The first set featuring the Second Doctor himself is a great reboot of the era led by the son of the original actor.
The Doctor is sentenced to exile on Earth and is being forced to change his form, but is suddenly pulled out of it when he wanders into the darkness. Who are the CIA and their agent Raven? Why didn’t he change? And is living in his current body worth the price? The Doctor doesn’t have much time to ponder these issues, he’s back on Skaro—the planet of the Daleks—and is being asked to stop himself from being wiped out once and for all.
Michael Troughton, son of the late Patrick Troughton, makes his formal debut as the Second Doctor. The Annihilators Back in February. This new series of big finishes finally gives the Second Doctor a proper “home” in the series. Troughton’s version of the character originally played by his father is a wonderful blend of imitation and impression. As he points out in the bonus interview material, the problem with the Second Doctor isn’t just the voice, but the physicality with which he plays the role—something that’s difficult to convey in the audio medium. In this regard, Troughton does an excellent job.
The final beginning Mark Wright and Nicholas Briggs saw Scaro as a doctor sent on a mission by the Celestial Intervention Agency (CIA for short). Ostensibly to cure one of their operatives, the Doctor soon realizes that there is more to the mission than he is led to believe. The story’s four episodes are roughly 15 minutes each, providing a quick introduction to what will no doubt be something spread across multiple sets. Emma Noakes begins her recurring role as the Doctor’s new boss, Raven. Her voice has a lot of charm that underlines a much darker personality – one that we only get glimpses of in this set. Tim Treloar (who has voiced the Third Doctor for many years) and Anna-Maria Nabire round out the main cast of the story as Silas and Catrona respectively. They do a great job with their limited time in the story.
Wrath of the Ice Warriors Andrew Smith has another story in the set. The Doctor now finds himself in Scotland where the Brigadier and Unit are preparing for an alien invasion. As it turns out, one seems to consist of Ice Warriors, led by the merciless Lady Zelanda (wonderfully played by Katy Manning). But things aren’t always what they seem, and the Doctor needs to explore the connection between Zelanda, a lone warrior named Scar, and a Scottish painter named Sheena. All roads eventually lead to the stars…
The story is presented in a more traditional four 30-minute episode format but the plot feels a little light for length which leads to a lot of running around and long-winded conversations. That being said, the last two episodes are fine and lead to a fun and exciting climax.
John Culshaw continues his brilliant rendition of the Brigadier while Mark Elstob plays three different roles throughout the story, including the ice warrior Scar. Lucy Goldie rounds out the cast with a subtle performance as Sheena Flynn.
Nicholas Briggs has his fingers in many pies for this release, including writer, composer, director, producer and dusting off his modulator to portray the Daleks. How he successfully juggles all these roles and maintains quality is mind-blowing. Benjy Clifford, and Toby Hrycek-Robinson assisted Briggs with the music while Steve Foxon helped Hrycek-Robinson complete the sound design, both of which lived up to the very high standard expected from the Big Finish stable. Includes bonus interviews to help round out the release featuring both cast and crew.
This is a wonderful release that will delight fans of the Troughton era and, hopefully, future releases. One minor quibble is that it would be nice if the Big Finish team put a little more effort into the cover design for future releases. First doctor Adventure sets feel a bit cheap. It’s a small point but given the high quality of the other covers, it seems too rushed.
Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin
This review is the reviewer’s opinion and not that of Glam Adelaide.
Distributed by: Big Finish Productions
Released: July 2022
Estimated RRP: $35 CD, $17 digital download