It’s time for me to take a break from the Sixth Doctor’s adventures and look at those of his daughter (five times removed). This is one of those series that distracts me from getting caught up on the main range. I got a better deal buying it in a bundle with The Diary of River Song, though, than I would have gotten buying River Song volumes four and five separately, so I decided to start this series in a discussion of its own rather than lump it in with the “miscellaneous” one in case I decide to stick with it. Here’s what’s ahead.

1.1 Stolen Goods by Matt Fitton
1.2 Prisoner of the Ood by John Dorney
1.3 Neon Reign by Christian Brassington
1.4 Zero Space by Adrian Poynton

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STOLEN GOODS by Matt Fitton:

“Jenny is new to the universe and keen to explore – but in unfamiliar spaceships, accidents happen. She’s lucky to have someone on-hand to help. A slippery, fast-talking someone, called Garundel.
Soon, Jenny is mixed up in cons and explosions. But she also finds something strange, inexplicable, and as new to universe as she is. She’ll call him Noah.”

COMMENTARY: “Stolen Goods” picks up right where the televised episode “The Doctor’s Daughter” left off (well, about 9½ hours later, to be exact). The first thing that happens is Jenny runs into (literally) a salesman named Garundel in what amounts to a fender-bender. Garundel takes Jenny to his mechanic and it soon becomes clear that the two of them are running a scam. They hope to take advantage of Jenny’s naiveté but, unfortunately for them, she is very bright as well.

Soon, a cybernetic bounty hunter arrives on the scene looking for “the Time Lord.” The con-men betray her, of course, and as she is seeking safety, she comes upon an egg-shaped spaceship. The con-men thought it was empty, but Jenny finds a stasis capsule inside containing a young man she calls “Noah” (because it sounds somewhat like “no one”). Before the episode is through, Jenny and Noah escape, but not before Garundel has implanted Noah with a sub-dermal tracking device so the bounty hunter can trail them anywhere in time and space.

Judging by the first episode, The Doctor’s Daughter will be a light-hearted and fun series. Funny, too.

WRITER’S NOTES: “Writing Jenny: The Doctor’s Daughter began a long time ago… in fact, I wrote two scenes before the series was even a certainty. They both survive in the final product: one, a conversation through a spaceship door in this episode; and the other, a doorstep arrival, which John Dorney was gracious enough to include—and improve no end!—in episode two. See if you can spot them…

“Back then, we were still persuading Georgia how Jenny might work as a lead, and give a sense of the tone. The rest is now history. But it’s always a valid question when expanding the Doctor Who universe—what’s different about this series? I hope Jenny is fast, furious fun, almost comic strip in sensibilities. Much like our hero, in fact! What I wanted to portray in those sample scenes was the idea of her as both the innocent abroad, yet at the same time the smartest, potentially most dangerous person in the room. Only she doesn’t quite know it.

“You’d hope that anybody with such formidable powers—Time Lord skills, gifted by genetics, but birthed into war and bio-engineered for combat—you’d hope they’d have a very good example to follow. Luckily, Jenny had the best. She saw the Doctor try to be a good man in terrible circumstances on Messaline, and that’s what she wants to live up to. To make her ‘dad’ proud.

“So it’s a pleasure to set up the series in this opening episode—once Jenny has avoided crashing into a moon—and introduce her in quick succession to Garundel and Noah. Examples of the worst and best the universe has to offer…”

PRISONER OF THE OOD by John Dorney:

“Moving into Leafield Crescent, Angie Glazebrook is surprised by an unexpected caller. But not half as surprised as Jenny, suddenly transported to a suburban close on twenty-first century Earth.
And that’s nothing to the surprise of the neighbors when alien visitors start appearing. Visitors with tentacled mouths, carrying death-dealing orbs. The Ood have come for their prisoner…”

COMMENTARY: This story begins in medias res (although that’s not necessarily apparent at first) as Jenny knocks on a door in a suburban English neighborhood asking for weapons the way someone might ask to borrow a cup of sugar. It is soon revealed that the neighborhood is contained in a transparent force field. The neighborhood committee (an eclectic lot) then decides to call a meeting. In flashback, Jenny reveals that she and Noah had recently encountered a man, a prisoner, whose guards were the Ood. The prisoner escaped, and Jenny and Noah became separated. When Ood begin to take over certain of the neighbor, it becomes clear they suspect the prisoner is hiding among them.

This one is very funny.

WRITER’S NOTES: “A handful of thoughts on this story.

“I wasn’t allowed to call it ‘Neighbor Ood’. Still gutted about that.

Georgia Tennant is formidable and brilliant.

“Arabella Weir is hilarious. I mean, you know this. But I mean even more than you think. I can’t recall laughing so much during a recording. And I’m talking about both when we were working and when we weren’t. If you ever get the opportunity to be in a room with this woman, grab it.

“This story had a long gestation. The idea started out for a totally different range, then another, then yet a third before it eventually found its home. This means that the interviews about where it came from are largely guesswork. I recall only that it’s inspired, in part, by an eighties movie classic. I suspect you won’t be able to work out which one.

“The long development period meant that it was the first of the Jenny scripts to be storylined… meaning when we wanted some sample scenes to send to Georgia, script editor Matt Fitton worked up some stuff based on that synopsis. Some of this survives. In one case, I span off a line he’d written for a punchline later in the story, so it’s ended up as one of the most collaborative jokes in Big Finish history. There you go.

“It’s set where I live. Well, where I live now. I’m currently looking to move and may have done by the time the story is released, so it’s something of an artefact. I rarely write parts for myself—because it’s more fun not to. I’m always interested in seeing what other people bring to the lines. But in this case, it seemed apt and I put myself forward when I handed in the script. Fortunately Barney remembered and gave me the part!”

Apparently there's going to be a series of "Missy" stores, do you think you'll follow those?

Hmm... I don't know. I'll have to think about it. This is yet another example of a special series that distracts me from getting the Doctor stories in the main range I an interested in. Is it a series you'd be interested in reading a discussion about?

Here's the story.

NEON REIGN by Christian Brassington:

“The Dragon Lord rules Kamshassa with fear. Half the oppressed population live in an addicted stupor, while the other half are forced into service. Factories belch poisonous smoke, and Dragon Guards patrol the streets, condemning dissenters to the Eternal Fire. When Jenny and Noah arrive, it’s only a matter of time before they start a revolution.”

COMMENTARY: That’s a pretty concise description. I don’t know how much more I can add. This story remains light-hearted, but is so far the most serious of the three. (I suspect the last part will be more serious still.) Much is done this episode to increase the mystery surrounding Noah… what he knows, what he does not know… that sort of thing. For example, he knows what a dematerialization circuit is, but have never heard of a rice paddy. In this episode, Jenny and Noah aquire a “sporeship” which refers to Noah as “The Elder.” Here’s what Christian Brassington has to say about the episode.

WRITER’S NOTES: “What makes a monster—both literally and figuratively? How do an oppressed people become chattels? And what is it about those who break the chains that make them an inspiration? And how do we view women in society, really?

“These were all questions I was asking myself as I wrote ‘Neon Reign’. It was important that, in the absence of bountiful technology, Jenny’s wit and razor-charm were her tools to defeat this adventure’s nemesis.

“When I was designing the world in my head I was certainly thinking of the aesthetics of Blade Runner and the local of Pyongyang. Then the task is to translate what you’re seeing in your mind’s eye to the ear of the listener. Thankfully the Big Finish team are experts in creating pictures out of sound. I wanted the weather to be unrelentingly grey and oppressive; constant drizzle and downpours. That’s an easier picture to paint as we’re all familiar with the sound of rain, especially in Britain!

“There’s a great confidence to Jenny which I really enjoy exploring. She’s all about equality; maybe to an extreme degree. You won’t find her bowing and scraping to anyone. Not because Jenny thinks she’s above anyone. More that she believes nobody is more important than anyone else. It’s a lovely world (universe?!) view to hold. That equanimity from Jenny, and Noah’s childlike naivety, contrasts really nicely with the themes of oppression in the episode. I tried to make Jenny’s language as bright as possible to counter the grey hopelessness of Kamshassa. I hope I’ve brought the light!”

I read all of your conversations with interest, but I wouldn't want you to spend money based on that alone.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Hmm... I don't know. I'll have to think about it. This is yet another example of a special series that distracts me from getting the Doctor stories in the main range I an interested in. Is it a series you'd be interested in reading a discussion about?

Here's the story.

I already have the first set of “The War Doctor” and have pre-ordered sets 2-3.

The Missy set would make a nice complement to those...

ZERO SPACE by Adrian Poynton:

“Out in deep space, in the middle of – quite literally – nowhere, Jenny and Noah believe they’ve found a safe haven. And, very possibly, some answers. But the space station holds many secrets, and it won’t be long before Jenny’s past catches her up. Bounty hunter COLT-5000 is on her trail and will stop at nothing to hunt down its quarry… even in Zero Space!”

COMMENTARY: While joyriding in the sporeship, Jenny and Noah suddenly find themselves in the midst of a huge void. In the center of the void is a space station maned by 200 clones: 100 of one scientist, 100 of another. When it comes time for one of the clones to die, all of its experience and memories are transferred into the next clone body. This process can be tracked back to the two original scientists. It’s their way of “regenerating” so that none of their knowledge and research is lost. The “zero space” is a byproduct of the experiments being carried out on the station.

The cybernetic bounty hunter tracks Noah’s implant to the station and, somehow, turns all 200 clones against Jenny and Noah. But Jenny detects 205 life forms aboard the space station. Who are the other two? As I predicted, this is the most serious of the four. This series is like a Doctor Who in which the gender roles have been reversed, that is, Jenny is the tutor and Noah is the tyro. In the writing stage, many of the parts were changed from male to female, so Jenny is very pro-woman, as I’m sure the returning TV series will be. I hope they do more of these. They are really fun.

WRITER’S NOTES: “Jenny was born into war, the effects of which always burn within her. She has a hot temper and the instinct to kill was programmed into her at her very creation… but thanks to the time spent with her father, she’s learned to fight against it.

“And yet, she was also created by science. And that’s a world Jenny hasn’t really experienced yet—the world of thinking, theories and experimentation. And as someone still so naïve, uneducated and new to the universe, it was a world I wanted her to experience.

“See, Jenny is usually such a whirlwind of energy and excitement—always looking for the next thrill and adventure—I was interested to see how she’d behave around people whose lives flow a little slower, a little more methodically. People who are happy to wait. To take their time, and who don’t get results by running at something head-first and hoping for the best.

“But obviously, this is the world of Doctor Who where nothing stays peaceful for long… so, just as she’s relaxing into this new environment and beginning to enjoy herself, suddenly Jenny is forced to go all Die Hard on this scientific space station… which again awakens the other side of her personality, and we have to ask ourselves—how does a girl born from war, who’s desperately trying to do no harm, react when cornered and forced to fight for her very life—and more importantly, that of the whole universe?

“Has she even learned enough yet to save it?”

Man, there's a WKRP episode also called "The Doctor's Daughter" -- so I keep seeing this thread and thinking about Dr. Johnny Fever.

"Johnny Doctor Daddy" she called him. I remember that one.

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