June 7, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Doctor Who “The Sacrifice Of Jo Grant”

Jo Grant and Kate Stewart deal with a time anomaly 40 years in the past...with the Third Doctor!

So, I noticed that Big Finish, when doing new adventures for the First or Second Doctor (since those actors are deceased) just uses some of their former co-stars to play the Doctors.  Heck, Frazer Hines’s take on Patrick Troughton’s Doctor is pretty darn good.  But for the Third Doctor?  Well, they got an actor named Tim Treloar.  I don’t really know anything about him, but I wasn’t sure what actors still alive from the Jon Pertwee era could pull off a good impersonation.  Maybe Pertwee’s son Sean, but he seems to have a pretty good career going that might make him too busy to do this sort of thing.

Oh, but it turns out Treloar sounds exactly like Jon Pertwee in so many ways, both in tone and voice as well as nailing the Third Doctor’s personality in this next “Legacy of Time” story, that I might not have been able to tell the difference if I didn’t know Pertwee died decades ago.

Anyway, more time shenanigans.  UNIT gets a call in the present to deal with an anomaly that seems to act as a one-way door for different people, and it goes both ways.  The same anomaly hit the same village forty years earlier, and the mission report didn’t really get filed right.  The Doctor oh-so-rarely did things the way he was supposed to.  But there was a witness from the Counter-Measures group–yes, them again–and said witness said that Jo Grant died on that mission.

Small problem:  Jo Grant is alive and well forty years later and swears she wasn’t there.  She’s mostly been taking UNIT scientist Osgood out to make sure that woman has a good time, but when Kate Stewart calls both over to help, there’s no real explanation how Jo could have died when she wasn’t even there.

Look, there’s time travel involved and a one-way tunnel, and actress Katy Manning has actually aged pretty well given how much time has passed.  Of course she and Kate fall into the portal and pop up 40 years earlier and find the Third Doctor.  The Doctor doesn’t even seem to realize she’s a lot older looking now, but this is a more mature and experienced Jo Grant, someone who knows a thing or two beyond the clumsy young gal she was when she first met the Doctor.

In many ways, this story is a love letter to the character of Jo Grant.  She did have a special bond with the Doctor, and a Jo that picked up some of the scientific concepts the Doctor was tossing around and even at one point some of his martial arts while reminding the Doctor about his special place in the world did more to remind me of Jo’s special place as a character, one who will take Osgood to a water park and encourage Kate to call in a status report to her father without identifying herself because you only live once.

That’s pretty much Kate’s big thing:  will she talk to the Brigadier on the radio?  Yes, and he’ll answer, unaware of who she is, but the Doctor does figure it out on his own without trying very hard.  He is one of the more observant Doctors, unafraid to show how smart he is at all times.

Regardless, someone will need to go into the anomaly to close it down, and Jo believes it needs to be her because, you know, it already happened.  That involves shoving Kate aside and karate chopping the Doctor, but it does get Kate home and Jo stuck in limbo.  It also gives the Doctor forty years to figure out a way to get her out, so she wasn’t really dead.

No, the only real problem is when Kate was in the past, she seemed to get Osgood in the present on her radio to the Doctor’s initial delight.  But then it turns out it wasn’t really Osgood on the radio, just someone explaining things that made life worse for the UNIT team in the present.

Someone might want to look into that.

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