The latest Doctor Who Short Trips from Big Finish sees the welcome return of Sheridan Smith as Lucie Miller, reading Andrew Smith’s short story Flashpoint. It’s a clever story with a clever title – not just a crisis point, but also a good description of an alien world Cerberin, famous for its violent storms, visible from space and a major tourist attraction. Enter Lucie and the Eighth Doctor.
It’s been a while, but Sheridan can still bring Lucie to life for the listener, and although her eighth Doctor / Paul McGann voice is fine, Andrew takes the Doctor off-stage and centres the action on Lucie and a young boy she finds herself having to protect from gangster assassins. The tale is told in the first person, and by putting Lucie in sole charge of the boy, the story gives Lucie something very new to do and at the end gives her plenty to do as the killers close in their target. For a short (just over thirty minutes) story, there’s plenty of interest both in location and backstory, and it comes together well, reminding us just how much we miss Lucie.
It’s interesting having Lucie be entirely self-sufficient, and not need to refer to the Doctor when the stakes are as simple as survival. Lucie becomes action hero, but not so much as to make her unidentifiable as the Lucie Bleedin’ Miller we all admire. While we missed out on the interactions with the Doctor in this story, the change to see Lucie in very different circumstances more than makes up for it.
There’s no news on any future return for Lucie – Sheridan Smith is fiendishly busy, despite her love for the show, but at least fans now have another great story to add to the tales that were responsible for bringing Big Finish to the attention of many listeners (including this reviewer).
Once again producer Ian Atkins gives the Short Trips series a story to remember, and the series continues to innovate.