Doctor Who: Redacted episode two grows strength on strength with a character-first story written by award-winning author Juno Dawson.
Doctor Who: Redacted episode two triumphs at maintaining the excitement and energy of its introduction, spending more time expanding on our lead trio of characters.
Resulting in an emphasis on empathy, writer Juno Dawson, and co-directors Ella Watts, and James Robinson spend Doctor Who Redacted episode two building on the relationships of our cast, in particular Cleo Proctor (Charlie Craggs) and her relationship with brother Jordan (Jacob Hawley), and their transphobic, unsupportive mother.
Again, as I mentioned in its launch episode, the love for the show is evident as Dawson’s care and attention to detail add physicality to the audio performances.
Tieing together episodes of old, and spin-off shows is no easy feat for a Sunday night episode of Doctor Who, yet with Dawson’s flair for writing, she makes the whole affair look easy.
With the redaction of the Doctor taking place across time and space, causing those who have ever come in contact to vanish, our protagonists have to decipher the truths from fragmented memories and distorted opinions.
Reintroducing both Rani Chandra (Anjli Mohindra), who previously appeared in The Sarah Jane Adventures, and Dr Oliver Morgenstern (Kieran Hodgson), from a one-off-episode Smith and Jones back in series 2, they provide further explanation to the characters, albeit one that clearly shows the power of redaction in the case of Dr Morgenstern.
“Babe, I turned myself into a woman from scratch, what do you think?”
However, what makes this episode sing is its truthful depiction of being a trans woman.
The moments in between drama, exhilaration and a universal threat are the ones that I will joyfully recall when I describe the story to others.
As mentioned previously, both Craggs and Dawson are trans women, so their true and honest capturing of experiences is what I believe adds an additional layer of truth to the delivery of the story.
Further, with wider debates about transgender representation within the industry, about whether a cis-gendered individual can play a transgendered character, such as Eddie Redmayne in the Danish Girl, for which he has since later apologised, or Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club.
It is wholeheartedly assuring to see truth mirrored across Dawson’s writing and Craggs’ performance.
For instance, in episode two, when questioned by Rani about whether Cleo would be open to being susceptible to asking questions, and searching for the truth, the snappy response of “Babe, I turned myself into a woman from scratch, what do you think?” proves just how strong-willed this character has been built to be.
The show is, in essence, fun.
It reminds me of the exact joy that exceptional Doctor Who storytelling can bring.
The flair for making the show a character-driven piece, rather than one inundated with jargon, sound effects and quirky soundbites excels the episode, and the series as a whole to one of greatness.
Even without visuals, the show achieves more in its short runtime than some high budget productions that have aired over the years, making it a testament to the cast and crew’s entire talent.
Doctor Who: Redacted episode two is available to listen to now exclusively on BBC Sounds.
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