What happened to Leela? That’s a major question in Doctor Who spin-off Gallifrey: Time War that Mother Tongue finally answers.
The first volume of Gallifrey: Time War established the new era of the long-running Doctor Who spin-off in a big way. Several major characters were written out of the series in particularly dramatic ways. One of which was Leela, who was jettisoned into the time vortex by the Master. We never knew what happened to her. Until now.
Mother Tongue is a huge story. Not just for this box set, or even for Gallifrey, but for Leela, too. Not only do we find out exactly how she survived her fate. But we also find out what she’s like as a mother. As a result, this episode explores a side to Leela that we have never seen before, not in Gallifrey or in any other series.
What really helps to draw us into the episode is how both the audience and Leela herself are given snapshots of her life with her son, Sholan. So as she learns about her life on this world and the son she barely knows, we also become more emotionally invested, too. Which allows the story to deliver some truly gut-wrenching moments…
Photo: (L to R) Maxine Evans (Renucha), Sam Hallion (Sholan), Louise Jameson (Leela), Will Kirk (Kraumer) and Sarah Douglas (Drah) star in Mother Tongue.
Image Courtesy Big Finish Productions
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A compelling performance
The story that Mother Tongue explores is a dark one, but writer Helen Goldwyn handles it brilliantly. This is the first time she’s written for Gallifrey, but the episode she gives us is both bold and powerful. There are some moments that are difficult to listen to in the best possible sense, and Goldwyn goes further than a lot of writers would dare to.
On top of that, we get a brilliant performance from Louise Jameson. She’s been playing Leela for over four decades, and knows the character both inside and out. In this episode, she portrays both the strongest and most vulnerable aspects of the character, and gives us one of her best performances in the role.
Mother Tongue is another fantastic episode of Gallifrey, and a wonderful piece of drama in its own right. A deeper look at a major character in the Doctor Who universe, it’s probably one of Gallifrey‘s most emotional episodes. After a gap of two years, Leela’s return has definitely been worth the wait.
Are you glad that Leela has finally returned in Gallifrey? Are you a fan of the former companion? What’s your favorite performance from Louise Jameson in the role? Let us know in the comments below.