Books & Literature

Audiobook Review: Doctor Who: The Third Doctor Adventures, Volume 8, by Big Finish

SCI-FI: Two brand new adventures for the Third Doctor, Jo Grant and Sarah Jane Smith.

Two more wonderful adventures set in the era of the Third Doctor that will fire up the imagination.

Two thrilling adventures await the listener in this eighth volume of brand new adventures set during the era of the Third Doctor, originally played by the late Jon Pertwee. Big Finish have assembled a superb cast once again and presented two cracking stories to delight the fans of this era.

Tim Treloar continues his admirable impression of Pertwee’s Doctor that, whilst not exactly capturing the precise sound and nuance of the original actor, is not too detached from the original to make it a problem. It is very similar to David Bradley’s take on the First Doctor in his highly successful series of audios in that respect.

Alan Barnes’ Conspiracy In Space opens the set and places the Doctor and Jo on the planet Draconia some 20 years before they arrived there in the TV episode Frontier In Space. The Draconians are hearing rumours of a super-weapon that can be used by Earth against them and the TARDIS crew must deal with multiple conspiracies and double crosses before the real truth of the matter comes out. It is a very worthy prequel to the televised adventure from nearly 50 years ago. It captures the nobility of the Draconian race whilst also explaining a niggling problem that some fans had from back in the day: namely, why there were no female Draconians in the court.

Treloar is paired with the ageless Katy Manning who once again brings her chirpy nature to Jo Grant, showing very little wear on her voice. She has an adorable chemistry with Treloar (much like she did with Pertwee) that shines through here. Imogen Church is the pick of a pretty strong supporting cast as the overblown (and over-the-top) Lady Zinn. She is matched pound for pound by Issy Van Randwyck as the Grand Widow who chews her scenery every time she appears. Sam Stafford (Lt. Ruji), Aurora Burghart (Emerald), and Barnaby Edwards are also superb in their roles throughout.

The second story, The Devil’s Hoofprints by Robert Valentine, is a wonderful pseudo-historical adventure that draws its inspiration from a real-life mystery in Devon in the mid 1850s when thousands of hoofprints mysteriously appeared in the snow after an overnight snowstorm. The Doctor, Sarah and the Brigadier are caught in a cat-and-mouse game that spans not only modern England but that fatal night in 1855. Sadie Miller continues to do her late mother proud taking on the role of Sarah-Jane Smith with gusto (and relaxing into this role more and more) while Jon Culshaw continues his eerily accurate rendition of The Brigadier—an impression so good it even fools director Nicholas Briggs at times.

As with the first serial, there is a superb supporting cast which includes the venerable Carolyn Seymour as Mrs. Plymtree as well as Derek Griffiths (Reverend Mr Woolsgrove), and Barnaby Kay (Chilton) amongst others.

Briggs continues his exceptional work on this series which sees him not only being an outstanding director but also providing the wonderfully evocative score. Steve Foxon and Jack Townley continue their exceptional work with the sound design for this set. There are also bonus interviews with the cast and writers that shed much light on the creation and recording of this set.

This is a very worthy addition to this already wonderful range and fans of this era will not be too disappointed with the love and care shown by Big Finish on this release.

Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin
Twitter: @Wagnerfan74

Distributed by: Big Finish Productions
Released: October 2021
Approx RRP: $46 CD, $20 Digital Download

This review is the opinion of the reviewer and not Glam Adelaide.

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