Doctor Who Audio Review: Wars, Blizzards, And The Doctor

Doctor Who: The First Doctor Adventures Volume 01

The First Doctor Adventures Volume One is a collection of Doctor Who audio adventures from Big Finish Productions with a recasting of the original TARDIS crew. There are two stories in this set written by Matt Fitton and Guy Adams. The set was directed by Nicholas Briggs. David Bradley takes on the version of the Doctor originated by the late William Hartnell. Jamie Glover plays Ian Chesterton, originally portrayed by William Russell. Claudia Grant steps in as Susan, originally played by Carole Ann Ford. Finally, Jemma Powell, of course, does a decent job as Barbara Wright, originally played by Jacqueline Hill. This cast played the original actors in the BBC film An Adventure In Space and Time, which was the dramatization of the creation of Doctor Who. I was not sure I would like such a widespread substitution, but hey….it works. Two stories means two quick thoughts or reviews.

The Destination Wars is written by Matt Fitton. James Dreyfus joins the guest cast and plays a very old enemy of the Doctor’s in a newer yet earlier incarnation. Raymond Coulthard, Sian Reeves, and Deli Segal round out the guest cast. The TARDIS takes the Doctor and his companions to a human colony far from Earth known as Destination. The people rely on the wisdom of someone known as the Inventor. However the Doctor and his granddaughter know him by another name. This turned out to be a pretty good story even if it’s a little on the gimmicky side. Dreyfus makes a pretty compelling version of the aforementioned old adversary. The new main cast does seem to have pretty good chemistry, and I rather enjoyed Bradley’s version of the First Doctor. It’s a promising start to a range of stories that are faithful to the original early days of the series and yet offer enough creativity to keep me engaged.

Then Guy Adams brings listeners to The Great White Hurricane, which takes place in 1888 New York when the city was in the grip of a horrendous blizzard. The guest cast is comprised of Jackson Milner, Cory English, Carolina Valdes, Ronan Summers, and Christopher Naylor. In the midst of the winter catastrophe bearing down on them, the TARDIS crew get themselves swept up in a gang war in which Susan gets kidnapped. I liked the idea of this team being caught up in an American historical event. Overall, this one was not quite as compelling as the first one, however it was not without some merit.

As usual, the performances are solid and engaging. The post production work continues to impress as well. It is an interesting idea to reunite the cast from An Adventure In Space and Time and have them perform as the original TARDIS crew. The two stories in this set are both good, however the first one just engaged a bit more thoroughly. David Bradley doesn’t bother with a Hartnell impersonation but still manages to come up with a pretty good version of the First Doctor. There are quite a few sets that have been released already, so I plan to catch up fairly quickly with this particular range.

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