Doctor Who Audio Review: Adventures With Adjudicators

The Seventh Doctor: The New Adventures Volume One is a Doctor Who audio boxset released by Big Finish Productions. Sylvester McCoy stars as the Seventh Doctor. He is joined by Yasmin Bannerman and Travis Oliver as Roz Forrester and Chris Cwej. Roz and Chris worked as futuristic police officers known as Adjudicators and were first introduced in the novel range known as The New Adventures. There are four audio episodes contained in this set, and all were directed by Scott Handcock.

The first writer in this collection created Forrester and Cwej all those years ago was Andy Lane, who kicks off the set with The Trial of a Time Machine. The TARDIS may be responsible for a fatal crash in the time vortex and is tried on the planet Thrantas where a mysterious magistrate is able to see through all of time and space. Forrester and Cwej look for evidence to determine the true cause of the collision as the Doctor is left to defend his oldest friend in a system where guilt and innocence have a troubling flexibility. This turned into a somewhat confusing yet somehow still fascinating tale. McCoy is quite good as usual. Lane shows some creative agility here with presenting a creature with unusual abilities that could prevent the Doctor from liberating his beloved TARDIS.

Vanguard is the second story and is written by Steve Jordan. The TARDIS crew is split up by a war that is fought with the aid of enormous robots. Sara Powell, Connor Calland, and Jacob Dudman are included in the guest cast. The story was fairly good, but I can’t say that I found it remarkably engaging. The performances were solid enough as expected, however the other episodes were a bit more intriguing.

Alan Flanagan continues the journey here with The Jabari Countdown. The guest cast includes Franchi Webb, Leonie Schliesing, and Rupert Young. The Doctor and his companions are trapped on an island with a group of mathematicians during the Second World War. The group finds an alien puzzle that must be solved in order for their lives to be spared. This was much better, but I like tales taking place in isolated settings with alien threats lurking in the shadows. There are a couple of surprises when it comes to characters’ backgrounds. Not al of these twists I found to be that interesting. Overall, this story was quite good.

Tim Foley brings it home with The Dread of Night. The Doctor and his two companions take shelter from the rain in a house where a pair of sisters are mourning a loss, and most of the servants are gone. A ghostly presence waits in the shadows, but the Doctor suspects that is much more than a mere ghost. Melanie Kilburn, Rhian Blundell, and Elaine Fellows make up the guest cast. Although the haunted house motif almost always hooks me, I thought this one was actually genuinely good. Foley came up with a strong finish to this collection.

The set overall did not hit it out of the park for me, but I was glad to have gotten it. Only one story really failed to keep my attention as well as the others. I am not sure that I found Forrester and Cwej to be all that engaging as companions, at least not on audio. I liked them better on the printed page. The impish familiarity of McCoy is still the strongest draw in this one. I found this collection to be mostly quite enjoyable, but I doubt that I would miss these two companions if they were not revisited. I do know that I would miss the Seventh Doctor though, so hopefully Big Finish has big plans for that particular incarnation.

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