Review-Doctor Who: The Third Doctor Adventures

The natural impulse for genre fans granted new material, before they’ve even enjoyed it, is to put it on the shelf. Its ability to ‘fit in’ seems so important at first but why would we want exactly what we have? What we get with these Third Doctor Adventures isn’t a lonely replay of a dusty videocassette. It’s the fresh sound of a graduate Doctor.

From Peter Davison to David Tennant we’ve seen our favourite performers return in victory laps on audio that have become regular gigs. The actors don’t sound quite like they did on telly but before long the wonder of the experience takes over. Suddenly we’re not reliving the past; we’re experiencing a special sort of future.

The occasional sibilant ‘s’ of Jon Pertwee’s Doctor, the easy confidence, that delightful vocal texture, they’re all there but so is Tim Treloar. The Welsh actor has certainly taken on the southeast England style of Jon Pertwee but most importantly, he’s gone beyond the skill of the impressionist to give us a character that fits right in with the remarkable animal that is this 21st century return to the Pertwee years.

Alongside are Katy Manning as Jo Grant and Richard Frankin as Mike Yates. Having been delighted with their performances as Iris Wildthyme and the retired Captain Yates, it was lovely to hear them cast their voices back a few decades into the characters that made them famous. Of course, we’re getting a graduate Classic Jo and a graduate Classic Yates but this should be no surprise (or worry) to regular listeners to Big Finish audio drama.

Before long, The Doctor is disturbing the room as he upbraids a bureaucrat, Jo is making battle armour out of her faith in him and Yates is, well, getting chances to be more heroic than ever. Big Finish is generous like that. And the gap in the shelf behind me is forgotten completely.



Having dropped five paragraphs on why things shouldn’t slavishly imitate our best-loved Pertwee adventures, I must mention that the music is absolutely spot on. Prisoners of the Lake has the musical style of The Sea Devils but with a very welcome melodic quality and Havoc of Empires has a Dudley Simpson style with friendly tones evocative of the Third Doctor’s first serial on TV.

The only true oddity is the narration sprinkled throughout the stories which might have been Big Finish treading carefully, couching Treloar as both narrator and Doctor. They needn’t have bothered but certain action sequences play quite well-narrated, whereas in dialogue the characters would have had to illustrate the action for us in odd sorts of ways.

Big Finish know well each era of classic Doctor Who and their output is forward-thinking, waxing creative and progressive in precisely the areas of the old series that we’d like expanded or redressed. The Third Doctor Adventures continue this trend. Roll on, Doctor Treloar!

Doctor Who: The Third Doctor Adventures at Big Finish

Check out our other Big Finish reviews.

Episode 57: Big Finish-Crime of the Century

In which Martyn and Pete look at the Big Finish production Crime of the Century.

Crime of the Century is the fourth release in the second series of Big Finish Productions’ ‘The Lost Stories’ range. It features Sylvester McCoy as The Seventh Doctor, Sophie Aldred as Ace and, Beth Chalmers as Raine Creevy. It was based upon a television story of the same name, which was not produced due to the series’ cancellation in 1990.



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Doctor Who audio review: The Sirens of Time

In practice, the story’s shape gets in the way. Gallifrey is in a state of crisis, facing destruction at the hands of an overwhelming enemy. And the Doctor is involved in three different incarnations – each caught up in a deadly adventure, scattered across time and space. The web of time is threatened – and someone wants the Doctor dead. The three incarnations of the Doctor must join together to set time back on the right track – but in doing so, will they unleash a still greater threat? (synopsis)

In The Sirens of Time, fan service is performed to a five-star degree. In the first moment of Part One, a Gallifreyan tannoy voice delivers an alert in accurate, Deadly Assassin style. The meeting of the Doctors’ minds later on is a good mix of the sound heard in The Three Doctors and something better suited to accompany the memory flashbacks that the three share.

Each of the three Doctors get an episode to themselves then converge in the conclusion. In practice, this story structure is a bit disorienting. The three short pieces don’t get much time to develop before the fourth on Gallifrey gets into gear. Although the plot seems to have no holes it doesn’t come together in the way I imagine the makers hoped.

Doctor Who is usually better for me in reruns and this was no exception. Doubtless most of the actors will have completely forgotten having done this job but that’s fine with me; they’ve left behind some good performances. I hope they had some laughs and maybe earned a penny or two because my side of the equation’s worked out pretty well.

Check out the trailer.

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