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Reviews for The Second Doctor: Volume One

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A staggeringly good set....

By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Monday 12 September 2016
Rating:   10

This is the second doctor's era almost to a tee. It boasts some exceptionally good stories. It has the ever present superb rendition of Patrick Troughton by the brilliant Frazer Hines! And it boasts the wonderful Elliot Chapman who does great service to the late Mike Craze in that Ben is brought to life very well again for audio A real decent tribute to Mike, who was a brilliant companion. And together with the three other companions of the Second Doctor's run, Anneke, Debbie and Wendy, this makes for a truly awesome set!

The first story is the Mouthless Dead. This story boasts one of the creepiest ever scores for a big finish production. It really freaked me and I'm a 30 year old. And the backstory is really decent and involved around the mystery of the Unknown Soldier just after the tragic World War 1. This story is brilliantly paced and superbly acted by Frazer, Anneke and Elliot. It possesses a creepiness that BFP don't tend to d all that often. And yet again, the sound scenes are very very believable and superbly done. This is a brilliant bringing to life of a fantastic black and white era.

The Story of Extinction is a surprising and yet touching story in that it features some loving sparring between Debbie and Frazer that really put a lump in the throat of this listener. Its poignant and very well told again. And the villains are interesting too. The fact that Jamie is learning to read really comes to a lovely apex in the great last scene. Frazer and Debbie definitely help me remember yet again why the second doctor era is my favourite in the shows history!

The Integral is another very good and creepy story. And that it actually has a fight between Jamie and Zoe means that Wendy and Frazer get some terrific moments when they try to assert their views as correct. And the aliens here are very interesting, and the overall feel of the story too is that its a base under siege tale, but in reverse for once! This tale works splendidly well and is help yet again by brilliant sound design.

The Edge, for me, just speaks volumes of why Frazer has always been my favourite companion. And the ides that he has to save the Doctor and Zoe too this time is neat and brilliant. That it is his loyalty and bravery that really saves the day is just nostalgic brilliance to the helm. And yet again the sound design is superb. And that this story ends with a lovely scene where the Doctor admits he is very proud of Jamie is touching and memorable and not undeserved in the slightest.

James Robert McCrimmon was the best ever companion the series has ever made. His character was intensely likeable, and his loyalty to the Doctor was unwavering, despite some tests along the way. And for me, this set from Big Finish illuminates Frazer in particular to the full. Which is no more than Frazer truly deserves. He shall forever be my favourite companion and this set of companion chronicles is the perfect way to celebrate his wonderful character!
This set boasts all and every ingredient of the era its based on!

It Takes You Back

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Tuesday 5 October 2021
Rating:   8

This box set in the Companion Chronicles series continues the trend of playing with the format and moving it closer to full drama. There are four stories covering the Troughton period. The first is The Mouthless Dead, from year 1 of Troughton, with Polly, Ben, and Jamie, narrated by Frazier Hines and Anneke Wills. To give a full complement of TARDIS crew, Elliot Chapman was brought in to play Ben. I must say, Chapman is fantastic as Ben, not only sounding a bit like Michael Craze in timbre, but imitating his vocal mannerisms with remarkable accuracy. The story itself is a mixture of Dickens' "The Signalman" and Sapphire and Steel. Dead soldiers haunt a lonely signal station when the train carrying The Unknown Warrior is passing through on its way to Westminster. Next is "The Story of Extinction" with Jamie and Victoria. This one is farthest from the Doctor 2 era on TV, and would have been impossible to create on TV. It mixes computer/internet technology as if viewed or imagined from a 1967 perspective. Frazier Hines and Deborah Watling trade narration duties here and this feels like it is mostly a Victoria story. It involves a special kind of paper that anticipates what one wants to read. The third story, "The Integral," is the weakest in my view. This one involves Jamie and Zoe. The TARDIS crew end up in a kind of mental facility for victims of a violent computer game that makes players become raging monsters, the computer "virus" becoming a kind of human "virus." Wendy Padbury gets to stretch her acting talents on this, voicing multiple parts and making each a distinct character. This story has a stock bad guy and rather predictable pattern, but picks up on a central theme of the whole set that becomes fully apparent at this point - the education of Jamie. That theme reaches its climax in "The Edge," which gives us another stock baddie, but focuses almost exclusively on Jamie. Frazier Hines has sole narration duty on this one. The final story is the one that really feels that it could have been done on TV in the late 60s. All told, this set is one of the better entries in the Companion Chronicles and definitely worth checking out.

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