Review by Doctor Squee (Host of Gallifrey Stands Podcast)
As this is my first review of an ‘early adventure’; I’ll talk briefly about this range.
It’s been really good to see classic doctors revived and companions brought back in the ‘early adventures’. There were some really nice companion chronicles, but Big Finish doing full cast audio adventures have slightly ruined me for narration when we can hear a story with a full cast acting it out. These early adventures are mostly acted out with a full cast, with occasional narration to set the scene. The companions like Frazer Hines as the Second Doctor and William Russell as the First do such a good job you feel like they are there and I’m really glad they made the brave decision to do early Doctors replacing the actors we miss so much.
With this adventure specifically I was aware of how much William Russell’s first doctor voice has got only better and he seems to put on a specific intonation to his role as Ian Chesterton. I don’t think I am doing him a disservice to say his voice has aged but he does enough to put on a voice to differentiate his First Doctor from Ian.
The story itself is an interesting one; two races fighting on space ships which we find out actually have a shared heritage of sorts (I wont explain further as there as some really good plot twists I don’t want to spoil). The doctor & his companions (great surprise) get embroiled in events!
The story-telling is a little slower and more wordy in some places which is reminiscent of early Doctor Who but with the back drop of space battles on star ships they can inject action where it is needed. It’s really nice to get a feeling of a classic Hartnell adventure. I think if they did forego the narration in exchange for a little subtly placed exposition then this would make it a bit more of a smooth listen and keep up the pace where it needs to be pacey. But all told this is a really good mix of classic Doctor Who and Big Finish’s modern take on the early days of the show.
With Carol Ann Ford (Susan) and William Russel’s great performances in their original roles, they very quickly shed the years and you forget they aren’t the ages they were when they originally played the parts and Jemma Powell does a really great job as Barbara. Amongst the guest cast I would also give props to Rachel Atkins as Mayla who in some scenes really steals the show and Tom Bell as Arran / Shift.
I give this one 6.5/10 sonics.