CHRONICLES' CD 5.01 (ISBN 1-84435-483-2) RELEASED IN JULY 2010.



Space Security Agent Sara Kingdom is dead, her ashes strewn on the planet Kembel. But, in an old house in Ely, Sara Kingdom lives on...


Now joined in the house by her confidante Robert, Sara recalls her travels in the TARDIS with the Doctor - and a particular adventure when the ship appeared to land inside a giant clock, where old men are caught in its workings.


And behind this nightmare is an old enemy: Mavic Chen, Guardian of the Solar System.


Then and now, Sara's past is catching up with her. The cogs have come full circle.




The Guardian of

the Solar System

JULY 2010







The Guardian of the Solar System may be Big Finish’s most keenly-anticipated Companion Chronicle to date. Given the enormous popularity of Home Truths and The Drowned World, the promise of a third and final chapter in Simon Guerrier’s Sara Kingdom trilogy would have been enough to have most listeners chomping at the bit in any event, but with a title as bold and as suggestive as The Guardian of the Solar System, and a stunning cover illustration that features the Guardian himself in all his vainglorious finery, I suspect that most subscribers will have been counting the days until its release.


Somewhat inevitably, this two-parter is the pick of Guerrier’s trilogy, not just in terms of the magnificent pictures that it paints, but in terms of the heartbreaking drama that sits right at its taranium core. The fundamental premise is sublime: crossing their own timestream, the Doctor, Steven and Sara find themselves a year before their Dalek nightmare began, inside a giant extra-dimensional clock apparently powered by the slave labour of old prisoners and staffed by the Space Security Service. A clock that Mavic Chen, iniquitous Guardian of the Solar System, uses to somehow power Earth’s hyperspace lanes…


In itself, this slave-driven clock presents a magnificently chilling image, though it’s hard to imagine what route the narrative would have taken in the absence of Chen and the rest of The Daleks’ Master Plan trappings, which I understand were included only at the behest of series producer David Richardson. Listening to the production, the clock provides an eerie backdrop to a tale that seems to be primarily about Chen; Sara; her brother, Bret Vyon; and the heartbreak of their unshakeable destinies. This story’s finest moments aren’t those that convey the horror of Guerrier’s creepy clock, but those that broach issues as intricate as predestination and choice, sacrifice and surrender. We hear Sara break down and weep before her brother, a year before her younger self will erroneously execute him as traitor. We hear her spirit audibly collapse in on itself as she realises that, for all the little good that she and her friends have done here, they’ve only become a part of events; their actions proving to be the very catalyst for Chen’s deal with the Daleks and the ensuing cataclysm.


Furthermore, The Guardian of the Solar System drives the ongoing Sara / Robert framing story towards a suitably teasing climax. In the preceding brace of stories, the two-hand drama between Jean Marsh’s Sara and Niall MacGregor’s Robert often threatened to eclipse the stories that Sara told, but here it’s much more understated, Guerrier probing the ties that bind the two characters without ever treading on the toes of his main plot. The final scene between the two of them is beautifully irresolute, Big Finish leaving the TARDIS doors wide open for Sara, should Marsh ever elect to return. My only gripe here would be that the dénouement is incredibly similar to that of The Time Vampire, released just a few months earlier. It’s so similar, in fact, that I can’t help but wonder if the two aren’t linked somehow, and this isn’t a case of accident but design.


On a final note, Simon Holub deserves great credit here for the cover artwork that I’ve referred to above. It encapsulates all the scope and grandeur of this ambitious tale, and comes – as is now the norm for Big Finish’s Who releases – with an even more evocative reversible cover featuring the apposite Doctor Who logo and font. I know that ostensibly it’s only a small thing, but it really does help to set the mood. If only it had been in greyscale, then it would have been perfect. When listening to Alex Mallinson recently on Point of Entry’s CD Extras, he wondered what fan reaction would be to these reversible covers. Well, if they’re going to continue to be of this standard, then it’s sure to be overwhelmingly positive.


Overall then, The Guardian of the Solar System sees Simon Guerrier’s trilogy conclude and the Companion Chronicles’ fifth season begin with great aplomb, and even greater heart. This alluring release offers a delectable fusion of staggering concepts, fan service most foul, and agonisingly heart-rending drama – a combination that most listeners will find impossible to defend against.


Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2010


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

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



Whilst its framing story begins in Home Truths and concludes in The Guardian of the Solar System, the events of the ‘Sara Kingdom’ Companion Chronicles trilogy appear to take place in the opposite order to that they were released in. This is because Home Truths must happen after the other two stories (as the House doesn’t know about anything that happened to Sara thereafter), and an early line in The Guardian of the Solar System suggests that it happens almost immediately after The Feast of the Steven (Episode 7 of The Daleks’ Master Plan, after which the events of the trilogy are set). The Drowned World thus falls in between the two.


That said, we certainly wouldn’t countenance listening to the trilogy backwards - not unless you’d welcome an almighty headache.

                                         Thanks to Jason Robbins


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