From 2006 to 2011, Sheridan Smith portrayed Lucie Miller alongside Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor, giving us one of the most memorable and well-loved companions of the audio format. After five years, Smith makes her return to Big Finish as the narrator of this Short Trip.
It’s February 1974, and Britain is enduring regular power cuts. In an old folks’ home, one elderly lady, Cecille, is enduring far worse than others, troubled by ghosts from her past. Having become Cecille’s carer, Lucie enlists the Doctor’s help in getting to the truth.
The Curse of the Fugue is a touching story from writer Alice Cavander, with the reveals about Cecille’s wartime past exploring old age and the burden of memory. The slow pacing and half-hour format, however, do limit the tension of the story, with little exploration of the 1970s setting and the only extraterrestrial element being not much more than a MacGuffin.
Nevertheless, Smith does a great job of the narration, bringing the character of Lucie Miller back to life, giving the old folks an amusing range of voices, and even having a good shot at a Paul McGann impression. Cavander’s script gets the dialogue of this popular time-travelling duo spot on – Lucie’s northern sass crossed with the erudite, romantic nature of the early Eighth Doctor makes for great chemistry.
So the story may be slight, but fans of Lucie Miller will enjoy Smith’s return in this short tale – almost, but not quite, like having her and McGann back together again!
SHORT TRIPS: THE CURSE OF THE FUGUE (DOCTOR WHO) / AUTHOR: ALICE CAVANDER / DIRECTOR: LISA BOWERMAN / STARRING: SHERIDAN SMITH / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW