Showing posts with label 3rd Doctor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 3rd Doctor. Show all posts

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Review - Doctor Who: The 3rd Doctor # 4 (of 5)

Doctor Who: The 3rd Doctor # 4 (of 5)
"The Heralds of Destruction" - Part 4 (of 5)
Written by: Paul Cornell
Art by: Christopher Jones
Colours by: Hi-Fi

After the shocking reveal that Ramon Salamander had appropriated the Second Doctor’s likeness in an effort to infiltrate UNIT, Paul Cornell uses the opening half of this fourth issue to fill in the blanks between adventures, providing a robust explanation for how the Second Doctor’s doppelganger survived his spell in the time-stream and somehow ended up in the 1970s alongside the Third Doctor. I loved that Cornell made use of aspects from “The Enemy of the World” and “The Web of Fear” to root Salamander’s survival in fact, making it a credible addition to canon. Having him spy on the Doctor and learn more about regeneration and the Time Lords throughout “The Three Doctors” was another inspired decision, smoothing over any concerns about continuity. Cornell also drops hints about Mike Yates’ eventual betrayal in “Invasion of the Dinosaurs”, setting up subplots for stories that took place forty-three years ago. This effort to recreate the Third Doctor’s era also extends to the characterisation of Jon Pertwee’s Doctor and Roger Delgado’s Master, both of whom are brought together as ‘frenemies’ to fight against Salamander, accurately portraying the unique relationship between the two Time Lords.


This fourth issue continues to boast simply fantastic artwork from Christopher Jones, who manages to capture the nostalgia of the time period with his brilliantly detailed line work and photo-realistic interpretations of the main cast. The main highlight for me is the awe-inspiring double page spread that showcases the Doctor, the Master and the Brig engaging in combat with one of Salamander’s deadly machines. It’s simply stunning and executed perfectly. Jones adds some awesome visual flourishes into his artwork that heighten the connection to the Third Doctor’s era, such as using the red kaleidoscope background from the title sequence to depict the time vortex. This attention to detail extends to the 70s style grey warehouses and computers, which appear ripped straight from the screen and onto the page. Fans of the UNIT-era of Doctor Who will rejoice with joy at this carefully crafted slice of retrotastic awesomeness. Cornell and Jones manage to take all the best aspects of the Third Doctor’s tenure in the TARDIS and mix them together to produce the ultimate love letter to the Doctor’s time exiled on Earth.


Score - 9.8 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Third Doctor # 3 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 3rd Doctor # 3 (of 5)

Doctor Who: The 3rd Doctor # 3 (of 5)
"The Heralds of Destruction" - Part 3 (of 5)
Written by: Paul Cornell
Art by: Christopher Jones
Colours by: Hi-Fi

Wow, I did not see that coming at all. Paul Cornell demonstrates his capacity to surprise as he reaches deep into Doctor Who's history for an obscure slice of continuity, revealing the architect of the Third Doctor's troubles to be Ramon Salamander – the Second Doctor's doppelganger from the serial, “The Enemy of the World”. It's a brilliantly bold choice of villain, and a lovely way to fool the readers into expecting a “The Three Doctors” reunion, but instead getting the return of Salamander instead. However, Salamander's appearance certainly leaves us with plenty of unanswered questions, such as how did he survive being expelled into the Time Vortex, and how does he know about the Second Doctor and the Time Lords? I'm sure Cornell will provide us with these much-needed answers in the remaining issues of the miniseries. Throughout the adventure, Cornell's script remains utterly authentic to the era – capturing the vocal stylings of all the main characters with ease, so much so that you can actually hear the likes of Jon Pertwee, Katy Manning, Nicholas Courtney and Roger Delgado reading the lines out loud in your head. With most of the cast from this era no longer with us, it is particularly special to be able to experience this 'untold story' with them.


Christopher Jones' amazing artwork is the perfect accompaniment to Paul Cornell's pitch-perfect recreation of the Third Doctor's era. Jones manages to evoke memories of that classic period in Doctor Who history with his startlingly accurate renderings of the various actors from that era. His take on Roger Delgado is simply amazing – capturing his micro-expressions and body language alongside his actual likeness. I'm a huge fan of the rivalry between his incarnation of the Master and Jon Pertwee's Doctor, so its great to see a double-page spread dedicated to the Doctor and the Master as they engage in a bit of Venusian Aikido, Martian Kendo and Mercurian Kung Fu. This miniseries is a wonderful trip down memory lane for fans of the Third Doctor era, and while Cavan Scott has been exploring this time period in his brilliant Ninth Doctor series, Cornell and Jones nail that real sense of nostalgia in a much more effective manner with their flawless blend of art and script. Throwing Salamander into the mix just sends this series up into the stratosphere – it has the perfect mix of UNIT espionage, classic monsters and flamboyant arch-villains. Three issues in, and this series has achieved 'Ten out of Ten' scores with every installment. This is the closest thing to perfection to come out of Titan Comics' Doctor Who line so far! No need to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow with this one, Doctor...


