Doctor Who review: These Stolen Hours explores a much-loved companion

Focusing on and narrated by audio companion Charlotte Pollard, These Stolen Hours is a great little Doctor Who story that examines both a much-loved companion and her relationship with the Doctor.

These Stolen Hours, the latest in the range of Big Finish’s purely narrated Short Trips, focuses on a key companion. One that’s particularly special for long-term fans of Big Finish’s Doctor Who audios: Charlotte Pollard.

These Stolen Hours is mainly set during Charley’s travels with the Sixth Doctor, although narrated directly by Charley at some point after she finished traveling with him. The story does a good job of catching newcomers up with her story. Which is great, because Charley’s relationship with the Doctor is central to this audio – and it’s a very complicated relationship, to say the least.

Because while Charley is currently traveling with the Sixth Doctor, the one that she first met was the Eighth. These Stolen Hours reveals exactly how she feels about both incarnations – while she enjoys traveling with Six, she also felt far closer to Eight. Exploring how Charley felt during this time is fascinating to hear, especially since the Doctor at this point has no idea that she’s traveled with his later self.

Fresh exploration

It’s hard to believe that this is the first story that Grace Knight has written for Charley. There’s a deep, clear understanding of the character, one that you’d expect from either creator Alan Barnes or Nicholas Briggs – both of which have written for the character extensively over the years. So I suspect that Knight is a fan of Charley, or at least, has listened to most if not all of her audio stories.

However, this isn’t just a purely nostalgic story. These Stolen Hours also gives us a fresh exploration of both the character and the Doctor. What’s particularly enjoyable is how the Doctor and Charley both contrast and complement each other equally well in this story – sometimes, at the same time.

For example, the Doctor is great at identifying what’s happening on a purely scientific level, but Charley is far more capable of identifying the more emotional issues that he tends to overlook. Having that kind of contrast works extremely well, and works as an excellent reminder of why Six and Charley were so great to listen to in the first place.

As always, India Fisher does a great job at both narrating and performing as Charley. Ensuring that These Stolen Hours is told from her perspective combines the best of both worlds, and Fisher handles the strong emotional aspects of the story perfectly.

These Stolen Hours is a nice little visit to a much-loved audio companion. While we’re still waiting for the third series of her own spin-off, (seriously, Nicholas Briggs, you can’t just leave it at Series 2’s incredibly bleak ending,) this is a great trip back to her travels with the Doctor and a nice reminder of why she’s such a fantastic companion.

Next: Bernice Summerfield’s earliest audios are finally available on download

Are you a fan of Charley? If you heard her with both Eight and Six, which Doctor do you think suited her more? Let us know in the comments below.

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