So, Billie Piper joins the ranks of Big Finish talent and reprises the part of Rose in three adventures with Tenth Doctor, David Tennant. Three stories, three writers and three sets of monsters. What’s not to like?
Let’s chat about The Tenth Doctor Adventures Volume 2…
Tenth Doctor Adventures Volume 2
John Dorney starts the set with the romp that is Infamy of the Zaross. Not only do we have Rose and the Doctor, but also Camille Coduri as Jackie Tyler. It’s an alien invasion of Norwich (not something I write everyday) and one of the weirdest invasions of Earth the Doctor has ever encountered.
At time the story creeps along the edge of the fourth wall, but rather than being clever for its own sake, packs in some memorable characters and great performances. It’s a romp in places, in keeping with the mood of the start of David Tennant’s first season, then mixes darkness under the somewhat innocent (yet brutal) Zaross. It also has a bit of a dig at modern culture. With three leads there’s plenty for John to juggle, and as we might expect he does it very well.
Guy Adams packs in the historical detail in The Sword of the Chevalier and of all the stories, this most needed to be longer to allow more exploration of the many historical themes. This leads me to a mild rant, as in why can’t we have the occasional pure historical in modern Doctor Who? I’m not singling out Guy at all; this is a very detailed story mixing some history with an alien invasion of Slough! The centre of the piece is the real historical figure of The Chevalier d’Éon. There’s also a mention of a famous scientist, used just as a plot device and a red herring.
The plot gives us yet another alien race who I hope make a come-back for their unique physiognomy. The cast also gives us Mark Elstob, James Joyce, Lucy Briggs-Owen and in in the role of the Chevalier, Nickolas Grace. The story challenges values from the past, treats the Chevalier as a person, not a curiosity, and when it mixes history with aliens and their technology, doesn’t dwell on the incongruity but tells the story well.
Last up Matt Fitton brings us the Ice Warriors in Cold Vengeance. I’ve long felt the Ice Warriors were underused in modern Doctor Who, and I’m glad Matt eschewed the chance to add his own creation to the set, but instead gave us a look at the Warriors. Nick Briggs creates a great combination of villains in the form of Lord Hasskor and Commander Slaan. Matt sets this story in space, and also adds pirates to the mix. Oh, and waste collectors.
There’s drama, tragedy and the ever difficult task of dealing with a foe who’s habit of entering suspended animation means they do get out of touch with galactic events.
I can’t imagine anybody not buying the set of three stories, but if there’s only the budget for one, I suggest this is it.
The set as a whole
There’s no arc, no recurrent monster, just three fun tales bringing back this ever-popular pairing. If Billie’s Rose isn’t quite as remembered from the first scene, it’s not long before that’s ignored as she and David save the Earth. Again!
There’s no clue as to any future set, be it with Freema Agyeman or more Donna or more Rose. Whatever we get, it’s sure to be a joy.