Synopsis: The second volume of adventures for David Bradley’s brilliant First Doctor is here and these two adventures see him and his friends in two very different worlds. One is the home to an alien race, which challenges all the Doctor’s friends preconceptions. And the other story sees the Tardis crew caught in the middle of 19th Century Japan where westerners are considered Barbarians and are often killed.
Review: David Bradley, Claudia Grant, Jemma Powell, and Jamie Glover all return as The first Doctor, Susan, Barbara, and Ian for new adventures, which give listeners the best of classic 60’s storytelling combined with modern production values.
Both these new stories wouldn’t be out of place in the classic 1960’s series of Doctor Who and all the actors including the guest actors give us 100% commitment to their roles.
The stories contained on this set felt very much like the type of stories that you’d find in the First Doctor’s television adventures. The first story ‘The Invention Of Death’ sees the Doctor and friends meeting an alien race called the Ashtallah.
Right from the start, the Tardis crews preconceptions are blown asunder by the Ashtallah people, who reveal that there is no such thing as death on their planet. This does, however, take on a dark turn when a death does happen on the planet and thus an investigation begins as the Doctor and his friends seek to help the Alien race to get to the bottom of things.
‘The Invention Of Death’, which is written by John Dorney does what great science fiction narrative is supposed to do in that it challenges and gives us some brilliant questions to ponder.
The second story on this set ‘The Barbarians and the Samurai ‘ is the strongest of the two stories and really does a brilliant job of illustrating what a good Doctor Who historical story should be like.
In this story, The Doctor and his friends find themselves in the 19th Century in a Japan that is extremely hostile towards visitors from the west. Things get really interesting when the Doctor and his friends find themselves at the centre of much political intrigue as they become embroiled in the various dealings of Lord Mamoru’s court, which seems to have a dubious interpretation of right and wrong.
Written by Andrew Smith ‘The Barbarians and the Samurai ‘ gives us a fantastically fun adventure in which much treachery is afoot. It also gives us a wonderful mix of characters from a disgraced Samurai who helps the Doctor and his friends. As well as a former British Soldier who is more than happy to sell his own people out in order to gain advancement in Mamoru’s court by helping him take over Japan and become Shogun.
I really enjoyed this second adventure immensely and appreciated the level of historical detail that went into the story. I also enjoyed the fact that we get a reminder about the Bushido Code, which all Samurai must abide by in order to serve with honour.
Overall. This is a wonderful set, which gives us two fantastic examples of Classic Doctor Who storytelling in the style of a 1960’s adventure, but also adds a few modern tweaks along the way.
As always the production values are brilliant and all the actors put in excellent performances. David Bradley continues to be wonderful as the First Doctor and Claudia Grant continues to be relatable as the teenaged Susan, who thankfully continues to buck the trend where Susan sprains her ankle every other episode, which was a downside of that character in the Tv series.
I also enjoyed how Barbara’s knowledge of history was used in order to help the Doctor and the others somewhat successfully blend into the culture of 19th Century Japan.
I’d highly recommend this set to anyone who enjoys the first incarnation of Doctor Who and would add that this would also be a great introduction for newcomers wanting to check out a First Doctor Adventure.
You can purchase a copy of ‘THE FIRST DOCTOR ADVENTURES VOLUME 02’ here at the Big Finish Website.
- Voice Acting10
- Sound Production & Music10