The Tenth Doctor Is Back…Sort Of…

“The Tenth Doctor Chronicles” is a Doctor Who audio boxset from Big Finish Productions. There are four stories in this collection featuring the Doctor’s tenth incarnation, however David Tennant is not in this one.  Tennant has done some Big Finish released, but not this one.  Instead, a young actor named Jacob Dudman takes on the role and the narration. Dudman is joined by just one other actor in each of these tales.  I might as well just say this was quite well done overall.

The director, Helen Goldwyn, is also the writer of the first entry, “The Taste of Death” in which the Doctor and Rose Tyler land on a resort planet where they encounter a familiar foe who have concocted a deadly recipe for the guests.  Arinze Kene is the guest actor who plays one of those unexpected allies of the Doctor’s and is looking for his lost brother. He was pretty good as well playing off Dudman’s version of the Tenth Doctor. This was a pretty decent story, although the familiar foe isn’t necessarily one of my personal favorites.

“Backtrack” is the second story presented by Matthew J. Elliot in which the Doctor and Martha Jones find a time ship that is doing more damage to Time than was intended. Big Finish voice veteran Jon Culshaw is on deck for this one.  I liked this one as well.  I don’t recall any performance from Culshaw hitting a sour note, and this one is no exception.

The one story that didn’t grab my attention was “Wild Pastures” by James Goss.  Jacqueline King reprises her role of Sylvia Noble as an alien presence invades the supposed serenity of a retirement community.  Goss is a pretty frequent contributor to the franchise with novels and audio dramas.  He is usually pretty good, but this one didn’t quite grab me as much as I would have liked.  There is nothing really awful about this story, but there was not much that stood out for me other than some occasional amusing banter between the Doctor and Sylvia.

“Last Chance” is the final story in this set.  Guy Adams brings back aristocratic thief, Lady Christina de Souza, back into the Tenth Doctor’s orbit as an alien hunter tries to collect the last of various species.  Michelle Ryan steps back into the role of Lady Christina with expected ease even after her debut in “Planet of the Dead” nine years ago.  This one was pretty interesting because there seemed to be a lot more exposition than I remember usually in these releases.  There is a pretty good whimsical tone struck here that is well played by Dudman’s delivery.  I liked that this would be placed toward the end of the Tenth Doctor’s life, however that aspect was mentioned only a couple of times briefly.

Dudman’s impression of David Tennant’s version of the Doctor is actually startlingly good.  He apparently is going to do the same with Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor.  Dudman also happens to be a very compelling narrator.  Tennant has already been on board the Big Finish train, however Smith has yet to be convinced.  Both of those actors have been quite busy since leaving the television series, however Dudman’s voice talents will serve as an acceptable substitute until both actors find the time and will to reprise their Doctors.  My enjoyment of the individual stories varied a bit, however the set as a whole is one not to overlook.

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