“The Anachronauts” is a Doctor Who audio play written by Simon Guerrier and is released by Big Finish Productions. Peter Purves and Jean Marsh share the presentation of this installment in the Companion Chronicles range. This takes place during the period when the First Doctor was traveling with Steven Taylor and Sara Kingdom as they try to elude the Daleks.
The TARDIS collides with another time vessel leaving both parties waking up on a desert island. They are then menaced by an entity known as a Time Sprite. As they learn the truth about their predicament, Sara and Steven find themselves in Berlin during the Cold War. In fact, they have to determine if they are in fact where they seem. The Doctor has also disappeared and is not able to be of much help for a time.
There are some very interesting ideas explored here. This is probably a bit more convoluted than what the television writers explored when William Hartnell played the Doctor. Purves and Marsh are both compelling performers. Purves continues to do well with his rendition of William Hartnell’s portrayal of the Doctor. He admits that it is not a perfect imitation, but he somehow manages to capture the flavor of the First Doctor quite nicely.
Guerrier also explores what could have been in the relationship between Steven and Sara. Sara meets a tragic fate during the television serial “The Dalek Master Plan”. Big Finish has managed to create new adventures with Sara before her death. Fortunately, the actress who played is still very much alive. Marsh can’t quite bring out the voice of her younger self, however she still does well enough. I can live with quite a lot if there are still new adventures with the earlier Doctors in some form.
I think this was one of the more unique and complicated storylines for the First Doctor, and the experience was enhanced by solid performances of both Purves and Marsh. The sound effects were quite effective as expected. That is especially true for when the Time Sprite made an appearance.
I would recommend for this particular Big Finish episode to not be overlooked.