Audiobook Review: Doctor Who: The First Doctor Adventures Vol 3, by Big Finish

Two more full-cast audio adventures starring David Bradley as the first incarnation of Doctor Who.

Continuing the trend of the previous sets, there is an historical story and a more science fiction based one.

The third volume of adventures featuring the David Bradley interpretation of the First Doctor is a bold step for the series. The principal cast of Bradley, Jamie Glover (Ian), Claudia Grant (Susan) and Jemma Powell (Barbara) continue to bond well and respond to each other more effectively. Continuing the trend of the previous sets, there is an historical story and a more science fiction based one.

The Phoenicians by Marc Platt is set in ancient Tyre and sees the TARDIS crew become a part of history as King Pygmalion tries to seize power of the seas with a new boat whilst fighting off his sister Elissa who threatens his reign. The chance to rewrite history (or give it a nudge) seems too big a challenge for the crew – especially Ian who has fallen for the queen. The cast of regulars is well supported by Ajjaz Awad (Princess Elissa of Tyre), Jo Ben Ayed (King Pygmalion of Tyre), Orion Ben (Aiyaruc/Hanna), Youssef Kerkour (Bitias), and Raad Rawi (Tubal/Maygo/King Hiarbas of Tunis). The accents are a little hit and miss at times and the story does feel a little padded in places but the characters are well presented.

Tick-Tock World by Guy Adams sees the crew stranded in what appears to be purgatory after a TARDIS malfunction. With the Doctor apparently dead, it is up to Susan to try and work out what is wrong with the world and how to escape it. This story sees the welcome return of actress Carole Ann Ford (the original Susan) as The Woman who gives sound advice to both the Doctor and Susan. In this story the minimal cast do a great job at keeping the slightly surreal aspects of the script flowing. Other cast include Mina Anwar (Horl), Susie Emmett (Katta), and Belinda Lang (Nocta). This is a weird story that requires a lot of attention so best not to get too distracted while listening!

Director Ken Bentley does an outstanding job with both scripts and is helped by the exceptional sound and music mix by Joe Meiners. The sound design in the second story is some of the best Big Finish work to date. As with other volumes, there is an extra disc of bonus interviews with the cast and crew.

The set may not be quite as successful as previous volumes but it is still entertaining and enjoyable. Fans will not be too disappointed with this one. Hopefully Big Finish will give us more of this TARDIS crew before the year is out!

Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin
Twitter: @Wagnerfan74

Distributed by: Big Finish Productions
Released: January 2019
RRP: $43 CD, $20 Digital Download

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