The Rocket Men reviewed

The second story in the sixth season of the Big Finish Companion Chronicles is The Rocket Men written by John Dorney and directed by Lisa Bowerman. It is due to be followed up with Return of the Rocket Men in November 2012. This is a visually dramatic First Doctor story told by Ian Chesterton and tells the tale of rocket-pack wearing pirates attacking a leisure resort. It also tells part of the story of Ian and Barbara. How well does it work?

The Story

The Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Vicki are holidaying on Platfrom Five, a floating hotel in the skies of the gas giant planet Jobis. All is going well when pirates attack in the form of rocket-pack wearing ruffians under the command of the evil Ashman. Ian has to come to the fore in a dramatic aerial battle with the villain in order to save the damsel and win the day aided by the natives of the gas giant, great manta-ray like creatures.

All this whilst realising what we all know; that his is in love with Barbara!

The Production

There is a 50s or even Flash Gordon feel to this and the synopsis sounds much less compelling than the reality. This is wonderfully performed, mostly be William Russell and his impression of the Doctor is all but perfect at the end.

The story probably overdoes the love angle and also jumps around a lot. There don’t seem to be enough audio clues as to whether we are in a flashback or now and I think this would work tremendously as a an animation. Many times the action jumps from Ian narrating the present to Ian narrating piece of earlier action. The decision was, I assume, made to allow plot elements to emerge and keep the listener in suspense.

I did enjoy this and my niggles are no more than that and I look forward to the Return of the Rocket Men to discover what Steven might do against them.

Did you enjoy this? Are the Rocket Men a worthy adversary? Let me know!

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