Synopsis: This new set of second Doctor adventure collects together four stories from the Companion Chronicles.
Review: This is a pretty solid set, which illustrates how the Companion Chronicles differ from the main Doctor Who ranges that Big Finish has been putting out there. This is also a good starting point for newcomers that may want to check out the Companion Chronicles.
For those not in the know. The Doctor Who Companion Chronicles provide us with stories from the point of view of the companion, who aside from playing themselves in the story narrate in the third person.
The set comprises of 4 new stories to feature the second Doctor and his various companions. The first story ‘The Curator’s Egg’ from the pen of Julian Richards is a really sweet story, which sees Polly in a much more confident role than we ever seen her be in the classic series. In the series, Polly was always thought of as one of the throwaway screaming companions, which was a trend that the series began to buck when it introduced Zoe in the latter part of the 1960’s.
The story centers on a bonkers millionaire who has figured out how to transfer his consciousness into cybernetic dinosaurs. His dream is for every home to have its own domestic dinosaur. However, his plans do not go well. This story shines a new light on Polly and paints her in a much more heroic light than we ever got to see on the series. Anneke Wills puts in a stupendous performance as Polly and special mention has to go to Elliot Chapman who plays a total of three roles in this story, which demonstrates some really impressive acting chops.
The second story titled ‘Dumb Waiter’, which is written by Rob Nisbet is the weakest on the set. In many ways, it has a lot going for it with Louise Jameson guest starring as Leela and meeting an earlier incarnation of the Doctor, but beyond that. I found the story a bit of a chore to get through.
I guess I don’t share the same fascination for Garden Parties as Rob Nisbet does. The plot twist is telegraphed from the very beginning when we are presented with such a civilized party that it seems a little too good to be true.
On the upside, Nisbet obviously looks to past episodes concerning Leela and used the knowledge of her character and the relationship she had with the Doctor to good effect. Frazer Hines who voices the second Doctor and Jameson have some wonderful moments in this and I’d really like to see a one-off adventure in which Leela is paired with the second Doctor because the chemistry was simply that good.
‘The Iron Maid’ byJohn Pritchard is the third story on the set and an absolute pleasure to listen too with some amazing twist and turns. The central figure in the story is Marie who is played to brilliant effect by Jo Woodcock. Set during the 100-year war, but with some time travel twists. This story will keep fans guessing to the very end.
In their wisdom. Big Finish saved the best story on this box set to the very last. ‘The Tactics of Defeat’ by Toby Jones is an amazing story. And it is also a very daring story in that it sidelines the Doctor, Jamie and to a small degree Zoe and focuses on two new characters who are both soldiers. One on an investigation on behalf of UNIT and the other just doing whatever he can to survive.
The action is set in a mysterious Mayan cave, which Zoe and the Doctor visited in the past.
We learn everything in this story from the point of view of Captain Ruth Matheson (Daphne Ashbrook) who winds up in a battle of wits with Deakin who is played to brilliant effect by Matthew Brenher. The first episode of this story is mostly carried by the performances of Ashbrooke and Brenher and the two do a fantastic job. Even when Wendy Padbury is brought in as Zoe it is still the Captain and Deakin that carry this story.
Overall. If you’re a fan of the Second Doctor and the Companion Chronicles then this set is well and truly worth checking out. If only for the first and fourth stories.
- Voice Acting10
- Sound Production & Music10