Score - 10 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Third Doctor # 3 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 3rd Doctor # 2 (of 5)

Doctor Who: The 3rd Doctor # 2 (of 5)
"The Heralds of Destruction" - Part 2 (of 5)
Written by: Paul Cornell
Art by: Christopher Jones
Colours by: Hi-Fi

With the surprise appearance of the Second Doctor at the end of the first issue, this Third Doctor miniseries shifts in tone to mirror the classic multi-doctor episode “The Three Doctors” as ‘The Dandy’ and ‘The Clown’ interact with each other. The interplay between the two Doctors is absolutely perfect and Paul Cornell has a firm handle on the ‘voice’ of both Doctors and the unique relationship between them. My initial suspicion was the Second Doctor would be The Master in disguise, but thankfully it appears to be the real deal, which livens up the storyline and adds a whole new dimension to the storyline. The Master does make an appearance, and Cornell allows Lethbridge-Stewart the opportunity to shine, portraying the Brigadier as fully capable and a strong match for the devious Time Lord. Clearly, Cornell is having great fun playing about with the core relationships that made the Third Doctor and UNIT era so different from other periods in Doctor Who history. The storyline feels so authentic to the era that you’d swear you’d seen this one on TV!


Christopher Jones continues to deliver some absolutely stunning artwork on this series, and I particularly love his take on Roger Delgado’s Master. It is uncannily close to the late actor’s likeness and captures his essence entirely onto the page – you can almost imagine him delivering the lines with a sneer as he dives off the helicopter with his makeshift parachute. Throughout most of the issue, Jones’ art has a militaristic feel that suits the tone of the series perfectly, but the artist gets the opportunity to break loose from the late 70’s realism when he has to interpret Jo Grant’s mindscape onto the page. With bright colours and psychedelic visuals, Jones crafts an excellent sequence that stands out from his normal style. Jones’ art is the ideal complement to Cornell’s pitch-perfect script, resulting in a nostalgic blast to the past that will have you reaching for your sonic screwdriver in an effort to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow!

Two issues in, and this series is shaping up to be the new jewel in the Titan Comics crown. With two creators utterly invested in recreating the Third Doctor era, the story is definitely in safe hands and I look forward to seeing this adventure unfold over the remaining three issues. If you’re a fan of the UNIT era of Doctor Who, you need to invest in this miniseries now!


Score - 10 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Third Doctor # 2 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Review - Doctor Who: The 3rd Doctor # 1 (of 5)

Doctor Who: The 3rd Doctor # 1 (of 5)
"The Heralds of Destruction" - Part 1 (of 5)
Written by: Paul Cornell
Art by: Christopher Jones
Colours by: Hi-Fi

The Third Doctor's era of Doctor Who is a particularly iconic one for multiple reasons – firstly, the series made its first shift into full-colour adventures with “Spearhead from Space” and Jon Pertwee's younger, more flamboyant Doctor was more of an action hero, exiled to Earth and fighting alien invasions alongside the military task-force of UNIT. It remains a distinctive part of the Doctor Who mythology, removing the key element of time travel from the series and replacing it with a strong 1970s (or is that 80s) feel. I am quite fond of these 'UNIT years' and the excellent supporting cast that the Doctor accrued during these years, even if the series had diverted from its main concept somewhat during those serials. Taking place after the landmark first multi-Doctor episode “The Three Doctors”, this miniseries hits the reader with a tidal wave of nostalgia as Paul Cornell and Christopher Jones conjure up a “lost adventure” that feels authentic to the time period and tonally perfect in every way.

