Doctor Who The Witch From The Well Review

By Will Barber

Mary Shelley “Please excuse The Doctor, he often gabbles, thus.”

The Doctor and his latest travelling companion, Mary Shelley arrive in England during the 21st Century. They find twins escaping from a witch that has just appeared from a well. Deducing that the Witch comes from the 16th Century, The Doctor, Mary and the twins travel back to try and discover why the witch is so angry and where she comes from. Whilst Mary discovers things about her future, The Doctor goes head to head with the Witch Pricker.

The Witch from the Well” begins wonderfully with the opening of an old well that is hundreds of years old; when something bursts out of it to claim its victims, we know the excitement has begun. From that point on, we are looking at a fantastic, fast paced story with an excellent cast.  The twists in this story are deliciously devious and cunning; for instance, the slow realisation that the twins (Finicia and Lucren as played by Alix Wilton Regan and Kevin Trainor respectively.) are not all what they seem leads us into the cliff-hanger of Part One.

Tension builds up throughout the story until The Doctor is nearly burnt at the stake. Though often used, the plotline of separating The Doctor from his companion is utilised wonderfully here and helps reinforce the greatness of the character of Mary Shelley.  After all, we must not forget that she is the mother of Science Fiction.

Julia Cox realistically portrays Mary Shelley. Indeed from her first appearance, to the final scene Cox makes sure we believe the person we are listening to is Shelley. Cox works particularly well in the scenes with Alesiter Portillion (played wonderfully by Andrew Havill.), who is a fan of Byron.  The idea of a Byron scholar and Mary Shelley in a story with a witch seems so absurd that is adds to the charm of the story. However, none of the cast tries to ham it up; they are all serious and believable. My only criticism and this is not to do with Cox’s acting but the writing; I feel that Shelley would have stood up to the alien twins more. We could argue that her behaviour depicted a new companion from another time, however, I feel that the author, Rick Briggs was trying to keep Mary in the normal companion realms whereas Mary Shelley is definitely not an ordinary companion of The Doctor.

“The Witch From The Well” is an excellent Big Finish story and showcases the brilliant combination of the Eighth Doctor and Mary Shelley. Although there is the odd fault, “The Witch From The Well” is one of the best Big Finish audios of recent times.

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