Review: Doctor Who Early Adventures – The Outliers

Review by Doctor Squee (Host of Gallifrey Stands Podcast)

Anneke Wills (Polly, narrator) and Frazer Hines (Jamie, 2nd Doctor) lead the cast of this 2nd Doctor adventure.

In the distant future on an alien planet, people are going missing, but at a rate few know as statistics are altered. Why the deception? Who is taking people? And will the Doctor and his friends be the next to be taken?

There is actually so much more to this story, but it is one that to explain the plot really well would give the plot twists away.What I can say is this is a clever, multi-layered story from Simon Guerrier that pleases on ever level.

I love that at these Early adventures have gone on, the amount of cast used has become the same as other full cast Big Finish audios and it pays off nicely. I have said before that I prefer full cast to narrator driven. To my mind this again makes the case to do away with the narration altogether. Don’t get me wrong, Anneke Wills is as always fantastic with what she is given as a narrator; I just feel they have such a strong full cast that the few bits of narration that remain could easily be covered by a few well-placed lines. But this is just my personal taste.

The style of story is very clever too. You have something that feels in tone like an original second Doctor story. Guerrier even talks of colours and sets he envisages would have been used if this was on TV and how that influenced his writing when he is talking in the interview extras. But this also has some pleasing suspense, horror and modern high concept elements that are layered in. What you get as an result is a well-integrated hybrid of old and new Who.

The cast does a great job of summing up the time and the feel of the second Doctor team. Frazer Hines does a magical job as his uncanny version of the second Doctor; playing unreasonably well against himself as Jamie. Anneke Wills, as above does a great job with the narration and gets to play a little savvier version of Polly than she may have sometimes been given in the TV version; but it still feels like the same person. Add to this Elliot Chapman back as Ben and Debbie Chazen as Dr Goror and this is an amazing cast perfectly directed by Lisa Bowerman, who I had no surprise in reading was the director, as I’m a huge fan of hers behind and in front of the microphone.

The plot is consistent, but keeps evolving at a really nice pace. My only note to any listeners is that this is one where you really need to pay close attention all the way through as the story goes places; so if you don’t catch everything you could get lost easily on this one. I found myself skipping back a few times just to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

I give this release 9/10, a must for your 2nd Doctor collection!

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