I thought I would pull out the first couple of tales from the first series of Eighth Doctor Adventure as I feel they warrant some structural consideration rather deeper than I cover in my series 1 review (see here). This is a very well constructed Steve Lyons’ pair (and let’s face it he also wrote Colditz and Architects of History two of my favourites so far). It is also the first of the non-Classic format and the two discs are each split into an enormous number of scenes which reflects the pacing of the story telling.
What particularly struck me on re-listening to this is how so many stories interplay and each set of characters goes on a journey the whole piece wonderfully choreographed. I will attempt to describe this from the points of view of:
- The Doctor
- The Daleks
- The Colony of Red Rocket Rising
- The listener!
A 19 year old Blackpool lass is starting work. She is abducted by Time Lords, has her memory blocked and is dumped without notice on a character called the Doctor. He proves unsure of her, and they end up on an alien world (her first though he seems not to care) where they are soon mixed up in a post apocalypse horror story of metal monsters called Daleks and several near brushes with death.
She slowly learns to trust and appreciate the Doctor enough to help save the world and after an exchange of words and evaluating her options goes back to the TARDIS to travel with the Doctor. She would have been more impressed had he not been trying to escape but been unable to.
A lot to assimilate and she now has to rely on a strange alien to protect her from she knows not what.
There are better ways to start the week!
A lonely figure travelling in his TARDIS is rudely interrupted by a stray dog foisted upon him by the Time Lords. Unable to take her home he is bounced to the planet Red Rocket Rising which has seen better days. Mixing with the acting president he soon ends up in a mad scientists lair and discovers that the about to arrive saviours of the planet are in fact Daleks!
He also realises that mad scientist Martez has survived death and (like Davros) has created his own race of Daleks and summoned the main Dalek force to the planet. All in the name of progress and evolution.
Meanwhile he tries to look after Lucie, joins forces with Daleks to hunt down their mutant cousins and eventually steers the locals into resolving the crisis with him. This whilst being accused of genocide and abused for his fashion sense.
To top it all he is unable to leave without Lucie so is forced to welcome her onboard.
Not the best start to a relationship!
Fighting another war, one of you fleet crashes on a random planet. Your ship is the worse for wear and left behind by the main fleet. Intercepting a message from a human colony you realise that Dalek mutants have been created. Obviously you smash an asteroid into the planet then shoot down any escaping craft. You eventually have to limp into land to wipe out the population on the ground to ensure the purity of the blood line. As an aside this is entirely consistent with The Mutant Phase – after all the mutant destroys the purity of the blood line!
You don’t need the Doctor to arrive, have to trust him to help you and fight to an eventual mutual destruction of both clans of Dalek and knowing the Doctor has survived again.
Another bad day at the office for the Daleks.
Treated as evil by your own kind all you do is create your own race of Daleks and to avoid persecution force your mind into the body of your female assistant (Asha played by Hayler Atwell). To make things worse the interfering Doctor comes to tell you things are worse than you know and is proven right when the pure Daleks arrive to destroy your creation.
As your body starts to fail the error of your ways becomes clear and you destroy your creations before they in turn exterminate you.
A bad day in the lab for Martez.
The Colony of Red Rocket Rising
There you are an average human colony on the edge of nowhere special, minding your own business when an asteroid smashes into you prompting large swathes of colonist to try to escape for help.
Just as you rescuers arrive a madman called the Doctor also appears and sets everyone at odds with everyone else. After a burst of apocalyptic Armageddon the dust settles and as word of a new set of rescuers arrives the Doctor departs.
Who’d be a colony?!
You the listener!
For me this series was my introduction to Big Finish and despite myself I was impressed with the quality of the script, cast and production as a whole.
As a more seasoned Big Finish fan this is a departure from the main range and a new companion and it all feels rather good. We also have an in joke in that the colony will be rescued by aliens from ‘Tel…’ which we all hear as a Telos home of the cybermen! Meanwhile the Doctor is unaware and leaves.
We also get a tail piece introducing the Head Hunter a figure chasing Lucie who is our secret, but for how long.
Like a fan hearing the first album after a and changes key personnel we were relieved it worked and pleased it was still identifiably the same band. Lots of excitement for the rest of the series.