Reviewed By: thisoldcan
Review Date: 6/9/17 8:31 pm
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In Falling, the latest Short Trips story read by Anneke Wills, Polly Wright is moving from her home of many years. But as she stands in the place she's called home for one final morning, a single green feather appears, snapping Polly back many years to when she traveled with a mysterious man called the Doctor and Ben Jackson. What is the connection between these two events, and why is this mystery coming to a close now? Falling, appropriately titled, is set just before the original fall of the Doctor in The Tenth Planet, and features a more direct reference to the events of the episode. Beyond that, there's not much involved in this story. It's a very simple, very short story, meant as an interlude before The Tenth Planet, and doesn't add much beyond that. Well-read by Wills, who does an excellent job distinguishing the four voices of the set, the story, by Jonathan Barnes, doesn't amount to much more than a prequel to the story.
Anneke Wills, who played Polly Wright alongside the First and Second Doctors, narrates this story. In a departure from the previous couple of Short Trips stories, this story once again features the narrator simply reading a story, rather than acting the story out. I like the other format a bit more, but the format here is enjoyable enough, given that Wills is excellent as a narrator. Wills impresses here with her excellent, distinguishing impressions of all four characters; she obviously can't recreate the voices perfectly, but the voices she affects for each character feel unique and distinct. That's the most I can ask for in a story, that the actor is able to make each character sound different enough. Mixed together with Wills' excellent, steady narration, the voice work for this script is excellent.
The same can't be said for Jonathan Barnes' story though, which acts as little more than a prequel for The Tenth Planet. The story ends with several references by the "Angel" to the Doctor being on his last legs, and him clinging to his current body, but the references don't stop there. Polly walks into the TARDIS console room and notes that the Doctor seems frail and older, while Ben and Polly seem surprised that the Doctor is as spry as he is throughout parts of the story. The references to the Doctor's end are the most enjoyable part of the story in my opinion. However, beyond that... the story really doesn't do much. A downed ship, the Doctor, Polly, and Ben encountering an "angel"-like alien, and a confrontation with said alien, and then... that's it. Polly snaps back to reality, and nothing else really happens. It's a story that almost demands a sequel in the end, but if this is it, it really seems like Barnes was trying to make a "choose your own ending" story, that really didn't lead to anything other than a small prequel to The Tenth Planet.
Overall, Falling is a fluffy little story. With some excellent reading by Anneke Wills, who does an excellent job distinguishing each character, the reading of the story itself was strong. But the writing of the story, by Jonathan Barnes, is shallow, coming off as nothing more than a prequel to The Tenth Planet. If this story has a sequel somewhere (in The Early Adventures or in a future Short Trips release), it will make more sense to end the story here. But as it stands, this really feels like an incomplete on it's own, at best, and at worst, is the scraps from the cutting room floor for The Tenth Planet.