Doctor Who review: Bernice Summerfield: Have I Told You Lately? is a nice three-hander

The Doctor and Bernice are separated on a silent spaceship, with only one other voice to help them in the opening episode of Doctor Who: The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield: Lost in Translation.

The sixth series of Doctor WhoThe New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield begins with an excellent little drama for Bernice and the Doctor. Arriving on a mysteriously silent spaceship, the two get separated extremely quickly. The only way they can help each other is through a speaker – a speaker that very quickly starts to learn…

Generally speaking, you know you’re going to get a good slice of drama when you see a script written by Tim Foley, and this is no exception. Foley’s first script for Bernice and the Unbound Doctor lives up to expectations. He doesn’t overwhelm the story with too much much plot or too many characters. In fact, aside from the two regulars of Lisa Bowerman as Bernice and David Warner as the Doctor, the only other cast member in this story is Misha Butler as the Speaker.

The Speaker is a rather interesting character in itself. Without giving too much away, it’s something that’s very different from the usual computerized assistance. Its scenes with both Bernice and the Doctor are equally important, and we see it gradually become something rather more than just another AI voice. Butler is great in this role, never putting in too much too soon, but also making sure that it doesn’t become too static, either.

Doctor Who

(L to R) David Warner, Lisa Bowerman, Misha Butler. feature in this episode.
Doctor Who: The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield Volume 6. Image courtesy Big Finish Productions

Exploring the Doctor and Benny

Along with the Speaker, Foley also makes sure to handle each of the regular two characters just right, too. Separating them at the start is definitely a smart move. It allows us to see the strengths of both Bernice and the Doctor as individuals, and we’re reminded of just how intelligent each of them really is.

More than that, Foley also makes sure to explore ongoing tensions between the two, as well. The Doctor has been in a mood lately, and Bernice doesn’t know why. It’s made things rather difficult for both of them. Have I Told You Lately? explores those tensions in an interesting way, and reminds us just how alien this Doctor is to our universe. He doesn’t really belong here, and it’s getting to him. Can he find a way to fit in, or will it eventually become too much for both him and his friendship with Bernice?

It all leads to a rather heartbreaking ending with a real emotional punch. It’s a memorable way to round off a fantastic three-hander, and once again shows why Tim Foley is one of the greats when it comes to writing audio drama.

Do you enjoy a story with a small cast? Are you glad to hear more from both Bernice Summerfield and David Warner’s Doctor? Let us know in the comments below.