The Doctor and Donna are back in this new boxset, and they’re not alone. This time around, they’re joined by Wilf, Sylvia and the Judoon in three all-new audio adventures. Definitely one of my most-anticipated releases of the year, this set did not disappoint! Read on to find out my thoughts on each story.
1. “No Place” by James Goss
The boxset opens with No Place, written by James Goss. Following Justin (Joel Fry) as he presents the show Haunted Makeovers, this story takes on the style of a found-footage film, telling the spooky story of a house the Doctor and the Nobles are trying to fix up.
David Tennant and Catherine Tate are on top form, returning to their roles as the Doctor and Donna as if they’ve never left. Their interactions here are hilarious, and very much authentic to their relationship during Series Four.
The Doctor and Donna are joined by Jacqueline King as Sylvia Noble and Bernard Cribbins as Wilfred Mott, whose presence here only adds to the story’s 2008 vibe. Cribbins is particularly impressive, delivering a beautifully-written and heartwarming monologue to Justin towards the end of the story about what he thinks of the Doctor, but King also gives a wonderfully shrewd performance as Sylvia.
Howard Carter‘s sound design is on point, delivering quite a few scares throughout the piece. The music is also very well done, aping the reality TV genre this story is emulating.
On the surface, the story seems like just a typical haunted house story, but it’s so much more than that, full of creative ideas (the biting piano was my favourite!) and sharp pathos. The resolution was a little too quick for my taste, but overall No Place is a cracking opening story to this boxset: scary, emotional and incredibly evocative of 2008 Doctor Who.
2. “One Mile Down” by Jenny T Colgan
After previously writing for the Doctor and Donna in Time Reaver, Jenny T Colgan pens the second story in the boxset: One Mile Down. A masterclass in worldbuilding, this story was my favourite of the set, thrusting us into the underwater world of Vallarasee (aided by Howard Carter‘s suitably aquatic sound design) and giving us a great adventure coupled with some rather pertinent political commentary.
The Judoon also feature in this story, and praise should go to Nicholas Briggs for bringing young Clo to life with such ease. After this story, I’m very much looking forward to seeing the Judoon face Jodie Whittaker‘s Thirteenth Doctor next year!
The rest of the guest cast are equally fantastic. Eleanor Crooks is great as Fin-fanatic Patricia, Rakie Ayola (who played the Hostess opposite Tennant in 2008’s Midnight) gives a great performance as the villainous Andrea, and both Robert Whitelock and Christopher Naylor give great performances as the fish-people Thispus and Pickus.
All in all, One Mile Down is a great, action-packed adventure, and, along with the next story, definitely my favourite of the set.
3. “The Creeping Death” by Roy Gill
The set closes with Roy Gill‘s The Creeping Death, a gripping character piece set in the 1952 London Smog. The historical setting is incredibly inspired, giving rise to both some great imagery and some touching moments where the Doctor and Donna muse on the tragic loss of life that occurred as a result of this deadly phenomenon.
The guest cast in this is fantastic, and is the story’s greatest strength. Helen Goldwyn clearly relishes playing the villainous Alice Aiken and the Fumifugium, Lauren Cornelius as cinema usherette Ivy Clark is incredibly compelling and Theo Stevenson brings Terry Hopkins to life with a heart-warming performance that encapsulates the struggles of living as a gay man in a time of oppression and intolerance.
There are a few references to the greater story of Series Four in this one; the Doctor directly compares events in London to those in Pompeii, while someone tells Donna at one point that “there’s something on [her] back”. Both of these moments give the story a greater relevance to the overall Doctor Who mythos, further elevating my enjoyment of an already great script.
Overall, this is a fantastic ending to the boxset: a great plot made better with a fantastic group of well-drawn guest characters who I’d definitely love to hear from again. A sequel set during their Brighton holiday, perhaps?.
The Tenth Doctor Adventures: Volume Three is an absolute success, perfectly imitating the vibe of Series Four in these three brilliant new audios. Tennant and Tate are on top form, Howard Carter’s music and sound design are excellent as ever and the rest of the guest cast (particularly Cribbins and King, who step back into their roles as Wilf and Sylvia as if no time has passed) all shine. Thoroughly recommended!
The Tenth Doctor Adventures: Volume Three can be purchased on CD or as a download from http://www.bigfinish.com
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