Doctor Who Audio Review: An Underwater Vacation For The Doctor

One Mile Down is a Doctor Who audio drama released by Big Finish productions and reunites David Tennant and Catherine Tate as the Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble, respectively.  Jenny T Colgan is the writer with Ken Bentley acting as director for this episode.  Nicholas Briggs shows that he can perform more than just as Daleks or Cybermen as he voices the often overly judicious Judoon.  The guest cast is also comprised of Eleanor Crooks, Rakie Ayola, Christopher Naylor, and Robert Whitelock.

Vallarasee is an underwater tourist spot which is protected by an airdome.  Unfortunately, it is the indigenous people who have to wear helmets to survive in their own city.  The Doctor and Donna arrive to check out the sites and are surprised to find Judoon being employed to keep order.  A dangerous act of sabotage has resulted in the ocean being brought down on thousands of visitors.

The banter between the Doctor and Donna is familiar yet still rather engaging.  When the catastrophe actually strikes, the performances and sound effects really set the tone here.  I rather like the idea of the Judoon because they are not necessarily evil or out for conquest.  Their very rigid adherence to rules and protocol often hamper the Doctor’s efforts to help, and Tennant performs that exasperation quite well.  Tate is also quite welcome here, although there is some gag with plastic shoes I found more distracting than amusing.

I found myself rather enjoying this release very much, especially during the second half.  Some of the social commentary about protecting the environment and respecting other cultures was a little overdone but not enough to turn me off much.  The outrage Tennant projects as the Doctor when he figures out how native people of Vallarasee were bamboozled by a corporate entity who actually coaxed them into wearing helmets to accommodate the human vacationers was pitched very convincingly.  Tennant was always pretty good at outrage, now than I think about it.

This is a pretty good episode with an intriguing setting.  Some of this has been experienced before in the series, but I thought Colgan’s writing and the cast’s performance were god enough for me to just shrug and go with it.

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