Writer Paul Cornell is no stranger to the Doctor Who universe, having written episodes for the television show, last year's event miniseries “The Four Doctors” and numerous novels featuring the various incarnations of the Doctor. In this inaugural issue he instantly captures the vocal tics of all the lead characters, to the point where you can almost hear the actors delivering the lines in your head. The Doctor, The Brigadier, Jo Grant and even Mike Yates all sound exactly how you'd expect as Cornell demonstrates his passion for the UNIT years by making use of the series' supporting cast. Not content with nailing the voices of the characters, he also manages to accurately recreate the same atmosphere seen in the stories from that time. Sleepy English villages invaded by aliens, Bessie racing to the rescue, clashing with the Brig over his military eagerness – it's all there and it feels utterly authentic and a joy to see on the printed page. It's literally like stepping back in time and watching un-aired episodes from the 1970s.


Christopher Jones is a complete revelation here, pairing with Cornell's pitch-perfect writing to produce some utterly amazing pieces of artwork. There is no denying his skill as an artist, and his clear line work definitely feels ripped from the same era, offering a straight-forward yet effective approach. Jones accurately reproduces the likenesses of all those classic characters, especially the Third Doctor, who displays some of Jon Pertwee's unique facial expressions at times. I was utterly bowled away by the artwork on display here and Jones' strong sense of storytelling, working effortlessly alongside Cornell's script to produce something wonderful. Titan Comics has been extremely lucky with its choice of artists for its Doctor Who comic series, and Christopher Jones is no exception to this rule. He is the perfect fit for the Third Doctor era of the series, bringing a wonderful sense of realism and nostalgia to the miniseries.

Riffing on all the things that made the Third Doctor period of the show so great, Paul Cornell has done a fantastic job with this miniseries. The brief cameo of Roger Delgado's Master is a wonderful addition to the plot, pitting the Third Doctor up against his greatest nemesis and revisiting the wonderful chemistry between Pertwee and Delgado during that period of the show's history. The end of issue cliff-hanger will bring a smile to the faces of every reader, but I suspect that there will be some misdirection there and not everything is as it initially seems. As with the Ninth, Eighth and Fourth Doctor miniseries before it, the Third Doctor miniseries is a brilliant summation of everything that made that particular era so fun. For those unwilling to commit to an ongoing series, these Classic Doctor miniseries are brilliant, offering a bite-size slice of past eras. I cannot praise this series enough – it's a wonderful recreation of those good ol' UNIT days.


Score - 10 out of 10

Doctor Who: The Third Doctor # 1 is now available in all good comic shops, including Forbidden Planet, as well as on the Comixology website.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Review - Doctor Who: The Doll of Death


Doctor Who: The Doll of Death
The Companion Chronicles 3.03
Written by: Patrick Chapman
Directed by: Lisa Bowerman
Performed by: Katy Manning & Jane Goddard
Duration:
 60 mins approx
ISBN: 978-1-84435-352-1
Chronology Placement: Between The Daemons and Day of the Daleks

One of Big Finish's most popular Doctor Who audio ranges is The Companion Chronicles, which focuses primarily on the adventures of the first three Doctors, as these Doctors are no longer with us. Rather than full-cast audio dramas, these adventures take the form of a two-person performance, with one of the Doctor's companions narrating an "unseen" adventure and a second supporting character taking part at times to add some variation and prevent it from becoming a monologue. They also tend to be shorter than the Big Finish's full-cast audios, typically with two half hour episodes on one CD.

The framing sequence for this particular story has Jo Jones (nee Grant) returning to London with her husband, Clifford Jones, for a tour of the chat show circuits ahead of an environmental conference. Suffering from a case of “Montezuma’s revenge”, Jo finds herself alone in the hotel catching up with her blog about her adventures with the Third Doctor and UNIT, recalling a particular case revolving around some creepy dolls. I quite liked the idea of Jo writing a blog about her adventures with the Doctor, possibly tying in with “Rose” and the sequence where the obsessive Clive shows Rose examples of the Doctor throughout history.

It’s interesting to note that Jo’s characterisation here is very much in line with her subsequent appearance in the Sarah Jane Adventures episode, “Death of the Doctor”, strengthening continuity between the audio and televised adventures. Katy Manning portrays current-day Jo as a more mature incarnation of the character, less naive and helpless than her younger self. It serves as a nice bridge between her appearances in “The Green Death” and “Death of the Doctor”. Aside from Manning’s own nuanced approach to the character of Jo Grant/Jones, Marc Platt’s script manages to conjure up imagery of the other supporting characters of the era, particularly with his descriptions of the Third Doctor’s mannerisms, such as his awkward neck rub. It’s a well-observed piece of writing that helps the listener visualise the scenes through a 1970’s television lens.

