The Tenth Doctor Adventures Volume One

IMG_4246

The Doctor battles alien threats on present-day Earth, on the spaceport Calibris and in Queen Donna’s castle.

 

The Tenth Doctor is back this month, in both this highly-anticipated Big Finish box set and the BBC novel In the Blood. It’s a Tenaissance if you will. David Tennant’s era is fondly remembered not just by many Doctor Who fans, but by the wider viewing audience. I’ve met a few people who simply stopped watching when he stepped down from the role. Tennant was the Doctor when the show seemed to tap into wider public consciousness in a big way, and crystallised in the minds of some people what the show should be like.

Setting this trio of adventures during the fourth series is a savvy move, as it hits the sweet-spot in between all the angst about Rose, and all the angst about the regeneration prophecy. It feels like a quite a coup to have Tennant performing for Big Finish, fresh from his bravura turn stateside in Jessica Jones, which has presumably raised his profile somewhat. Catherine Tate also returns, as popular companion Donna Noble. Both leads are on great form here, effortlessly recreating their roles and on-screen relationship.

The first story, Technophobia by Matt Fitton, feels like Davies-era series-opener, but with depth. It’s set on present-day Earth and economically reminds the audience that Donna made her living as a temp, and reinforces this energetic incarnation of the Doctor as irrepressibly upbeat and insatiably inquisitive

bfpdw10th01a_technophobia_cd_dps1_cover_large

Fitton gives us a new twist on the traditional  Doctor Who idea of making the familiar seem scary. Here it is the humans, not the technology, responsible for this fear. The technophobia of the title refers to Earth’s population being made less intelligent by the alien Koggnossenti, so that they become terrified of everyday technology. Although we don’t meet any elderly people in the story, presumably they didn’t notice any effect. Having worked in a bank for a number of years, I wouldn’t react with the same alarm and curiosity that the Doctor does to irrational fear of a cash machine.

Jenny T Colgan writes the second instalment, Time Reaver. It is set on Calibris, a grubby Mos Eisley-type spaceport full of scoundrels and smugglers. The straight-laced Vacintians are trying to bring some order to the planet. They are comedy bureaucrats like the Inter Minorians from Carnival of Monsters. The Doctor naturally favours the more chaotic, buccaneering tradition of Calibris, until he learns of the presence of the time reavers. Like in Carnival, the Doctor intervenes to not just help, but to stop anyone even having access to the time reavers, in a way that recalls his hand in banning miniscopes.  The time reavers are an imaginative device, which in the wrong hands can cause untold suffering and destruction. They are analogous to drugs, and the Doctor speaks of them in similar terms to his condemnation of vraxoin in Nightmare of Eden.

bfpdw10th01c_death_and_the_queen_cd_dps1_cover_large

The cover and title of the third story, Death and the Queen by James Goss, prime the listener for a darker tale; but this is actually the wittiest of the collection, and the highlight of this box set. There’s a strong flavour of The Prisoner and Zenda (and to some extent William Goldman’s excellent novel, The Princess Bride) here, with the fictional European country setting, along with its eccentric residents and customs. Goratania feels like a near neighbour to Antony Hope’s Ruritania. There is even a royal named Rudolf, to whom Donna finds herself engaged. Her description to the Doctor of her princess lifestyle, undercut with vignettes of how her life in the castle actually is, perfectly embodies a sitcom style familiar to how this TARDIS team worked onscreen.

This an excellent box set to add to your collection, if you haven’t already bought it. It’s exciting to have another incarnation join the Big Finish roster, especially in the case of the Tenth Doctor. It’s a chance to go someway towards polishing the tarnished legacy the ‘year of specials’ left him with. Hopefully there will be many more volumes to come.

.

Order the Tenth Doctor Adventures:

Technophobia: Tthe Tenth Doctor (Doctor Who)

The Tenth Doctor – Time Reaver (Doctor Who)

The Tenth Doctor: Death and the Queen (Doctor Who)

.


 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s