Doctor Who Audio Review: Benton…John Benton

Council of War is a Doctor Who audio drama from Big Finish Productions and is an addition to The Companion Chronicles range. It took two writers to come up with this story featuring Sergeant Benton of UNIT starring John Levene. Simon Barnard and Paul Morris are the co-writers of this particular installment with the ever reliable Lisa Bowerman in the director’s seat. Sinead Keenan joins the fun as the guest actor.

Sergeant Benton is in the spotlight for this one. He has taken up the guise of some kind of town councillor for a town known as Kettering. The Doctor has asked him to look into strange ghostly manifestations which could be the precursor for an alien invasion. Also, some of the locals have disappeared. Benton has his hands full, especially when he finds whisked away to a distant planet and has to jump start a rebellion. Keenan plays a woman named Margery Phillips and shares the narration duties.

Benton is fine for the most part, but I don’t really find him interesting enough to have him at the forefront of a story. Keenan does well as the audio foil for Levene. Levene’s performance is solid enough though. This episode isn’t anything to dread, but it sure missed the mark on making me care about it all that much. I guess there was not enough of the Doctor as a character. Levene’s effort to evoke the spirit of the late Jon Pertwee when he was performing the Doctor’s lines worked fairly well. Levene is no impressionist, but he did his best, and I have no criticism of the attempt. I really have no criticism of Levene himself, but the story just didn’t make Benton all that more interesting to me.

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