“The First Wave” is a Doctor Who audio drama from Big Finish Productions and is an episode from Companion Chronicles range. Simon Guerrier completes the trilogy of adventures which featured an original companions named Oliver Harper. Peter Purves returns as Steven Taylor and narrator. His impression of the late William Hartnell as the First Doctor is still quite convincing. He doesn’t pull off a perfect impersonation, but it’s still serves the purpose quite nicely. Tom Allen returns to conclude his run as Oliver Harper that follows up “The Perpetual Bond” and “The Cold Equations”. A couple of extra performances are added with the talents of Alex Mallinson and Lisa Bowerman. Bowerman is also the director of this and many of the Companion Chronicles range. She is quite a consistent contributor to Big Finish plays as both director and actress, most notably as Professor Bernice Summerfield for the past two decades.
The Doctor, Steven, and Oliver arrive on a planetoid known as Grace Alone to find out why they would be wanted for crimes they didn’t commit which would lead to their deaths. They find a murdered crew and a race known as the Vardans waiting for them. The Vardans had been seen before in a Fourth Doctor television serial called “The Invasion of Time”. The Vardans are a race that exist within radio waves.
It took this one until the second part to draw me in for some reason. I ended up liking this one very much in spite of a bit of a slow start. It is one of those episodes where much of it seems to be done in flashback. I actually found the whole trio of stories with Oliver to be quite creative. Purves really consistently puts in a compelling performance. He is another actor for Big Finish who is almost 80 years old and manages to keep a strong, youthful voice.
I am not a fan who thinks a whole lot of the Vardans as adversaries for the Doctor, but I thought they were appropriately menacing in this one. I would not mind them making further appearances, but I don’t want to hear them too often.
The episode turns out quite well overall, especially with a very interesting and moving epilogue scene at the very end.