Mary's Story was the fourth story in the audio anthology, The Company of Friends, which comprised the one hundred and twenty-third release in Big Finish's monthly range. It was written by Jonathan Morris and featured Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor and Julie Cox as Mary Shelley.
It was the fruition of a nearly decade-long gag that had been running through the Eighth Doctor's audio adventures. Since his first such adventure, Storm Warning, he had been dropping hints of a friendship with Shelley, but that relationship had never been depicted until this story.
In October 2011, to tie in with a new series of audio dramas featuring Mary as a companion, Big Finish released Mary's Story as a standalone download.
This story is notable for the fact that the Eighth Doctor acknowledges comics, prose and audio continuities. As of 2019[update], it is the first and only story to explicitly and unambiguously combine the continuities of these three media.
Publisher's summary[edit | edit source]
Switzerland, 1816: at the Villa Diodati, Lord Byron's house guests tell each other tales to curdle the blood and quicken the beatings of the heart. With a monster on the loose outside, young Mary Shelley isn't short of inspiration.
Plot[edit | edit source]
Mary and Percy Shelley, Lord Byron, Mary's stepsister Claire Clairmont and Byron's physician John Polidori spend time at Villa Diodati near Lake Geneva in June 1816 when a strange sick man knocks at their door. He introduces himself as Dr Frankenstein, speaks incoherently and mysteriously and weaves in and out of consciousness. He seems to have recognised Mary and speaks of a volcano that is the cause of the Year without a Summer.
After being looked after for several days, he appears to have died. Percy suggests to repeat Galvani's experiment with electricity with his body. When the lightning strikes, the body returns to life in a monster-like way. The stranger runs into the forest before seriously harming anybody.
Mary follows him and finds him inside a strange blue hut that looks bigger on the inside but is as battered as the strange man himself. He explains that he is the Doctor and that he and his TARDIS are contaminated with vitreous time. The TARDIS brought him to this time and place remembering that he could be revived by the lightning. However, he has a connection to the TARDIS and neither can be cured without the other. The TARDIS has no power left, and he has sent a request for help.
He asks Mary to tie him up because he feels the monster taking over. But it is too late, and Mary runs back to the villa and barricades the door. While the monster is trying to get in, another similar blue hut appears outside the villa. The same person walks out of it, except he looks much better.
He hypnotises the monster and revitalises the other TARDIS using a power cell from his own TARDIS. He explains that he is a younger version of the same Doctor and is responding to the distress signal from a Time Lord in need of immediate assistance. When the TARDIS of the future Doctor returns to norm, so does the future Doctor himself.
The future Doctor departs, and the younger Doctor offers Mary to travel with him in his time machine. She agrees.
Cast[edit | edit source]
- The Doctor - Paul McGann
- Mary Shelley - Julie Cox
- Percy Shelley - Anthony Glennon
- Lord Byron - Robert Forknall
- John Polidori - Ian Hallard
- Claire Clairmont - Katrina Cooke
References[edit | edit source]
- The Doctor mentions some previous companions by the names of Todd and Rita.
- During their travels together, the Doctor and Mary met the Cybermen, the Axons and King Harold at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066.
- Lord Byron recites an excerpt from Christabel, a poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
- The Doctor recognises the year as being 1816 by observing the discolouration due to volcanic ash present in the upper atmosphere after the 1815 eruption of Tambora.
- When the Doctor appears to have died, the initial suggestion is to arrange a funeral in Cologne.
- The Doctor remembers seeing similar blood-red sunsets on Joe Turner's paintings.
- Percy Shelley recalls Galvani's experiments with electromagnetism on frogs.
- The Doctor and his TARDIS were infected with vitreous time during a temporal storm. Apart from causing significant physical discomfort, it inhibits regeneration.
- The Doctor mentions that John Polidori will write The Vampyre.
- When Mary was 16, Percy abandoned his wife and child to be with her.
- The older version of the Doctor mentions that the death of his younger version before reaching his position in the timeline would have disastrous consequences for the Web of Time.
Notes[edit | edit source]
- This story was recorded on 30 and 31 October 2008 at The Moat Studios.
- The writer of the story, Jonathan Morris, described it as "Byronic Doctor meets Lord Byron."
- The beginning of the story features several quotes or close paraphrases from Mary Shelley's introduction to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein.
Continuity[edit | edit source]
- The Doctor explains that he is currently travelling with Samson and Gemma Griffin, and has dropped them off in Vienna, and will pick them up later. (AUDIO: Terror Firma)
- During the events of the story, Mary is 18 years old. (AUDIO: The Silver Turk)
- Mary knows that Lord Byron impregnated her stepsister Claire Clairmont, but does not know that weeks before leaving for Switzerland, he abandoned his wife Annabella and daughter Ada. (AUDIO: The Witch from the Well)
- The future Doctor's TARDIS regenerates with the help of the present Doctor. It would later do so again in the aftermath of his regeneration into his eleventh incarnation. (TV: The Eleventh Hour)
- The small green crystal the Doctor uses to regenerate the TARDIS is similar in description to the one used in TV: Rise of the Cybermen.
- The future Doctor recalls that he and Mary encountered the Cybermen in Vienna on 11 September 1873. (AUDIO: The Silver Turk)
- The future Doctor claims that he and Mary had met Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066. The First Doctor and his companions Vicki Pallister and Steven Taylor thwarted a plot by the Doctor's fellow renegade Time Lord, the Monk, to change the outcome of the battle in the Saxons' favour by thwarting an invasion of northern England by the Vikings. (TV: The Time Meddler) Furthermore, during his sixth incarnation, he and Peri Brown met Harold who was operating under the alias of "Hereward the Wake" in the aftermath of the battle. (PROSE: The Real Hereward)
- The future Doctor recalls his former companions Gemma, (AUDIO: Terror Firma) Charley, (AUDIO: Storm Warning) Ssard, (COMIC: Descendance) Compassion, (PROSE: Interference - Book One) Trix, (PROSE: Time Zero) Destrii, (COMIC: Ophidius) Lucie, (AUDIO: Blood of the Daleks) and his great-grandson Alex (AUDIO: An Earthly Child). Previously, the Doctor mentioned Gemma, Destrii and Compassion in half delirium.
- The Fifth Doctor previously expressed a desire to meet Mary's husband Percy Shelley. (AUDIO: Castle of Fear)
- During the experiment on the Doctor, Percy cries: "He's alive." During the regeneration of the Seventh Doctor into the Eighth, a morgue attendant was watching the episode of the 1931 film version of Frankenstein depicting the same experiment and featuring the cry "It's alive!" (TV: Doctor Who)