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Spirit of the Times

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Monday 21 February 2022
Rating:   7

For this set of Third Doctor adventures, the Big Finish crew are keeping with the idea of the spirit of the times, of recreating Doctor Who 1972-3. The pattern of having one UNIT story and one other world story continues, with modification. They mix it up this time by having the other world be the Earth's past, namely Britain in World War II, and by taking UNIT to outer space. The first story is Poison of the Daleks, which conflates the UNIT and other world adventures by taking The Brigadier and Benton off Earth. The story itself follows the environmental concerns so important to 1970s Doctor Who. UNIT have been called in to look at a new government project that supposedly cleans the air of pollution. The Doctor doesn't believe it for a moment. We find out that somehow the Daleks are part of this project. It is a typical Doctor 3 Dalek story in that the Daleks are more an indirect than direct threat to Earth. The major rationale is to get The Brigadier (expertly played by John Culshaw) and Benton onto an alien planet so we can see how they really work together as military experts, each in his own way. The next story is Operation: Hellfire, in which the Time Lords send Doctor 3 and Jo on a mission to recover a powerful artifact that has somehow made its way to Earth in the 1940s. So, Big Finish has created the Doctor Who historical that Doctor 3 never had. This Time Lord mission is a pretext for a World War II secret agents story with spies, covert operations, British traitors working for the Third Reich and a bit of supernaturalism on top of it. It's fun, though not deep.

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