|Reviews for The Third Doctor Adventures: Volume 2|
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|By:||Matthew Kresal, Owens Cross Roads, United States|
|Date:||Saturday 20 October 2018|
|Rating: || 8|
One of my favorite Big Finish releases of 2015 was the first volume of Big Finish's The Third Doctor Adventures. Like so many out there, I was initally skeptical of Tim Trealor effectively slipping into the large cape left behind by Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor before its release but was won over just minutes into the set. All of which left me waiting for the second volume which was released back in November So did it live up to the high standards of the first set?
Well Trealor certainly did. The Welsh actor builds on the successful performance in the first release, once again going from strength to strength. The vocal inflections are all there, the tones, the pitch, all of it to the point that I found myself forgetting on one or two occasions that I wasn't actually listening to Pertwee himself, especially in latter parts of the second story. Then there's his chemistry with Katy Manning's Jo Grant which harkens back to the best moments from that era as the two play off each other so beautifully. While he might not be totally spot-on for some, there is no doubting that Trealor has captured the spirit of this Doctor superbly and it is something that makes listening to this set an absolute pleasure.
Indeed, the performances are solid throughout. Katy Manning is in fine form as Jo, seeming to have better captured her more youthful voice than she sometimes has in previous releases. Both stories have strong supporting casts including major female characters in the form of Richenda Carey's Mother Finsey and Sandra Voe as Miss Barnett. Bernard Holley, a veteran of the Third Doctor's TV era, is among the cast in the first story playing a suitably stress inducing corporate manager in charge of a major project with a cast that also includes Nigel Peever and Karen Henson. The second story meanwhile features a suitably alien sounding George Asprey alongside Big Finish regulars such as Clare Buckfield as Jo's cousin and Richard Earl (perhaps best known to Big Finish listeners as the Dr. Watson of their Sherlock Holmes range) playing a very nice police inspector alongside Alex Lanipekun as the younger police sergeant. Like so many of their releases, this benefits greatly from the quality of acting talent that Big Finish brings to bare.
Like its predecessor, this volume contains two stories with one being out in space and the other on Earth. The Transcendence Of Ephros by Guy Adams is the opener with the Doctor and Jo arriving on the titular planet to find a religious group and Galactux Power Inc both awaiting an incredible event that ought otherwise to be impossible. While it gets off to a slow start, Transcendence Of Ephros quickly gather strength as it presents one twist and cliffhanger after another alongside some neat callbacks to the era on TV. The second story is the Earthbound The Hidden Realm by David Llewellyn which seems to fit into the era perfectly as the TARDIS team head off to Bramfield New Town where the husband of Jo's cousin has become just the latest in a series of disappearances dating back decades. It's a tale that calls to mind tales like The Daemons and Spearhead From Space as well as elements of Nigel Kneale's Quatermass II while also putting Llewellyn's own twist on it. That being said, the two stories perhaps suffer from being paired together as they both ultimately work around a very similar plot point in their latter half, something that perhaps nulls enjoyment of the latter story somewhat.
Elsewhere as well, I found myself missing things from the first set here. One of the things I loved about volume one (but that other listeners did not apparently) was the narration that Trealor supplied alongside his duties as the Third Doctor, something that gave it the sense of being like a missing story from the era ala the BBC TV soundtrack releases. Despite being a long-time Big Finish listener, I found myself having a hard time adapting to their usual format being played out with this Doctor for some reason. There's also the matter of the music which in that first release so wonderfully evoked the era but only half succeeds here as the score to Hidden Realm sounds like more out of the McCoy era than Pertwee's. These are largely minor niggles I admit but they are something that perhaps takes this release down a peg for this reviewer.
While I can't quite put it up on the same pedestal as I did volume one, volume two of the Third Doctor Adventures holds up well indeed. Tim Trealor continues to be an exemplary Third Doctor, capturing both the spirit of Pertwee as well as his chemistry with Katy Manning and both stories are solid outings that evoke very different sides of the era though also perhaps suffering from being paired together. If you're aching for more Third Doctor to experience, you could do a lot worse than check out this set.
|By:||David Layton, Los Angeles, United States|
|Date:||Monday 25 March 2019|
|Rating: || 8|
The second volume of the Third Doctor adventures continues the strong characteristics of the first set. Tim Treloar is magnificent in his evocation of Doctor 3, at many times making me feel that it really is Pertwee back in the role. Katy Manning still struggles a bit to get the right voice for her younger self, but she has recovered the cadences of her youthful self quite well. The set follows the Big Finish tradition of trying to evoke the period of the Doctor and characters. Thus, the stories have that feeling that they could have been played in the 1970s. Once again, we get a setting split, one story in Space, one on Earth. The first of these continues the environmental message of many Pertwee stories and adds to it some critique of novelty religions that become death cults. The second story has the hidden alien causes mischief vibe and a very strong part for Jo. If there is one idea linking both stories, it is this: don't trust sweet, little, old ladies.