Katy Manning does her best with a mostly male supporting cast, but there are times where her various male voices blend together. However, Platt’s script manages to account for this by clearly labelling which character is speaking and accurately replicating the speech patterns of each character to the point where it is fairly easy to distinguish between them based more on the dialogue and less on the voices. The secondary voice, Jane Goddard, steps in to portray Mrs Killebrew and the creepy doll voiced, Hannah, managing to add a slightly eerie aura to the character.

The titular ‘Dolls of Death’ are effective Doctor Who monsters, even managing to work well on the audio platform thanks to the haunting high-pitched “mama” sprinkled through the story, which conjures up unsettling images of the frozen expressionless faces of dolls as they awkwardly lumber towards their victims. The show’s writers obviously agreed that dolls made for scary monsters as they were used in the Season Six episode, “Night Terrors”.

I really enjoyed the central conceit of the storyline: retro causation, a curious time-effect which saw time folded in amongst itself and events occurring out of sequence. The best way to describe it is as a blend of the two Red Dwarf episodes, “Future Echoes” and “Backwards”. I loved the way that Marc Platt’s script became something of a mystery, teasing curious events in the first instalment and revisiting them from a different perspective in the second half with an explanation. For the majority of the story, the focus is on the interesting pairing of Jo, Benton and the Brigadier with the Doctor largely absent until a bit of exposition is needed. I really liked this line-up of characters as it evoked memories of the UNIT years and Platt manages to remain true to each of the character’s voices to further add nostalgia to the story.

Overall, this was a great audio adventure that not only remained true to the classic era of the Third Doctor but also revealed what had happened to Jo Grant/Jones since her departure, working as a wonderful prequel to her appearance in the Sarah Jane Adventures. Ironically, the scenes without the Doctor were actually the strongest elements of the story, removing the security blanket and having Jo, Benton and the Brig hopelessly lost in a backwards-moving timeline. Katy Manning does a great job telling the story, handling the majority of the narration and characters. As one of my favourite classic companions, I am looking forward to listening to more audios featuring Jo Grant/Jones in the future!

The Doll of Death can be ordered on CD and Download from BigFinish.com or available externally from Amazon.co.uk

Score - 8.8 out of 10

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Review - Doctor Who: The Blue Tooth


Doctor Who: The Blue Tooth
The Companion Chronicles 1.03
Written by: Nigel Fairs
Directed by: Mark J Thompson
Performed by: Caroline John & Nicholas Briggs
Duration:
 60 mins approx
ISBN: 978-1-84435-265-4
Chronology Placement: Between Inferno and Terror of the Autons

One of Big Finish's most popular Doctor Who audio ranges is The Companion Chronicles, which focuses primarily on the adventures of the first three Doctors, as these Doctors are no longer with us. Rather than full-cast audio dramas, these adventures take the form of a two-person performance, with one of the Doctor's companions narrating an "unseen" adventure and a second supporting character taking part at times to add some variation and prevent it from becoming a monologue. They also tend to be shorter than the Big Finish's full-cast audios, typically with two half hour episodes on one CD.

This release, The Blue Tooth, is narrated by Caroline John, who played Liz Shaw, a UNIT scientist. Unlike other companions of that era, Liz never travelled in the Third Doctor’s TARDIS and was almost his equal when it came to science. As such, the two never really ended up with the same close relationship that he eventually came to have with both Jo Grant and Sarah-Jane Smith. This audio drama addresses the decision by Liz to leave both UNIT and the Doctor behind, something that occurred off-screen between the transition of Season 7 and 8.

Faced with the rare opportunity of a few days off, Liz contacts her old university friend, Jean Basemore, for a catch up in Cambridge. However, when Jean doesn't show up for their meeting, it prompts an investigation into her disappearance that brings Liz herself into danger, and reintroduces an old enemy from the Doctor's past: The Cybermen.

Jon Pertwee's Doctor never faced the Cybermen on screen, possibly due to their over-exposure during the Patrick Troughton era. However that misdeed has been rectified in this story, which draws a lot of its plot from the aftermath of the Second Doctor story, The Invasion and finally puts the character of the 3rd Doctor against a Cyberman threat.

