The audio adventures of the Second Doctor, alongside classic companions Jamie, Polly and Ben, continue in this latest release from Big Finish. The Outliers brings the TARDIS travellers to an underground town on a far away planet, where a corporation is mining for some sort of mineral (bet there’s no sinister twist there...). They soon discover that the town is gradually flooding, miners are going missing, and something lives below the surface of the water...
It’s an enticing story from writer Simon Guerrier, at once feeling at place in the Troughton era and picking up on some of the anti-corporate themes of newer Doctor Who. It also has an evocatively depicted setting, with scenes such as the underground houses, the barnacle-lined caves, and the doomed mine all vividly brought to life in the prose to the extent that it’s easy to visualise them, and there’s an interesting monster revealed in the final act as well – though one of its powers does seem an odd non sequitur from the story leading up to that point.
Guerrier characterises all four main heroes well and gives them lots to do as they move through this world, while also giving us some well developed guest characters in the form of Alistair Petrie’s Richard Tipple – though introduced as a stock suit-wearing corporate villain, he turns out to have a few more layers of motivation than you might think – and Matilda Ziegler’s Chatura Sharma, who becomes a useful ally to the team.
Anneke Wills puts in an assured performance as narrator, helping bring Guerrier’s imaginative world to life in the mind of the listener, while sufficiently differing her narration voice from her Polly voice. Frazer Hines, meanwhile, continues to do a top-notch Troughton impression alongside playing Jamie, and Elliot Chapman rounds off that main cast nicely as Ben. Production and sound design is as high quality as we’ve come to expect from Big Finish, with some really nice music coming into play in the fourth chapter when the story switches tone.
With a resonant story and an intriguing world, alongside some solid takes on the classic characters, this is another good fix for fans of Doctor Who circa the late 1960s.
DOCTOR WHO – THE EARLY ADVENTURES – THE OUTLIERS / AUTHOR: SIMON GUERRIER / DIRECTOR: LISA BOWERMAN / STARRING: ANNEKE WILLS, FRAZER HINES, ELLIOT CHAPMAN, ALISTAIR PETRIE / RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER TBC