Kieran Brennan takes a look at the next adventure for the Eighth Doctor and Lucie: No More Lies!
A spaceship slowly falling apart, an upper class dinner party in the garden, and a hoard of vortisaurs? Is this a set of three different stories? No, it’s just your average entry into the Eighth Doctor Adventures!
Considering the hundreds, perhaps thousands of Doctor Who stories out there from TV episodes, to audio and books, a surprisingly small percentage of them are time loop stories. Yes, The Chimes of Midnight is maybe Big Finish’s most popular and well-regarded story and is of course a time loop story, but if anything the success of that story makes it feel all the more rare.
It’s a gimmick I’ve always been quite fond of, and No More Lies uses it well, with the inclusion of new elements adding something fresh, most notably the return of the Vortisaurs! Last seen way back in Minuet in Hell, they’re one of the rare examples of a returning element that originated from a Big Finish story. More than any Dalek or Cyberman story could, seeing these creatures back warms my heart for some reason. Maybe because it feels so natural, or maybe it’s because it harkens back to that first batch of McGann stories I first reviewed almost a year ago… either way it really is nice to see them back.
Starting what seems to be halfway through an adventure, in the middle of a chase, No More Lies is perhaps a little too disorienting. This kind of opening is off putting and genuinely had me struggling to pay attention for a minute or two as I found myself glossing over what was happening; it’s the type of opening to a story that can work quite well on TV but just doesn’t translate to audio well at all. Soon, however, the story begins to grab you and the remainder of the runtime is extremely well paced, with no idea or scene really outstaying its welcome at all. As this is the penultimate story in this series of adventures, Lucie and the Doctor take full advantage of their developed dynamic, being able to act as an anchor in what becomes one of the slightly more experimental releases of the range so far.
A fault though, and perhaps this is a fault more in the scheduling than the actual story, is just how similar it feels to Immortal Beloved from just a couple of stories earlier. Tonally, the stories bear a lot of similarities, something I wouldn’t mind had this been in a different series, but the two stories being so close together leads to some of No More Lies losing a bit of its impact, even if the story and concepts themselves are strong. So far, the Eighth Doctor Adventures have been champions of variety in terms of locations, tones and ideas, but this is the first hint that perhaps this range isn’t limitless. All of that being said, ultimately this is a nitpick that although jarring to me, feels unfair to truly critique the story for.
Yet another shockingly consistent entry for the Eighth Doctor Adventures range, No More Lies makes great use of its concept, bringing back returning elements from previous McGann stories in a fun and fresh way. With great performances as the absolute minimum standard of this range, it’s hard to think of a reason not to recommend this release.
No More Lies is available on CD or as a download from http://www.bigfinish.com