Books & Literature

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

Two original full-cast audio plays set in Jon Pertwee’s era of Doctor Who, as The Doctor and his companion, Jo Grant, face old enemies and new.

Jon Pertwee’s era of Doctor Who was a cornerstone in establishing Doctor Who as the cult hit show that it has become. Without Pertwee (or producer Barry Letts and script editor Terrance Dicks) the programme may have sunk into obscurity. It is fitting that Big Finish have honoured that era by producing several volumes of newly written adventures for the third incarnation of the famous Timelord. This set is the third volume of these adventures and consists of two full adventures and a bonus disc of behind the scenes interviews plus bonus musical score extracts from both stories.

The first story, The Conquest of Far, is written by Big Finish writer, producer and actor Nicholas Briggs. The Doctor and Jo arrive at a galactic archway but find it has been conquered by the Daleks. In the second story, Storm of the Horfax, written by classic Doctor Who writer Andrew Smith, sees the Doctor and Jo return to Earth and face a villain who intends to conquer the world by stopping time and taking over the planet before a second has passed.

With the passing of Pertwee in 1996, the job of playing the third Doctor has fallen to Tim Treloar. His characterisation of the role is almost perfect and at times it is hard to distinguish between the original article and the newer version. However, Treloar lacks the panache and flair that Pertwee brought to the role and his sense of comedic timing is nowhere near Pertwee’s.

Katy Manning, the only Pertwee companion still alive, rejuvenates Jo Grant with a youthful performance although she is much more comfortable playing the role closer to her own age in the recent U.N.I.T. crossover than trying to replicate her much younger self.

The supporting cast in both stories are well played with special mention to Robin Weaver who plays the main villain, Arianda, in the second story with an excellent sense of menace and fear.

The two stories both feel like there could have been much more made of the villains and their threats to both the Doctor and to the universe (and Earth). The endings to both stories also seem rushed and unfocused, which is a shame as there is so much to compliment the production team and cast on.

Big Finish’s production team have created some outstanding soundscapes (by David Magel and Joe Meiners) and the musical score by Jamie Robertson is beautifully crafted to replicate the original electronic scores by Australian Dudley Simpson from the Pertwee era.

For fans of the Pertwee years it will be a reminder of one of the great eras of Doctor Who but for newer fans it may be better to watch the originals at work first.

Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin
Twitter: @Wagnerfan74

Rating out of 10: 6

Released by: Big Finish Productions
Release date: August 2017
RRP: $41 (CD), $20 (Download)

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