For this week’s First Doctor reviews, we’ll be taking a look at the next two Early Adventures from last year’s run: “An Ideal World” and “Entanglement”. Read on to see what I thought of each story!
“An Ideal World” by Ian Potter
After listening to the sublime The Bounty of Ceres by Ian Potter, I was incredibly looking forward to hearing his second Early Adventure: An Ideal World. I’m happy to report that I was not disappointed, with this story being just as good (if not better!) than Ceres.
Set on the planet T-19, An Ideal World follows the TARDIS team of the Doctor, Vicki (Maureen O’Brien) and Steven (Peter Purves) as they join with a group of colonists in an attempt to get to the bottom of some strange goings-on. From rogue weather drones to a deadly virus, the characters in this story go up against a lot, and this constant excitement is part of what makes the story so entertaining.
Toby Hrycek-Robinson‘s sound design is another of the story’s successes. I was constantly impressed at how vividly he managed to conjure up the various happenings on T-19, from rainstorms to alien swarms. This is definitely one of the best-sounding Big Finish productions I’ve heard in a while!
This, coupled with fantastic performances from Purves and O’Brien, makes for a most captivating listen. Once again taking on the dual role of Steven and the Doctor, Purves plays both characters with flair. The Doctor goes through quite a lot in this story, and Purves performs this wonderfully, as usual.
Where this story falls short, in my opinion, is with the side characters. While all the cast are on point, I didn’t really feel any connection to the side characters bar Carolyn Pickles‘ Traherne. This isn’t a major problem, and I still think this story is great, but it certainly hampered my enjoyment a little.
Overall, though, An Ideal World is a very strong story, with Ian Potter capturing the feel of the era and its characters perfectly. Thoroughly recommended.
“Entanglement” by Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky
Entanglement by Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky continues the stellar run of Early Adventures started by The Dalek Occupation of Winter, following the Doctor, Vicki and Steven as they investigate strange goings-on at Cambridge University.
The first thing I noticed about this story was the music and sound design which, as in the previous story, are on point. Kudos to Toby Hrycek-Robinson for his great work on this release!
I also loved the interplay between Vicki and Steven, especially in part one. It’s perfectly authentic to the era, bolstered by performances from O’Brien and Purves that are so similar to how they sounded in the 1960s it’s like no time has passed at all.
Purves’s Doctor gets a lot more “screen-time” here than in An Ideal World, and this is another of this story’s successes. Hearing the First Doctor bustling around the university, investigating the various mysteries he comes across is absolutely delightful.
With a gripping and mysterious plot, an evocative and rich setting and a great cast, Entanglement is an enjoyable (and, above all, authentic) Early Adventure, though I must admit that I did find myself a little confused by the resolution of the story. Overall, however, this release is highly recommended.
Check back next week for our thoughts on The Crash of the UK-201 and The Secret History!
Both An Ideal World and Entanglement can be purchased on CD or as a download from http://www.bigfinish.com
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