Big Finish – Doctor Who: Entanglement review

The November release from the Big Finish Doctor Who – Early Adventures range is Entanglement. Written by noted writers Robert Khan and Tom Salinksy (writers of Brexit The Play), it’s a pastiche of Cambridge (and Oxford) as might have been in the 1930s complete with eccentric tutors, impenetrable college traditions and boisterous undergraduates all at Sedgwick College.

The story features the first Doctor (voiced by Peter Purves), as well as Steven Taylor (again Peter Purves) and Vicki (Maureen o’Brien) with both actors also sharing narration duty. The downside of a story set in 1930s Cambridge is (Vicki aside) an all-male cast, with two students Guy (Mark Edel-Hunt) and Kim (Sam Woolf) acting as the gateway into the story for the TARDIS team (and named for two of the Cambridge Spies who were at Trinity a few years earlier).

The plot gives Vicki enough to do but doesn’t over do her role; the gender imbalance is there and given attention but not so as to dominate the story. There are some interesting scenes between her and Steven giving us a sense of their relationship through their time together, with Steven very much the big brother.

Once some almost comic introductions conclude, we quickly meet the sinister Proctors (a sort of university behaviour watchdog who at this time patrolled the city with the university’s own constabulary (the Bulldogs) and the writers have merged the two ideas in pursuit of simplicity. We also meet two tutors, Professor Lewis (Philip Fox) and Professor Woolf (Richard Braine) before eventually finding the missing Master of college (or Provost as he is called here, presumably to avoid lots of tedious references to the Master as he hasn’t yet appeared in Doctor Who as far as this era is concerned.)

There’s a lot of fun behind a sinister plot including mind control, and Europe is also drifting towards war in the background. The writers cleverly balance a few threads, drop in some twists before raising the stakes at the end. All this and a slightly meta ending dancing near the fourth wall.

Entanglement, despite a few observations, is a sold piece of entertainment and another success for the range.