Doctor Who Audio Review: The Doctor On Guard

The Home Guard is a Doctor Who audio play written by Simon Guerrier and directed by Lisa Bowerman.  It is an episode from the range known as The Early Adventures.  Frazer Hines returns with his rendition of the Second Doctor, which continues to honor his late friend, Patrick Troughton.  Hines also return to the role of Jamie McCrimmon.  Anneke Wills reprises her role of Polly and serves as the sole narrator.  Elliot Chapman takes on the role initially played by the late Michael Craze, Able Seaman Ben Jackson.  It’s a small guest cast on this one which is comprised of James Dreyfus, Molly Hanson, and Brian Murphy.

Ben Jackson calls on his old friends, Polly and Jamie, who are now married in the midst of the Second World War.  They are all in service under the command of the mysterious Doctor.  Except, that’s not right.  Something has gone wrong with reality, and someone else emerges from the shadows.  He calls himself the Master and he will be obeyed.

Dreyfus is cast as an earlier incarnation of the Master.  I guess it was a matter of time before Big Finish Productions decided to take the leap and cast a Master who would be before the version as played by the late Roger Delgado.  I think he did fine job with it, but there wasn’t much that really grabbed me about his performance.  I believe he has done one or two other episodes, so I will likely get to hear more soon enough.

Hines continues to do well with his impression of the late Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor.  Wills also has done enough of these recordings that it’s a given she will also do well.

The script was interesting.  Guerrier is a reliable contributor and has a pretty engaging premise with this episode.  The appearance of the Master that would have taken place before the television series first introduced him in Jon Pertwee’s era actually seemed to fit rather nicely.

Chapman also does well with his version of Ben Jackson.  Michael Craze is still the best Ben, but Chapman does right by him.

In spite of the chances taken with a new Master and a bit of a upheaval with the relationship of the companions, I don’t really see this one as a standout.  The episode was enjoyable enough, however I felt that it should have made more of an impression with of these supposedly daring developments.  It does work pretty well though.  The performances are pretty strong.  The sound effects are pretty convincing, but Big Finish almost always comes through there.  The musical score was appropriate to the era.

I liked this episode, but I didn’t really love it.  I do still love the Second Doctor though and want Hines back behind the mic very soon.

 

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