AUDIO REVIEW: DOCTOR WHO – DOMAIN OF THE VOORD / AUTHOR: ANDREW SMITH / PUBLISHER: BIG FINISH / STARRING: WILLIAM RUSSELL, CAROLE ANN FORD, DAISY ASHFORD, ANDREW DICKENS, ANDREW BONE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Big Finish's new The Early Adventures range are full cast stories for the First Doctor with Ian Chesterton (Russell) and Susan (Foreman) being played by the original actors, who also voice the Doctor and Barbara respectively. Unlike the Companion Chronicles range, which has taken a break, these are played by as full a cast as is available and stories are told across four episodes.
For this tale, Andrew Smith has worked the Voord, a one-off (on TV) foe, into a three-dimensional threat. He gives them a detailed way of life and, in many respects, this is close to an origin story for the Voord, who last appeared on screen in Terry Nation’s 1964 story The Keys of Marinus. This rebirth into a more substantial form reflects the transition of the Companion Chronicles themselves to this new format.
From the beginning, the mood is dark and brooding. The style retains some of the feel of the Companion Chronicles, mostly in the set-up of the story and the handling of the scenes between the Doctor and Barbara. By the second disc, the atmosphere has intensified and the Voord emerge as a creation worthy of inclusion in the canon. They’ve come a long way since the rubber-suited entities of the show’s early years.
The music – reminiscent of “Mars” from Holst's The Planets – would not be out of place in a Quatermass tale. It's deserving of being played at a volume and on equipment able to convey the menace of the bass line.
Not everything is perfect – try as she might, Carole Ann Ford can’t quite separate her Susan from Barbara. This aside, the story thas an authenticity that supports the idea that (somehow) these audios are being told in black and white. The Companion Chronicles may be no more (at least as a regular series) but on the strength of this story The Early Adventures is a more than worthy successor.