Find and Replace
Written by Paul Magrs
Released on September, 2010
Having returned to London for Christmas shopping, Jo Jones is reliving the past in a way. When she is confronted by an aggressive and strange man named Huxley who informs her that everything she knows is wrong. Thinking that he is pressing her for information on the Doctor whom she had worked with in the 1970’s, she is surprised when it becomes clear that this is not the case. He weaves a tale of her life involving a time and space traveling adventurer Iris Wildthyme and The Ministry for Alien Incursions and Ontological Wonders or MIAOW. Not sure what to believe she is taken to the basement of the department store and bundled into a double decker bus that seems smaller on the inside than out, and comes face to face with the adventuress herself, a being dressed in mismatched cloths and seemingly in a perpetual state of drunkenness, Iris Wildthyme.
Huxley is a noveliser from Verbatim Six and narrates his subject’s life for them as he studies and absorbs their history. He is obsessed with each character he meets but dreams of finding his ideal subject, the Doctor. Following a trail to Jo Grant, he disentangles a series of lies and half-truths until he is face to face with the man who has seen so much of time and space, the Doctor himself. But by then, Jo Grant has realized how much she has missed him and how badly she wants to be back in that time with him. But you never can go back, they say, don’t they?
Find and Replace is a really fun adventure that not only features a breathtaking double performance of Katy Manning as Jo Grant and Iris Wildthyme, but also serves as a loving return to era of the Third Doctor those many years past. When Manning takes on her third role of the Doctor as played by Jon Pertwee there is so much tenderness in her voice that it crushes you with its adoration. It’s like being picked up in a massive bear hug from the past of Pertwee’s performance and you don’t want it to let go. Manning herself said that she teared up a bit when she read the meeting between old Jo Grant and the Doctor and she clearly injected those emotions into the performance.
Paul Magrs’s Iris Wildthyme is an absolutely hilarious creation who has strangely only been featured in a handful of the Doctor Who Big Finish audios (such as the amazing Wormery, a story I haven’t reviewed yet because I want to keep relistening to it for ‘research’). Claiming to have known the Doctor for ages, she is not a Time Lord (or Lady) but has hauntingly similar adventures to the Doctor. She has fought several classic monsters such as the Voord and the Quarks in a dark dimension with the assistance of seven of her other incarnations in game of backgammon. It’s all mad.
The clever twists ad turns of Find and Replace are superb but it is the emotional pull of nostalgia that makes it such a good listen. When Jo pleads with the Doctor to let her just stay on with him in the past for a little longer, she’s not alone. There are so many more stories to tell in that era and the fondness for the dandy Doctor can be felt throughout this tale.
Doctor Who – Find and Replace can be ordered from The Book Depository with free shipping worldwide by clicking on the link below: