Reviewed By: thisoldcan
Review Date: 5/17/17 5:47 pm
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In the final story of the Ninth Doctor Chronicles, the Doctor and Rose visit the Powell Estate for a spot of laundry, only to find that Jackie Tyler (Camille Coduri) has become a successful entrepreneur. Selling the "Glubby Glub" to members of the Powell Estate, Jackie is trying her best to give Rose the life she deserves. But Jackie is unwittingly at the center of an alien invasion, and she's not having anything about the Doctor and Rose's concerns. Will the Doctor and Rose have to come into conflict with Jackie, or will Jackie snap out and realize what's going on? Retail Therapy, by James Goss, is a fun little story, and one that does a lot to give Coduri's Jackie depth. Featuring an excellent performance by Camille Coduri, and a solid script by James Goss, this final story ends up as the highlight of this set.
Camille Coduri is the real star of this story, once again portraying Jackie Tyler, mother of Rose. Coduri hasn't lost any of the charm that made her so fun in Series 1; hearing her in this story, it's as if she never even left the role. She's pitch perfect at all the right moments; she's unintentionally hilarious throughout, she's savage towards the Doctor, and most importantly, she knows how to command the scene and the attention. Her finest moment comes at the end, as she laughs at the idea that the Doctor took her "betrayal" seriously, and how she knew exactly what was going on throughout the story. Whether by nature of being with Coduri, or just comfort in the role, Briggs sounds most at home here in this story. Much of the load of this story was taken by his narration, rather than his impression of the Ninth Doctor, which helped him out immensely. Again, I'm consistently impressed that he's able to create a slew of guest characters, and make each of them sound and feel unique. While his Ninth Doctor impression was a consistent issue throughout, his other work, including his very assured narration, really highlighted these stories.
The plot of this final story has some similarities to Partners in Crime, but with some distinctive changes. James Goss does a really good job of putting this story together, mixing in an interesting plot with some excellent character work for Jackie. By far, the best part of this story was Goss' excellent work with the character of Jackie. In the original show, she's generally a bit of a vapid, shallow person who just wants some easy money and a husband. But in this audio, she's all that, but with an added depth. She's wary of the Doctor, and she desperately wants her daughter to end her association with him, because she's so worried for Rose. There's a lovely little scene where Jackie pulls the Doctor and Rose aside, and explains how she wants Rose to have the life that she deserves, not the life that the Doctor is giving to her. She also describes her fear every time she hears the grinding of the TARDIS, because she worries that it will be the Doctor coming to tell Jackie that Rose is gone, in a rather poignant moment. But the character work, while certainly the strongest part of the story, isn't the only good thing about this story. The plot itself, while a bit standard, was an interesting, fun premise, not least of all Jackie's revelation at the end that she knew what was going on the entire time, and she was doing it to try and get in with the Glubby Glub people. But more than that, the idea that Jackie was the villain of the story, ostensibly, was a fascinating choice, and made for a really interesting story in the end.
The last thing I'd like to make note of is the very slight soundtrack, done by Ioan Morris and Rhys Downing. It's not present throughout most of these stories, really only appearing in short little segments a few times throughout the story. It serves the purpose of these stories well, as it's not intrusive or anything, but I do wish that they'd been featured a little bit more. There was a lot of dead space throughout these stories, that a little bit of music could have enhanced just a bit.
Overall, the closing story of the Ninth Doctor Chronicles is a delight to listen to. Highlighted here is an excellent performance by Jackie Tyler who, through some excellent writing by James Goss, is able to give a strong, sensitive performance throughout, which stands as the highlight of this entire set. Even Briggs sounded better than he has in the previous three stories. Mixed together with a strong script from James Goss, this story really pops, and closes the set on a strong note.