September’s Doctor Who Short Trip from Big Finish, a short story narrated by an original star of the show, brings us a character piece from the early days of the show when the Doctor had three travelling companions – a dynamic soon to be mirrored with the launch of Series 11.
With Ian and Barbara still trying to come to terms with their situation, Barbara is gamely trying to keep a track of the hours and days; she is clearly pining for home and has convinced herself it is a Sunday. Ian, for his part, has been observing the Doctor and his interactions with the TARDIS console – convinced that the old man has not a clue how to really operate the machine and is learning by trial and error.
The story very much focuses on the personalities of this initial TARDIS crew, but that is not to say it is without incident as the Doctor’s obsessions get them in trouble with the local residents of their destination. Writer Paul Phipps has a great handle on the characters and we loved his characterisation of the Doctor, on a quest for a particular plant and running his companions ragged while he seems full of boundless energy. We also enjoyed Barbara’s warm reminiscences of home and Sunday lunch with her mother.
Naturally, Carole Ann Ford returns to her role as Susan perfectly and is she an assured narrator, ably capturing the spirit of her fellow performers. It is also interesting to note that she has been cast in the third volume of The First Doctor Adventures, which re-imagines this era of the show with David Bradley and the cast of An Adventure In Space And Time, though in what capacity we are not yet sure.
It is a testament to the breadth of the Doctor Who Short Trips range that we can go from Jackie Tyler and the Meta-Crisis Doctor, to the earliest team, to an outing for The Master in a matter of months – and this latest outing is really worth a listen.