The Destination Wars
We take the highly succesful cast of the TV docudrama about William Hartnell, and we embark on a set of brand new stories of the first Doctor, where this leaves the Early Adventures that are narrated by Peter and William of old in the back catalogue of the Big Finish world begs the question. I must admit that having now throughly listened to this release over the period of a full month of listen, re-listens and listen agains. I am somewhat struck more in the craft of the writing and the acting, this is a stand alone first Doctor but I am afriad I am old school and associate the companions not with the recast TV actors. Therefore for some of the this the relistens where to associate the new characters with their parts than anything else. Bradley as Hartnell is splendid and portrays the character without a missing a beat, the rest I have to admit I probably need more time around them. Dreyfus as the Master is class, and makes the release and the whole story another massive leap. More Dreyfus as the Master is required without a doubt. The story that I have had the pleasure of listening to time and time again, is simply stunning, and I for one loved it. It is very much of it’s time and would happily fit into the tv era within a heart beat. I can almost see the wobbly cardboard sets and the like as the Doctor landing on the planet Destiny battles it out with the Master, but this is a war of intelligence and reason, which plays heavily into the era and the 1st Doctor’s strengths. The story also has that quality where it uses War and control as the backdrop of events that play out. A great start to the first release, of the first Doctor, and a quaint and chronologically accurate story in feel and tempo.
The Great White Hurricane
Landing in the 1880’s in New York’s gang culture, it is not long before the Doctor, Susan, Ian who gets involved almost from the off by being shot, and Barbara are knee deep in the midst of this world. The seperation occurs quite early on, with Ian and Barbara and the Doctor going off with one gang to get Ian treated, and Susan going off with the opposing warring gang. This is no audio equivalent of The Gangs of New York, the writing is for me of high quality, and utilising the great blizzards around this time in America, it plays up to all the normal historic traits of the normal Who story. The main issue with this I am afraid is that it’s audible retention is stretched, well at least for me. The story flows but not in the manner of the first one did. Even on protracted and continued listening. The Great White Hurrican is an interesting take on the classic TV style of historical events being interwoven into a Doctor story, but, I think the scale of the story is not portrayed effectively or with any direct impact has as been the case with other BF offering of this ilk. That is not to say that this is a bad release, it is head and shoulders above anything else in it’s genre, it also boasts the cast of probably the most landmark post pre Who tv outing with the telling of how it came to our screens in the first place, for that alone it makes it a bona fide definitive listen for the fan. I for one however, was left with wanting more, and getting less than it offered, perhaps Big Finish have spoilt me, and its there fault that I have waited for this with a higher expectation than what was on offer.
In summary it is what it is, and it is quite a cool release, whether this pairing gets another outing I would not like to guess, I would offer one snippet of advice if there is, better stronger stories, with perhaps more Master and original monsters from the first doctor era. Or maybe look at the back catalogue of First Doctor releases from the early adventure era and take them as a starting point to work from.