Written By: Justin Richards and Andy Lane
Director: Nicholas Briggs
Sound Design: Peter Doggart & Russell McGee
Music: Jamie Robertson & Nicholas Briggs
Number of Discs:
Available at BigFinish.com
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You knew that eventually they would need to attempt something like this as our beloved actors who remain of the Classic series do not magically get younger each year. Some will argue that you should leave well enough alone but I think it’s lovely that Katy Manning and Richard Franklin got an opportunity to have another story with the Character of their (Third) Doctor you knew with them all on board this would be as faithful a telling as possible. Sooo?… How’d they do? Read on! Read on!
Tim Treloar pulled double duty in the role of the Third Doctor and the role of Narrator. I’ve read that folks felt the narration was a bit unnecessary and I was prepared to feel the same way but to be honest there were very few times where I felt the Narrator’s parts were redundant. While I do not prefer narration in my Big Finish Audios each time the Narrator was employed in these stories it usually served to speed along bits of the story where they needed time to pass a little more quickly. For an era of Doctor Who stories that tended to stretch out over 6+ parts the narration did seem to serve the story and was not used to try to cover a recast. That said I was not initially thrilled to hear that these stories would feature a narrator as that’s often how the Companion Chronicles have to be told. What really intrigued me about this set was that finally we had a Third Doctor set that was not purely relegated to the Companion Chronicles range so I didn’t want it to sound like a companion chronicle story. I wish they had not resorted to narration on this first time out, but if they had to at least they used it as needed.
While there are small instances where the Treloar’s Doctor voice seemed to slip, overall he was very convincing as the Doctor and I found very little fault with his portrayal. I hope that this is merely the first of many stories where Tim voices the Doctor. I hope they leave the narration to a minimum but that’s my preference and does not reflect the quality of Treloar’s ability to Narrate he did a wonderful job.
Now onto the stories themselves!…
A Prisoners of the Lake– (by Justin Richards)
The Solicit from Big Finish Reads: “Captain Mike Yates is investigating the disappearance of artefacts from an archaeological site deep below Dunstanton Lake. It’s hardly a job for UNIT. But when the team discover a mysterious ancient structure buried deep underwater, all that changes.
When chief archaeologist Freda Mattingly ventures inside, she soon realises that her skills do not begin to equip her to deal with what she finds. As an ancient menace begins to stir the Doctor, Jo Grant and Mike Yates must dive down to the lake bed and discover the secrets hidden there. Secrets that could mean the end of all life on Earth…”
This set was like box sets of the past where it basically consisted of a single Doctor but 2 separate but fully realized stories (full stories meaning they were quite in the style of the Doctor Who Main Range where each story spanned 4 parts and a full 2 hours).
Prisoners of the Lake was a fun story to start things off and really helped to capture the vibe of the box set as well as pulling us deftly back into the Era. I was surprised to see Nicholas Briggs with a Music Credit on this set and the music in this set is pretty strikingly appropriate to the TV era.
This story reminded me quite a bit of The Sea Devils because of most the action occurring underwater but really that’s where the similarity ended. They wove a tale that was full of interesting elements all out of sync which is very familiar of the time. UNIT has their take on things, the civilian force has their way of handling things, The Doctor and his team have their plan, and of course the alien element has motivations both apparent and hidden to be revealed slowly. As with any good UNIT era story none of these elements work together until the do and it was a fun nostalgic ride watching it all unfold in classic form.
While the Brigadier’s absence or at least his distance in such a story was impossible not to feel they did not pretend that Lethbridge-Stewart was not important or an element that could be simply ignored. Unfortunately it’s hard not to find yourself outside the story for a moment when you realize oh yeah… they recast the Pertwee part but not the Nicholas Courtney part… but they endeavored admirably and it did not stall the story overly much. I particularly enjoyed this story, while I think it still has room to grow this story was nearly perfect.
My only gripes on this one are that sometimes the incidental music seemed a bit loud and a few redundant narration bits neither of which were overly detrimental so much as slightly distracting.
4 out of 5
The Havoc of Empires- (by Andy Lane)