(ISBN 1-84435-351-4)





 The Great Space

 Elevator is a marvel

 of engineering; a tra-

 nsit tube stretChing

 from the equator up

 to a space station

 held in orbit.


 When the TARDIS

 lands in Sumatra in

 the future, the Second

 Doctor, Jamie and

 Victoria are

 captured by guards

 just as the station

 loses power. Together

 with Security Officer

 Tara Kerley, the

 three travellers take

 a one-way trip on the

 elevator to fix the

 problem, and find a

 powerful alien force

 that threatens to

 wreak chaos on



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The Great

Space Elevator








Even though I’ve now listened to the first ten Companion Chronicles, I still have

not got used to opening up the CD’s jewel case and seeing the relatively unfamiliar faces of TARDIS crews past. Publicity stills of the four ‘Big Finish Doctors’, their regular companions, and even photoshopped images of the in-house Big Finish companions have become dull through recurrence, and so when I open up a case and see the toneless images of the likes of Patrick Troughton and Frazer Hines beaming up at me, I have to struggle to suppress a rush of wistful fervour.


And it is precisely this sort of feeling that writer Jonathan Morris has sought to evoke through The Great Space Elevator. Everything about this production, save for its comparative bre-vity, simply cries out “Season 5”. The tight-fitting uniforms of the Elevator’s crew could have been stolen from the wardrobes of The Ice Warriors’ cast, and the sound of their technology pillaged from The Wheel in Space. Even Morris’ portrayal of the three regulars – “Would ye look at the size of that thing!” – is faithful almost to a fault.


What’s more, whilst the title of this two-part talking book might owe more to Roald Dahl than it does 1960s Who, The Great Space Elevator is just the sort of audacious, high-concept idea that the production team would have lapped up back then, and I dare say have a gallant stab at realising. No doubt the titular Elevator, which reaches up from the island of Sumatra to a space station in geosynchronous orbit, looks far better on audio than it would have done on television back in the day, but it’s still tremendously suggestive of those fearless times.


Morris’ plot also has a suitably educational twang to it, particularly in the lengthy second episode. There’s enough about electricity and magnetics crammed into this tale to fuel a primary school teacher for the best part of term, or at least to prevent chimps like me trying to fit new light switches without disconnecting the mains first. And Morris’ prose is still as delectable as ever; I particularly like the line “The Doctor looked disappointed, as if the creature had just cheated at Snakes & Ladders.” I could just picture Troughton’s face.


“Jamie took my hand. I’m not sure whether it was for his benefit or mine.”


I think what impressed me most though was Morris’ careful handling of Victoria Waterfield,

a character that I’ve never much cared for, except for when Marc Platt all but destroyed her in Downtime (which, incidentally, she seems to have come out of smelling of roses – according to this story, by 2008 she’s settled down and had a family). Morris manages to be true to the character as portrayed on television, but at the same time stretch her elastic as far as it’ll go. The Great Space Elevator is, in every sense, Victoria’s Waterfield’s story; she plays a much more involved role than she normally would have done on television, perhaps explaining why this adventure lingers on for so long in her memories at a time when all the rest are rapidly fading.


However, for all its enchanting qualities, The Great Space Elevator feels a little flat. Whether the problem lies with Morris’ script or Deborah Watling’s narration I’m not entirely sure, but the supporting characters certainly seem to lack that usual Morris sparkle. Even Helen Gold-wyn’s “scandalous mini-skirt” Tara, the production’s lone guest voice, scarcely features.


Overall then, The Great Space Elevator is not up to the soaring standards of Morris’ first Companion Chronicle, but there is still a lot to enjoy here, particularly for those like me with something of a passion for the Troughton era.


Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2010


E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.



This story’s blurb places its events between the television serials The Web of Fear and Fury from the Deep. Within this gap, we have placed them prior to those of the audio book The Emperor of Eternity, which was released later.


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