This is an excellent set and fans of the Tenth Doctor and Donna will love every moment of the stories.
One must hand it to Big Finish, they know how to milk a product. Doubtless the previous two volumes of David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor Adventures sold astronomically well and, had Tennant and his co-star, Catherine Tate, not been so busy with other projects, we might well be reviewing volume 6 or 7 by now.
As it stands, this release follows a gap of nearly 18 months since the previous volume (featuring Tennant and Billie Piper). Big Finish have gone all out with a lavish boxset for purchasers of the CDs (with a suitable price-tag to match) and while the stories themselves are of an excellent quality, this has to be the most padded release that the Big Finish team have foisted on the public.
Tennant clearly enjoys revisiting the role that catapulted him to international acclaim and has enormous fun throughout these adventures. Catherine Tate likewise relishes her return to the role of Donna Noble – the pairing being frequently named as the best Doctor/Companion team in the entire history of Doctor Who. It is hard to argue this point. There is a clear friendship and respect for one another that flows through the performances here, much as they did onscreen ten years ago. It helps that the scripts are well written and capture the era of the Tenth Doctor superbly.
The James Goss penned No Place opens the set and sees the welcome return of Donna’s mother, Sylvia (played by the impeccable Jacqueline King) and her grandfather, Wilf (Bernard Cribbins making a return to his iconic role for the first time since his TV appearances). The four return to a haunted house with a film crew headed by host and sceptic Justin (Joel Fry) to try and work out why the house behaves like it does and what ghostly secrets lurk in the shadows. It is great fun and creepy at the same time. Cribbins’ performance is worth the price of admission alone.
Second story, One Mile Down by Jenny T Cogan, is another wonderful run-around adventure featuring the return of the intergalactic police, the Judoon – which this time includes the adorable junior Judoon, Clo (voiced by Nicholas Briggs who also provides the other Judoon voices as he does on the TV series). In this story, a beautiful underground world has been slowly warped by a corrupt corporation and the original inhabitants start fighting back. The Doctor and Donna are forced to try and save the helpless tourists stuck in the middle.
The final story, The Creeping Death by Roy Gill, is set in 1950s London and sees a fog inhabited by an almost microscopic invasion force. The Doctor and Donna team up with some locals to stop the invasion leading them to a museum and a showdown with a most unlikely enemy. There is much to like here as well, and the banter between the Doctor and Donna is absolutely on-point.
Director Ken Bentley weaves his deft directing magic over the set and is helped by the sound and music design of Howard Carter. Carter’s music is also presented as music suites at the end of each story.
Where Big Finish have faltered is in the enormous amount of bonus material that will be of some interest to a few fans. Bonus interviews are certainly normal for Big Finish and the disc of interviews here is no exception but to make it a five disc set they have also included a bunch of older interviews with David Tennant from his earlier period at Big Finish before he became the Doctor. These interviews, coupled with the music suites, add up to half the total running of the set. Fans who really just want the adventures are left with a short set for an expensive price and may feel more than a little let down that there was not a fourth adventure included.
This is a rare misstep for Big Finish and one that hopefully will not happen again with such an important release. That being said, this is an excellent set of adventures and fans of the Tenth Doctor and Donna will love every moment of the stories.
Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin
Released by: Big Finish Productions
Release date: May 2019
Approx RRP: $65 CD, $25 Digital Download