BE WARNED- This Review contains mild spoilers!
An unexpected extra gift was delivered on Christmas Day when Big Finish released ‘The First Doctor Adventures Volume 1.’
After his recent performance in ‘Twice Upon a Time’, David Bradley is given a chance to go ‘full on’ Doctor, having his own adventures alongside the ‘Adventures in Space and Time’ trio; Claudia Grant (Susan), Jemma Powell (Barbara Wright), Jamie Glover (Ian Chesterton.) I’ll say from the off that the actors do a superb job of capturing the essence of the original cast. Understandably, some fans may be a little hesitant with the recasting, however, they should think of this as a new take and its one that really works.
The Destination Wars by Matt Fitton
The set kicks off with the team arriving in what appears to be gleaming utopia in the Space Year 2003. However, with news of its legendary inventor, things aren’t all they seem…
Writer Matt Fitton serves up a classic sci-fi story here, complete with hover cars, robots and aliens.
Additionally, Big Finish once again adds to the show’s mythology, with the introduction of the Master played by James Dreyfus. He delivers a performance akin to Roger Delgado; devilishly suave and cunning. In the same way, there appears to be a toned-down one-upmanship of wits, similar to most classic master/doctor relationships. There’s clearly still history between the pair even at the very early stage and I hope we hear more from him in the future.
The Great White Hurricane by Guy Adams
Doctor Who has changed a lot since the early days. It’s interesting to think that some episodes didn’t even feature an alien species, instead opting to educate the viewer about a real historical event. This story does just that, placing the Tardis team in 1888 New York. There they experience the tragedy of the great white hurricane, an event that I knew nothing about beforehand.
Snow falls reached up to 70 inches, Winds blew at more than 45 miles per hour, Railroads were shut down and houses were left without power for days. It seems like the group are out of their depth…. in more ways than one!
Despite being really action-packed, however, this story is as much about human relationships. Writer Guy Adams puts the characters in a perilous situation and tests how they would react, creating some really touching moments amongst the chaos.
The only slightly annoying aspect of this story for me was the OTT American accents. This coupled with the overly pristine tones of some of the main cast does start to grate after a while.
Overall, this set delivers on almost every level. Just like the series itself back then, each tale is split into multiple easy-to-digest episodes, capped off with cliff-hangers that leave you wanting more. These are tales that provide something new and exciting while still honouring and respecting the originals. Just brilliant! And it’s pleasing to see that there are more to come!
You can buy The First Doctor Adventures Volume 01 from Big Finish on Download and CD now.
1.1 The Destination Wars by Matt Fitton
The TARDIS arrives in a gleaming utopia in the Space Year 2003. Has the Doctor truly brought Ian and Barbara home, to glimpse their future?
The world owes much to its legendary Inventor, and Susan finds herself face to face with the great benefactor. But soon, the time travellers are in a world at war and the Doctor must confront his past.
1.2 The Great White Hurricane by Guy Adams
Rival gangs turn streets into battlegrounds, and the Doctor and his friends are caught in the crossfire. They find themselves separated and lost in the cold.
As the hunt for a fugitive turns ever more desperate, a blizzard descends. The snow keeps falling. And soon it will prove as deadly as any weapon…
Producer David Richardson
Script Editor John Dorney
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs
Written By: Matt Fitton, Guy Adams
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs
David Bradley (The Doctor), Claudia Grant (Susan), Jemma Powell (Barbara Wright), Jamie Glover (Ian Chesterton), James Dreyfus (The Master), Raymond Coulthard (Robac / Servers / Dalmari), Sian Reeves (Tanna), Deli Segal (Reena), Jackson Milner (Patrick), Cory English (Daniel), Carolina Valdes (Rosalita), Ronan Summers (O’Connell), Christopher Naylor (Policeman / Man with Ladder)