Ravagers is a Doctor Who audio boxset that kicks off a new range with The Ninth Doctor Adventures. Christopher Eccleston has returned to the role of the Ninth Doctor through the medium offered by Big Finish Productions. The set contains a trilogy of connected stories all written by Nicholas Briggs, which he also directed. This set takes place before the television audience catches up with the Doctor before his relaunch in 2005. This would be before the Doctor meets Rose Tyler.
In this little series, the Doctor meets a woman from the future named Nova, played by Camilla Beeput. Another more mysterious woman, Audrey, is plated by Jayne McKenna. Jamie Parker, Dan Starkey, and Ben Lee also appear throughout this release.
Many times, these boxsets are comprised of different stories by various authors, whereas it makes sense to give a brief review of each story individually. Since this is basically one story written by one writer, I will just leave an overall reaction to the work as a whole.
Sphere of Freedom starts off with the Doctor and Nova already meeting. Nova is whisked off by a time eddy. The Doctor has become aware of people throughout time and space being displaced by these eddies. When he meets Audrey, she appears to be an aging woman who just wants a good story, but she turns out to be more than she appears and has some unexpected knowledge of the Doctor.
Cataclysm is the second episode that brings the Doctor closer to the end of the universe via the Battle of Waterloo.
Finally, Food Fight wraps matters up with the Doctor being lost in time and space separated from his TARDIS, but still not without any hope of victory. He also faces the Ravagers themselves, beings who feed on the chaos wrought by the Time Eddies.
I have to confess, I had some trouble following this one since much of the story is not presented in a linear fashion. It was one of these that felt like an endurance test until the last episode puts the pieces in place. Once again, I was impressed by Briggs’ imagination and his efforts to find new ways to tell a Doctor Who yarn. It was great to hear Eccleston himself back in the role. He put in a solid performance, and it kicks off a new range of exploration for Big Finish. The overall story was a little underwhelming , but there were enough intriguing characters and strong performances for me to find some forgiveness. It helps that the resolution had some creativity to it. Briggs is usually a solid writer whose ideas intrigue me. He actually pulls off a pretty good ending here, but it required a bit more patience. I did appreciate that the threat was actually not some old adversary of the Doctor’s. There was not a reliance on old friends or old enemies. Just some fresh chaos and neurotic characters to muddy the waters enough to keep this entertaining.
So this Doctor is back in his leather jacket and noting how fantastic things are. That by itself is enough for me to recommend my fellow fans to listen to this. The story seemed a little muddled at times, but the ending is worth the patience in following it. So…yeah, I am ready to dive into some more adventures with the Ninth Doctor. Welcome back to the TARDIS, Chris!