When that request takes the duo off to the Victorian era in search of a fabled explorer it should be a simple case of running into him somewhere along the way. The problem is, as the title suggests, upon arrival, he isn’t where he’s meant to be. And if one of Charley’s idols doesn’t do what he was famous for, other people won’t further in the future either.
The Doctor initially tries to shrug it off as ‘poor dating’ and coincidence but soon enough it becomes clear that the disappearance isn't an accident. It’s not the first time this kind of scheme has been tried and he knows how dangerous it could ultimately be. Now the Doctor and Charley must figure out what is happening and if they still have time to put things right and keep the future on course.
It's not essential, but read by Charley herself, India Fisher, The Man Who Wasn’t There is agreeably entertaining stuff. Fisher has a clear and expressive voice, honed over years doing audio plays, narrating and a number of other voice work gigs. Able to bring the characters and story to life distinctly, India makes it an involving listen.
To add to that, while the story might be inevitably and purposefully slight at this one-shot length, it’s well written and engaging stuff. Shorter than an average TV episode but able through using descriptions and little comments to add in details that give it a bigger scale, there’s enough vivid drama here in the reading. Aided by the expected Big Finish production standards it’s the kind of thing to entertain on a commute or if you just want a brief half hour plus in another world, and for that comes recommended.
DOCTOR WHO SHORT TRIPS: THE MAN WHO WASN’T THERE / DIRECTOR: LISA BOWERMAN / WRITER: IAN ATKINS / PRODUCER: MICHAEL STEVENS / STARRING: INDIA FISHER / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW