The distant future. The TARDIS, with the Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara aboard, is drawn out of the Vortex and lands aboard the Earth Benchmarking Vessel Nevermore, where Captain Rostrum is navigating by punching holes in the very fabric of space. The Doctor is appalled by this act of vandalism, and fearful that it could unleash monsters from the dark dimensions.


As the benchmarking holes begin to fray, the fate of the universe is at stake. And while the Doctor contemplates a terrible sacrifice, Susan befriends the Nevermore’s First Mate - someone she will remember for the rest of her life…








Here There

Be Monsters

JULY 2008







Big Finish’s third season of Companion Chronicles sees them venture further back into the series’ past than they’ve ever gone before. Andy Lane’s evocatively-titled offering, Here There Be Monsters, takes place at the end of Doctor Who’s first season, and features the Doctor’s very first travelling companion – his granddaughter, Susan.


Simon Holub’s gratifyingly eerie cover art does a wonderful job of capturing the spirit of the Doctor’s earliest adventures, as does Lane’s redolent script. Having the preponderance of the story set within the claustrophobic confines of the Earth Benchmarking Vessel Nevermore really evokes the feel of serials such as The Sensorites, and Lane’s depiction of the original TARDIS crew is faithful almost to a fault. One scene in particular stands out, where the first Doctor is being his usual, pseudo-benevolent but nonetheless selfish old self (clearly weighing up whether saving the whole universe is “worth” marooning himself in one place and time); Ian is being “desperately logical”, struggling to wrap his head around the science of their predicament; and Barbara is playing her usual role of “peacemaker”.


As for Susan, Here There Be Monsters does a tremendous job of recreating the unearthly, mischievous and scare-prone young woman that we all remember so well, but it also offers us insight into the character that the television series never did. Having this tale narrated by the ‘future’ Susan allows Lane to look at – albeit fleetingly – her relationship with David, her husband, and even contrast it to her relationship with her former travelling companions. Naturally this mostly focuses on her feelings towards the Doctor, even hinting that events here are what set her down the path towards leaving him, but this also extends to her two former teachers from Coal Hill School. Indeed, I found it particularly intriguing to hear the older Susan talk about Ian and Barbara’s preconceptions about her with the benefit of hindsight. It seems wrong somehow – yet so very right – that at the time of their travels, Susan was older than either of them, regardless of her patent lack of maturity.


And it’s brilliant to hear Carole Ann Ford back in the role. Ford recreates Susan – young and old – perfectly, and what’s more her delivery of Lane’s prose is very convincing. She also voices Captain Rostrum, the vegetative life form in command of the Nevermore, very credibly, as well as Jacqueline Hill’s Barbara. Inevitably though, I found her impersonations of Williams Hartnell and Russell wanting – not her fault of course, more a restriction of the format – but even so she at least manages to capture the spirit of her former co-stars. That said, I can’t help but wonder why director Lisa Bowerman did not allow Stephen Hancock (Coronation Street), who voices ‘the First Mate’ here, to have a stab at the male parts. He already sounds very much like William Russell does today, which isn’t a bad place to start from.


“It was a terrible sound, like someone had just stabbed

the universe and it was crying out in pain.”


What I liked most about Here There Be Monsters though is the story itself, which manages to feel thoroughly traditional despite being anything but. With the Nevermore punching holes in the fabric of space and time, which the Doctor frets will “unleash monsters from the dark dimensions”, I had expected the likes of Chronovores, Eternals or worse to come bleeding through the cracks, but what lies beneath the spatial fissure is altogether more remarkable, making for an unusually uplifting finale.


All told then, full as it is of twists and turns and dripping with imagination, Here There Be Monsters certainly has “beauty in its mathematics”. Brave in the way that they used to be, this one marks a promising start to the Companion Chronicles’ longest season yet.


Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2009


E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Design

 and Patents Act 1988, to be identified as the author of this work.



The CD’s blurb places this story’s main events between the television serials The Reign of Terror and Planet of Giants. Within this gap, weve placed them after The Witch Hunters (which was released earlier) and prior to City at Worlds End (which leads into Planet of Giants).


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