Tim Treloar returns to the role of the Third Doctor in THE THIRD DOCTOR ADVENTURES VOLUME 02, a pair of stories over four discs with a fifth disc of behind the scenes material. I enjoyed the first volume, but this is better with a more confident portrayal by Tim Treloar and the part-narrative style has been dropped. So, what happens to the Doctor and Jo Grant?
Let’s find out…
We open with The Transcendence of Ephros by Guy Adams:
The Doctor and Jo arrive on the dying planet Ephros, where Galactux Power Inc is exploiting the world’s remaining resources. But something is stirring beneath the surface…
If you’ve grown used to Guy Adams growing portfolio of excellence, you’ll be pleased to know this is as inventive and richly told as ever. The story pits the Doctor and Jo against the standard evil-organisation (Galactux) focussed only on profit and embodied in the figure Bernard Holley’s wonderful Karswell. There’s also a group of pilgrims led by Mother Finsey (and Richenda Carey is brilliant casting in this role), a younger pilgrim for Jo to befriend and plenty of other goings-on to keep the listener guessing where the story will land. Guy puts a good twist into the tale and also manages to have a dialogue about blind faith without patronising.
What I also liked is the re-use of a little of what I call the Government Inspector trope, in that the Doctor plays the part of someone inspecting proceedings to gain information. It isn’t over done but I do like it, as indeed I liked the whole story.
The second story, The Hidden Realm by David Llewellyn brings the action back to Earth:
The Doctor and Jo journey to Bramfield New Town when the husband of Jo’s cousin vanishes mysteriously. As magpies circle overheard, the Doctor discovers a terrifying alien plot…
First a couple of gripes: I know it’s largely irrelevant, and did give the story some texture, but I don’t like it when someone’s relative happens to be at the centre of the story’s mystery. I also didn’t think Bramfield felt very 1970s, and at times (apart from nobody had a mobile) it could have been contemporary. Feel free to contradict!
Once it got going it was a great variation on the haunted house / supernatural / alien with a decent alien menace, plenty of nice moments and some very well realised Time Lord peril. Overall despite a wobbly start I did like this story and it balanced the set nicely.
We now move to Tim Treloar is now the Third Doctor, rather than a narrator also voicing the character. It may seem a subtle point but it is vital. I felt he worked well in the part and it seemed to give Katy even more energy than she normally has, and I got a real sense she thoroughly loved working on this. Nick Briggs directed this and (while I can’t pin down why) I think he did a very good job on this.
A good pair of stories, and plenty of reasons to look further outings for this crew (and perhaps wider if other news about returning characters is any indication).