❉ Two very diverse stories that reflect the Third Doctor’s era excellently!
We’re now in series 6 of the Third Doctor Adventures by Big Finish, and it’s clear now that the cast are hitting their stride – Tim Treloar has the mannerisms and rhythm of the Third Doctor down pat, and Katy Manning has tapped back into the spirit of Jo Grant (as if that had ever truly gone away). Now we have two more stories to add to the Third Doctor’s audio canon.
First up, there’s Poison of the Daleks by Guy Adams, a story crafted to fit in with the general environmentalist feel of the latter part of the Third Doctor’s era, such as The Green Death. It completely evokes the time period of 1973, and has familiar foes such as dodgy Members of Parliament, evil corporations, and of course, The Daleks. It even has a few Varga plants dotted about the place, for us really old school fans!
It also has UNIT fully battling the Daleks, with Jon Culshaw yet again putting in a great turn as Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart, and the always-brilliant John Levene as Sergeant Benton. Aside from Day of the Daleks, we never really saw UNIT take on the evil pepperpots, so this is real treat, how will the Brig explain this one to Geneva?
The second story in the series is Operation: Hellfire by Jonathan Barnes, and is a bit of a depature from your normal Third Doctor story, evoking memories of stories like Inferno and The Amabassadors of Death. The Doctor and Jo get caught up in the lies and propaganda wars of World War II, and discover that something even more sinister is going on underneath the surface!
The Third Doctor, even though he was steadfastly on the side of reason and science, did sometimes go up against the forces of the supernatural, and was always fantastic when he did so, and this story is no different. Add to that the WWII setting, and an appearance by Ian McNiece’s Winston Churchill (there’s even a reference to KBO here), and even the Time Lords get involved – there’s a lot going on in this story, and it’s a great addition to the ongoing series – more of this, please.
As always, the supporting cast of both stories is stellar, with Abigail McKern as perhaps my favourite character in Poison of the Daleks as the combative Skwoj, more than a match for the Doctor in both intelligence and temperament and a great foil for him, and in Operation: Hellfire, Mark Elstob as Quilter, Jeany Spark as Chapel, and the always great Terry Molloy as Finch provide an excellent and compelling company of characters.
It’s safe to say that series 6 is a success for me, they’re two very diverse stories that reflect the Third Doctor’s era excellently – if Big Finish keep this quality up, then Tim Treloar could very well be our Third Doctor for a long, long time to come.
❉ ‘Doctor Who: The Third Doctor Adventures Volume 6’ is out now, exclusively from www.bigfinish.com: £24.99 (collector’s edition CD) £19.99 (download).
❉ Glenn Jakeman is a pop culture nerd and podcaster, currently running the Back to the Eighties podcast, now celebrating it’s 10th year! He feels very old at this point. Back to the Eighties can be found at btte.libsyn.com and @BTTEPOD on Twitter