Producer Ian Atkins;Script Editor Ian Atkins
Written By: Rob Nisbet; Directed By: Lisa Bowerman
Sarah Sutton (Narrator)
In this, the latest installment in Big Finish's Short Trips series we catch up with Nyssa, who is now the controller of a hospital ship - the Traken (yes, there is even an Adric ward!). The Traken is assisting on the planet Reave, a planet close to Gallefrey, and a place where the shadow of the Time War is encroaching. The Time Lords have a bad name on Reave, and are seen as terrorists. When Nyssa's assistant, Doctor Foster is exposed as a Time Lord after being exposed to Praxis gas, things get a little heated.....
A Heart On Both Sides is a good old fashioned Who -dunnit, and at the same time quite a bit of a nostalgia-fest.The story is read by Sarah Sutton (Nyssa) who does a fantastic job - possibly the best that I have heard from this range, she really throws herself into the narration. The plot pairs her with an undercover eighth Doctor (something that is rather heart-breakingly only revealed to the audience, not to Nyssa) The Doctor here is only known to Nyssa as Doctor Foster, who originates from Gloster, an asteroid medical academy that suffers very heavy rainfall and lots of puddles (yes, I know....).
Of course, we know that Dr Foster is our Doctor a long time before the reveal. The Doctor has been following Nyssa's progress closely over the years and is obviously very fond of her. He is here because he has heard a rumour of the Traken's destruction, and wanted to try to make this less likely. Other characters of note in this story are Isherwood, a hardened Reaven with a bitter hatred of Time Lords, and the Sisters, who are logical, robot nurses.
There is a nice twist at the end, when the Doctor works out who is really behind the attack, and yes, it does get a little predictable, and the villain a tad too moustache twirling - but it really doesn't matter as A Heart On Both Sides really is joy to listen to, and is well worth thirty-odd minutes of your time. It probably helps this story immensely though that Nyssa hails from my favourite era.