Review: Doctor Who - The Beginning / Author: Marc Platt / Publisher: Big Finish Productions / Starring: Carole Ann Ford, Terry Molloy / Release Date: Available Now
With November 2013 being the most important month in this, the anniversary year for Doctor Who, Big Finish has risen to the challenge and presented us with The Beginning by Marc Platt. This is in the Companion Chronicles range which features a returning actor who has played a companion along with one other. In this instance Carole Ann Ford reprises her role as Susan with Terry Molloy playing Quadrigger Stoyn – more on him later. Carole Ann Ford also narrates and provides the First Doctor’s voice as needed.
The Beginning takes us, as the title might suggest, to the moment when Susan leaves Gallifrey in an old Type 40 time capsule accompanying her grandfather as they flee their home world. What they hadn’t imagined is that with them would be an engineer, Quadrigger Stoyn, busy decommissioning the capsule prior to its destruction. They leave Gallifrey and happen upon a world named the Earth, and as if that were not enough encounter a range of strange aliens apparently populating the planet early in its history. We then have the tension between Stoyn and the Doctor as they wrestle for control of the situation, aliens who try to dismantle the TARDIS causing a bubble of frozen time and a jump to a future where humanity has evolved. Here lunar vehicles hold Susan and the Doctor as they realise that the aliens that seeded the planet now wish to destroy it. It is all splendid stuff and ends with the Doctor developing his fascination with Earth and Quadrigger Stoyn swearing revenge at being abandoned.
Carole Ann Ford recreates the Susan who was the Unearthly Child of the original episode – she is naïve, youthful yet steely. The Doctor has the blunt edges that repeated exposure to humanity will polish and Terry Molloy’s Stoyn is a well-realised victim of circumstance who chooses to become a foe. The story takes great care to juggle as much continuity as it can and in the hands of Marc Platt (who wrote the fan favourite novel Lungbarrow) the story keeps faith with The Name of the Doctor, The Doctor’s Wife and Remembrance of the Daleks to name but a few.
This is a wonderful story told with great charm and respect which answers some questions yet still leaves others for fans to debate. The next two months see Quadrigger Stoyn meet the Second and Fourth Doctors. We can’t wait!