This story had a nice slow build-up with Caroline John taking most of the narration duties until the Cybermen themselves appear in the latter half, voiced by Nicholas Briggs (who also voices them in the current series of Doctor Who). John manages to convey the story well, although I found her delivery was a bit quick in places and disorientating, especially when describing action scenes. As the Cyberman are hardly the most vocal of enemies, Nicholas Briggs doesn’t feature too much in this audio adventure, making it seem more like a solo story. While Caroline John does attempt to use different voices for the Brigadier and the Doctor, they aren’t the most effective; however, it isn’t too jarring.

I particularly liked the script which really captured some of the subtleties of both Liz’s character and the 3rd Doctor. For example, the description of the Doctor rubbing the back of his neck whilst speaking to Liz was very accurate as it was a common trait of Jon Pertwee’s on-screen and it helped me visualise the scene perfectly. Within her narration, Liz comes across as an older and somewhat wiser version of the character she played in the 1970’s, aware of her shortcomings as an ‘academic’ with little time for frivolous things.

I loved the fact that the Cybermats are referenced, especially as they’ve made resurgence in the current series too. The evolution of both the Cybermen and the Cybermats is an interesting concept and even though the changes to their ‘methods’ are contained to just within this audio – it is curious to note that some of the ‘upgrades’ that featured here, such as the smaller insect-like Cybermats, eventually appear in the recent episode, Nightmare in Silver.

Overall, this was a fun story set within a period of the show which is ripe for exploration, as there is something of a blank space between Liz’s departure and the introduction of Jo Grant. I liked the continuity references in this audio, remembering that the Brigadier had encountered the Cybermen before and introducing Mike Yates as a newly arrived Captain. It is these little touches that make it much easier to fit these audio adventures in with the canon of the televised serials.

The Blue Tooth can be ordered on CD from BigFinish.com or available externally from Amazon.co.uk

Score - 8.2 out of 10

"Dental Danger with the Cybermen"

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Review - Doctor Who: Old Soldiers


Doctor Who: Old Soldiers

The Companion Chronicles 2.03
Written by: James Swallow
Directed by: Nigel Fairs
Performed by: Nicholas Courtney & Toby Longworth
Duration:
60 mins approx
ISBN: 978-1-84435-292-0
Chronology Placement: Between The Silurians and The Ambassadors of Death

One of Big Finish's most popular Doctor Who audio ranges is The Companion Chronicles, which focuses primarily on the adventures of the first three Doctors, as these Doctors are no longer with us. Rather than full-cast audio dramas, these adventures take the form of a two-person performance, with one of the Doctor's companions narrating an "unseen" adventure and a second supporting character taking part at times to add some variation and prevent it from becoming a monologue. They also tend to be shorter than the Big Finish's full-cast audios, typically with two half hour episodes on one CD.

This release, Old Soldiers, is narrated by Nicholas Courtney, who played Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, one of the companions from the Third Doctor's era and senior member of the UNIT task force. The Brigadier is one of my favourite Doctor Who supporting characters so I was looking forward to hearing this, the only companion chronicles release made before Nicholas Courtney died in 2011.

The story takes place shortly after the TV serial, The Silurians, and deals with the aftermath of the Brigadier's decision to blow up the Silurian base at Wenley-Moor and how it affects both his relationship with the Doctor and his decisions in this story. I really liked how the writer, James Swallow, made use of the continuity of the TV show in his story and added an extra layer of depth to the Brigadier, allowing us to see the repercussions of that decision in a way we had never seen before.

The Brigadier is summoned to UNIT base in Germany located in the castle grounds known as Kriegeskind by an old army friend, Heinrich Konrad and is shocked to find him stricken by a mysterious disease. His second-in-command, the evasive Schrader proves most unhelpful in supplying the Brigadier with the details that led to Konrad's condition. Things take a more sinister turn however when midway through the night, the Brigadier awakes to narrowly miss a blade from a Roman Soldier cutting his pillow in two. It seems that the ghosts of Old Soldiers haven't taken form within Kriegeskind and are haunting those who occupy its walls.

I liked this story as it gave the Brigadier most of the focus, even after the Doctor appears on the scene. Nicholas Courtney manages to do a pretty effective Jon Pertwee impression, something he discusses in depth in the bonus track interview, but only uses it sparingly, often referring to the Doctor's lines in the character of the Brigadier, however when he does switch to the Doctor's voice, it captures many of his little quirks, such as the faint lisp and curtness of speech. I was very impressed!

