Doctor Who: Back to Earth – Station to Station & The False Dimitry Review

Ignoring the obvious joke about having a boxset titled “Back to Earth” when most of the Ninth Doctor’s audio run so far has been entirely set ON Earth (including the previous two-part finale) let’s take a look at the first two stories of Mr. Eccleston’s second audio drama run, shall we?

Station to Station has some fun ideas and a strong central performance by new one-off companion Saffron (Indigo Griffiths) but also has a really unoriginal central villain that was kind of annoying. Basically Saffron is on a train that ends up slipping into a crack in time and she becomes stranded in a eerie train station and starts getting hunted by a nursey rhyme singing creature calling itself the “Grimminy-Grew” (Ian Bartholomew) and while running away from it she runs into The Doctor (Christopher Eccleston), who had accidentally steered the TARDIS into the same in-between place.

The Doctor and Saffron have great chemistry so it’s a shame that the Grimminy-Grew is so boring as a villain, the creepy rhyming really doesn’t do anything for me. Still, it’s a good hour’s entertainment in spite of that, especially as they begin to meet other stranded travellers from across time.

A very purple cover! I like the design of “Grimminy-Grew”, which is a shame really…

The False Dimitry was a little less interesting, though I did enjoy exploring the period of history the story is set in as I hadn’t ever really looked into it. It’s set in 1605 Moscow, where the Tsar has been killed mysteriously and a man named Dimitry (Alexander Arnold), who had been heralded as the true heir to the crown but had supposedly been killed as a child, returns to take his rightful place. Of course this being Doctor Who this “false Dimitry” is actually under the control of an alien presence that wishes to takeover Russia and then eventually the whole world with its robot army, so only mildly different from reality.

The Doctor teams up with the actual Dimitry’s old handmaiden Oksana (Katy Brittain) and Captain Mikhail (John Banks), who ends up being an old friend of the man who is being controlled and presented as Dimitry. It’s a fun enough set up but I will say I wasn’t as heavily invested in this story, and frankly the one before it is good and the one after it is excellent (stay tuned for that!) so it makes this feel even more… plain. I guess “harmless filler” is the best way to put it, it doesn’t do anything wrong but it doesn’t exactly stand out in the memory. Looking into it there were several false Dimitrys in actual history, it was really interesting to read about actually, so that’s an added bonus, I guess?

The Continuity:

Full credit for making new CG robots, but sadly they do look a tad… generic.

Not a great deal, the Grimminy-Grew reads The Doctor’s mind and tries to guess his name as “Brother Lungbarrow”, “The Oncoming Storm” and “Theta Sigma”, all of which come from different parts of Doctor Who’s past, specifically the Seventh Doctor novel “Lungbarrow”, the Ninth Doctor TV story “Bad Wolf / The Parting of the Ways” and Fourth Doctor TV story “The Armageddon Factor”, respectively.

Other than that though, there isn’t much to talk about…

Overall Thoughts:

The overall box cover, bringing together all the new bits of artwork created for the individual covers.

Station to Station is a fun and atmospheric story with a good companion-Doctor relationship but sadly an annoying and rather dull antagonist knocks it down a notch, whereas The False Dimitry is just sort of plain throughout its whole runtime, not offensive but not particularly standing out either. To be fair to Station to Station I’ll give it a split score…

Station to Station:

The False Dimitry:

Not a lot to add that’s really important enough to talk about. Grimminy-Grew (and boy am I fed up of writing that already!) is defeated by the Rumpelstiltskin method of naming the creature having power of it, and the False Dimitry fights back against its programming at the cost of his life, much to the dismay of his friend and possible once-lover Captain Mikhail.

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