ensues. After a scan to work out who Noah is unveils nothing, which in itself is interesting, COLT-5000 is also looking to capture him as well.

I enjoyed this story as it was fun, light hearted and all round a good introduction to Jenny and Noah. There is no need to have watched anything previous although in preparation for this review I did re-watch the episode The Doctor’s Daughter. The episode made me realise quite how cheesy and cheap Doctor Who could look in its first four series since its return. Jenny makes an instant impression in the episode the Stolen Goods develops from this point nicely. She is still the Jenny from the TV episode but more expanded and rounded. She is also much more humorous. Noah makes less of an impression and with the way the second episode is structured this does him a disservice. All in all a nice start nothing too demanding story wise which is what you want sometimes.

The episode ends with Jenny and Noah hopping away using a vortex manipulator which did make me roll my eyes a little. This doesn’t help the comparison I made across the box set of Jenny as a cross between the tenth Doctor, River and Bernice.

 

Prisoner Of The Ood by John Dorney is what I would consider a traditional Big Finish affair. It begins when Jenny arrives in Leafield Crescent and meets Angie Glazebrook (Arabella Weir). Arabella Weir provides a fantastic performance through the episode and during the finale of the episode turns it up a notch. I very much enjoyed her character and the way the story uses her.

Jenny and Noah arrived at a prison facility that the Ood run. Their prisoner escapes when Jenny leaves Noah behind and the Ood start to infiltrate Leafield Crescent. While the episode is enjoyable and has a rewarding ending there are issues with this. Having just met Noah and Jenny it seems a little odd that essentially Noah is mostly sidelined for this episode. He is with the Ood watching events and making some comments but that is the limit to his roll.

Jenny however is excellent in the episode and gets a chance to shine. Her honour, and courage are to the fore and it is a great showcase for all of her abilities. Jenny really comes across as an iteration of the tenth Doctor and while sometimes it comes off a little too close it does for the most part work very well. I feel it would have been more interesting to have this episode set before she met Noah or to have Noah there but trapped with one of the residents helping him understand social cues. Alas none of this happens and we lose out on an episode of interaction between Noah and Jenny.

There is also a lack of COLT-5000 and Noah’s overarching story which seems odd that they would in effect abandon so much from the first episode so quickly. I have to say this is not a poor episode. I very much enjoyed it and the Ood as voiced by Silas Carson (who voiced the Ood on the main show) but there are flaws that stay with you long after you’ve listened to it.

 

Blade Runner by Christian Brassington, sorry Neon Reign by Christian Brassington opens on the strains of knockoff Vangelis. I am not kidding here, the opening music could have been used in Blade Runner. This is a very typical adventure that I feel I’ve heard a million times with Big Finish. What surprised me is that the tone of this is much more serious and unfortunately has a heavy handed political tone that did not come across very well. This is my least favourite of the four stories.

In my opinion nothing much happens. Jenny and Noah arrive on a planet called Kamshassa and with the hlp of Shoon-Rei (Arina II) infiltrates a government building. Noah is being chased by COLT-5000, who is back in this story, and arrives at the same building. Jenny is sacrificed in one of the most obvious story twists in the vein of The Wizard of Oz that sadly I saw coming from near enough the first ten minutes of the story. Buy the time we got to the end I was going, just reveal it now. The story tries to drop hints but they are far too obvious and by the time of the reveal we are bored of it.

However this story does advance some of the Noah plot. The people on Kamshassa as the Sons of Kamishi and there is a spore ship on the planet. Now the Kamishi and spore ships have appeared in the first Diaries of River Song, however I do not think much has been revealed about them however I would need to listen again to that box set again for more context. Even witht hat in mind though with Jenny not knowing anything about the Kamishi the listener is not required to know anything either. There’s also an interestign point that Noah can use all the access panels on this planet and is identified as the Elder One. What this means long term is unknown but here’s hoping that Noah isn’t some all powerful being.

 

Zero Space by Adrian Poynton is the last story in this box set and I have to say they saved the best for last. The actors and the story really come together in this one, it is very enjoyable. Jenny and Noah arrive in an area of space that is devoid of anything. This is a neat sci-fi concept and gives the story its name. Jenny and Noah decide to investigate the zero space and find a space station inhabited by Dreyda (Adèle Anderson of Fascinating Aida fame) and Cal (Anthony Calf) clones of two scientists. This concept is interesting and the idea that the two scientists cloned themselves one hundred times each so that their knowledge could be passed down. Anderson and Calf do a great job of injecting some sense of individual personality into the clones and I really enjoyed these two. The way the episode wraps up I would love to see Dreyda and Cal return, in the future or in the past.

The problems arise once COLT-5000 appears and threatens the clones. There is an excellent discussion of the issues surrounding the clones which links very nicely back to the seven day war in the episode of the main show The Doctor’s Daughter. Jenny is given time to voice her opinions and this is reflected nicely in the final scene (which I wont spoil). Though sadly this goes on too long and left me cringing. Even with that said this is without a doubt the strongest story in the set and closes out the series nicely.

 

In summary this is a fun boxset, it achives what it sets out to do and is a good listen. I do have one major nitpick and this is the theme tune. I am going to have to say I was not enamoured with it. The new series box sets have had some of the strongest theme tunes to date. The Diaries of River Song theme had a great sexy James Bond vibe and the UNIT theme was just all round fantastic. From the older sets Gallifrey had a nice theme. This is just a mashup of the Doctor Who theme with what reminds me of the River Song theme. It comes across as lazy and I would have preferred it if they hd given Jenny a different identity. Yes I do get that they are trying to push the idea of her being the Doctor’s daughter but did they have to be so overt.

Should you buy it? If you’re looking for a bit of fun, a bit of mystery and some great acting then look no further. Georgia Tennant shines in this set, which while not without its problems, has me looking forward to more.

avatar