The ‘N’ is this case stands for Norway, complete with all the ‘fiddly bits.’ Or it could be an oblique reference to Full Circle, State of Decay, and Warrior’s Gate. All in the name of constituent service.
No sooner had the Tour lamented for stories with higher attached stakes not only for the Time Team but for the universe itself when we were bestowed with a story which attempted to address the scale of the drama. There are certainly similarities between It Takes You Away and the aforementioned E-space trilogy from near the end of the Tom Baker run in the form of a pocket universe. The gateway comes in the form of a mirror (instead of a literal arched gateway) and the corridor between universes is a scraggly carnivorous cave, but that’s really where the commonalities end.
It’s in the mirrorverse that It Takes You Away returns to Series 11 form and allows the Tour’s personal MVP for this season Bradley Walsh to shine. While Jodie Whittaker is off doing her thing quite well, Walsh has been laying back and Graham, and the perspective of an older companion, is just a joy to watch. In keeping with his character who is a cancer survivor, Graham is using the distraction of his TARDIS travels to take in the much wider universe with wry observational humor.
But given the second chance the mirrorverse provides to reunite with Grace, all of those feelings he had been able to mostly set aside come flooding back across Grahams face. It’s a powerful performance, and a reminder that in story terms having an older companion with his or her own life experience can be a great counterweight to the Doctor, and one which the program has used far too infrequently.
Okay, so there was a talking frog. It’ll probably stand-out as the single most head-scratching choice of the Series, but then again it has been done before.