Review: Ghost in the Machine / Author: Jonathan Morris / Publisher: Big Finish Productions / Starring: Katy Manning, Damian Lynch / Release Date: Out Now
When photography and recording were new, some people were afraid as they thought that these devices could steal your soul. Although we may be amused at this, what if there is something in what they say?
That is the subject of Jonathan Morris' Ghost in the Machine, a Big Finish audio in their Companion Chronicles range (in which all parts will generally be played by the lead and a support). This Third Doctor story has Katy Manning as Jo Grant (and others) finding herself in a research base that has been sealed. All the inhabitants are dead and the Doctor is in a trance. All she has for company is a recording device and the base’s own logs. It is from these that she learns of the last days of Benjamin Chikoto (Lynch) and the research into recreating people from their recordings.
As Jo tries to make sense of events she starts to doubt her memory and continually rewinds her own recordings to double-check what was said. The story gets creepier as we find that the first recordings do alter themselves and then they start to talk to her! Worse is to come when Jo finds herself trapped in a recording with the spirit of Benjamin Chikoto, desperate to stop an evil, alien spirit making off with her body in the TARDIS. This is where the writing gets particularly clever, with Jo only able to use words she had recorded previously; not only that but the performances and directing are all very precise as the two actors get to play their own parts, each other’s and the Doctor. All ends as well as could be expected and this is a story that impresses, with Louise Jameson, in her directorial debut for Big Finish, moving things along nicely.
Big Finish may be winding down the Companion Chronicles range but that doesn’t mean standards are getting any lower.