Review by Doctor Squee (Host of Gallifrey Stands Podcast)
David Bradley is back with the new first Doctor crew for 2 new adventures in time and space with a slightly 60’s sensibility.
The Invention of Death By John Dorney
The First Doctor attempts a temporal sling shot manoeuvre to take Ian (Jamie Glover) and Barbara (Jemma Powell) back home to 60’s Earth. They instead land on a new planet, unfamiliar with death and war. Sadly the Tardis crew soon teaches them these concepts, but can people who’ve never known death ever truly comprehend the idea before it’s too late?
This, much like the movie the Inventionc of Lying, is one of those concepts no one has ever thought of, but makes you wish you had and that some one already should have. It provides such great fodder for a Tardis crew who are from a time where the British Empire was still large in the minds of people. Ian’s well meaning arrogance that surely an English man can get this all sorted out with reason. Whereas writer Dorney can then show the First Doctor as the worldly traveller. Tapping into the side of the First Doctor when they had maybe softened the edges and had him really enjoying showing the universe to the others. Susan (Claudia Grant) and Barbara can then be the heart behind the adventure with Susan also asking a lot of the questions as the young student of both Earth and the Universe; keen to learn from everyone. This is another example of the pacing of the original early days of Who with a concept that they might not have explored back then. It also reminds us as a modern audience of the exploration of ideas that the more slower pace of a script of that time allowed for.
The Barbarians and the Samurai by Andrew Smith
Now we have had our futuristic tale, just like in the original Doctor Who shows, we have our historically based show. The Tardis crew find themselves in 19th century Japan where barbarian westerners are banned, women serve their men and different tribes battle to rule the land. And the Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan are caught in the middle of it all.
Andrew Smith is always great at these really thoughtful stories that take their time to deliver something great. The politics surrounding women’s rights in the 60s, when this adventure would have been filmed if a TV adventure, are just right for Susan and Barbra to be cheerleaders for female characters in this story to break free of their subservient roles and make a big difference. The way the dialogue tells the story of the time is very neatly done too. It feels like the way exposition would have been handled in First Doctor era, without getting in the way of the story. You do feel like you’ve learned something of this culture by the end. It’s also something Doctor Who has never tackled which is great. Also without giving anything away, the Doctor’s solution near the end feels very much what a character in a 60s drama would use.
This is another lovely set for this version of the First Doctor crew. As we hear in the extras this was recorded just after the first boxset, so I would still like in time to hear their voices settle in a little. Don’t get me wrong they do a wonderful job. They are doing versions of the voices, not impressions; which is important. But it can take a while of doing a voice to sound a little more natural, which I am sure they will get to. I certainly hope they will have lots of chance to practice. 9/10.
Buy these stories on CD or download here https://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/the-first-doctor-adventures-volume-02-1693