Toby Longworth plays both Schrader and Konrad, who sound similar, although Konrad spends the majority of the audio-play gasping for his words, so it's never tricky to differentiate between the two. At first, I thought the fact Longworth played both characters hinted at a link between the two – possibly two halves of one man, or some kind of descendent, however it seems it was mainly because there wasn't much for both characters to do, so they combined the roles for the versatile voice actor.

Overall, this was a fun audio adventure, which told a nice two-parter and filled in some extra detail on the Brig's personality, particularly in those early Third Doctor adventures when he and the Doctor were at their most 'prickly'. The actual threat is quite visual and while one listens, it is easy to picture the action occurring with the recognisable images of ghostly Roman Soldiers and Nazi Officers roaming around an old castle. I'm not sure whether it would have been successful as a TV serial, but I think any fan of the UNIT era of Doctor Who will love this story!

Old Soldiers can be ordered on CD or Download from BigFinish.com or available externally from Amazon.co.uk

Score - 8.6 out of 10

"Ghostly goings-on with the Brig"

Monday, 11 February 2013

Review - Doctor Who: The Magician's Oath


Doctor Who: The Magician's Oath
The Companion Chronicles 3.10
Written by: Scott Handcock
Directed by: Nigel Fairs
Performed by: Richard Franklin & Michael Chance
Duration:
60 mins approx
ISBN: 978-1-84435-379-8
Chronology Placement: Between The Dæmons and Day of the Daleks

One of Big Finish's most popular Doctor Who audio ranges is The Companion Chronicles, which focuses primarily on the adventures of the first three Doctors, as these Doctors are no longer with us. Rather than full-cast audio dramas, these adventures take the form of a two-person performance, with one of the Doctor's companions narrating an "unseen" adventure and a second supporting character taking part at times to add some variation and prevent it from becoming a monologue. They also tend to be shorter than the Big Finish's full-cast audios, typically with two half hour episodes on one CD.

This release, The Magician's Oath, is narrated by Richard Franklin, who played Captain Mike Yates, one of the companions from the Third Doctor's era. The second voice actor is Michael Chance, who plays Diamond Jack. This story takes place during the present day with Yates reflecting on past events that occurred during the Doctor’s exile on Earth when he was enlisted as UNIT’s scientific advisor. As well as voicing Mike Yates, Franklin also manages to portray the Third Doctor, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and Jo Grant – each with their own vocal style. I particularly liked his Lethbridge-Stewart!

The story begins when UNIT are called in to a bizarre scene – during a July heat-wave, scores of people in Hyde Park are instantly frozen to death under the summer sun. The only lead that the Doctor and UNIT have is that of a street magician who was witnessed at the scene of the tragedy. The Doctor dismisses this as a credible theory, leaving Jo Grant and Mike Yates to disobey orders and investigate him alone, but what they discover is far more terrifying than they could have expected…

The concept of people being frozen alive during a summer’s day was very intriguing and drew me towards buying this audio. I'm currently watching the Third Doctor’s adventures on DVD, so this 'lost adventure' manages to slot neatly within the televised adventures of that time, although I suspect 1970's visual effects would struggle to match the visual effects of my imagination as I listened to this story.

The Doctor, himself, doesn't get too much 'air-time' in this story, as it focuses on Jo and Mike predominantly, but it is fun to see the B-story to an adventure. If this had been made into a televised story, the plot would have followed the Doctor and Lethbridge-Stewart and how their part of the investigation into the mystery unfolded, but with this approach, we get to see the behind-the-scenes element to the storyline, which gives a sense of vulnerability to the characters without the confidence and intelligence of the Doctor to back them up. It reminds me of an episode from Season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "The Zeppo", which focuses on Xander for the episode, with the traditional A-story forced to the background.

The two-hander approach to the story was well done and I liked the interview-style that the narrative took. We managed to get a dual insight into the Mike Yates of the past and how he has changed and matured to the current day. They never explicitly mention who the person is that Mike is relating his story to, but I imagined it to be someone like Martha Jones, who is in the current incarnation of UNIT.

This would make a great introduction to the Big Finish range as it is a stand-alone storyline that doesn't require great knowledge of either the Doctor Who universe, or the Big-Finish chronology. Some of their storylines reference earlier releases, making it hard to follow mid-way through a long running plot. One of the benefits of the Companion Chronicles range is that the majority of them are fairly self-contained and simplified. I will certainly be picking up more from this range!

The Magician's Oath can be ordered on CD or Download from BigFinish.com or available externally from Amazon.co.uk

Score - 8.6 out of 10

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