The Ninth Doctor Adventures - Hidden Depths

The Ninth Doctor Adventures: Hidden Depths – audio boxset review

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Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor returns for a seventh boxset of adventures.

This time, he enjoys three stories loosely themed around threats that lurk beneath the surface.

The Ninth Doctor Adventures - Hidden Depths

As well as encountering old aquatic adversaries in a surprising setting, he tackles alien terrors in a 19th Century German spa and meets former companions in a dangerous retail environment.

The Seas of Titan

The tale of humanity verses the Earth’s former inhabitants has been told a couple of times onscreen, but never quite like this. Writer Lizbeth Myles transplants the battle of the species to a fascinating new setting on the moon of Titan. Here, neither Sea Devils nor humans are indigenous – both have settled after leaving the Earth. As the Doctor finds himself once again stuck in the middle, can peaceful co-existence finally be achieved?

Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor Adventures: Hidden Depths - The Seas of Titan cover art

We discover the aquatic reptiles as the Doctor does, while assisting an exo-oceanographer in her scrap-built submarine. Diana Hendry (Sasha Behar) works out of humanity’s last remaining colony on Titan; with technology moving on, the moon’s importance as a refuelling stop has long since passed. The human colonists remain though, eking out an existence with dwindling supplies and failing technology.

In the guest cast, Nicholas Briggs provides the voices of the Sea Devils, including their peaceful-seeking leader Mirtar, while Ferdy Roberts plays the human colony Governor Soloman Reed. Yasmin Mwanza also impresses in dual roles, as the Sea Devil Taroth and Dr Hendry’s assistant Rachel – and we wish the latter’s story had been dwelt on a little more and given a stronger resolution. Indeed, the finale all came rather thick and fast – perhaps there could have been a little less exploration at the start?

Lay Down Your Arms

Since Doctor Who burst back onto our screens in 2005, one of the joys of the show has been the celebrity historical; from Charles Dickens to Mary Shelley, we have spent time with numerous luminaries from history. It is a particular joy however, when they shine a light on a lesser-known figure such as Mary Seacole.

Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor Adventures: Hidden Depths - Lay Down Your Arms cover art

‘Lay Down Your Arms’ does just that, as we meet Bertha Kinzky (Kate Sissons). She is a spirited woman who is keen to escape the speculative matrimonial plans of her domineering mother Sophie, played amusingly by Diana Quick, and to find a path for herself.

What follows is a proper comic romp, as Bertha aids the Doctor in foiling a slightly bonkers alien incursion at a 19th Century German health spa. Lisa McMullin’s story is bags of fun and concludes while revealing elements from the life of a remarkable woman we had criminally never heard of… which was doubtless entirely the point.


The final tale finds the Doctor in a seemingly ordinary setting – that of a 21st Century furniture store. While it might not be the most obvious location, writer John Dorney deftly holds up the flatback retail concept for inspection. In it, he finds plenty that is worthy of suspicion; from navigating the store, to the food, to the fact that shoppers pick items from the warehouse themselves. In fact, the whole psychology of that shopping experience enjoys a light roasting.

Doctor Who: The Ninth Doctor Adventures: Hidden Depths - Flatpack cover art

As well as the retail therapy, ‘Flatpack’ also reunites the Doctor with a couple who are his former companions – Liv Chenka (Nicola Walker) and Tania Bell (Rebecca Root). From their point of view, they last saw the Eighth Doctor at the end of Stranded; for him, it was a very long time ago. Liv, still adjusting to a non-time travelling lifestyle, reels at meeting this later Doctor despite being familiar with regeneration. We loved how this was handled; rather than the catharsis of an episode like ‘School Reunion’, it tackles the complicated grief such a meeting could provoke.

You may notice we are not really discussing much of what transpires, that is in order to preserve the plot. Suffice to say this is a cleverly constructed, satisfying tale which gives the three principals plenty to do. Oh, and you may never look at furniture shopping in quite the same way again!

In summary

Christopher Eccleston continues to sparkle, so much so that it becomes difficult to recall those dark times when it seemed he would never return to his Doctor. He brings such energy and commitment to the role, coupled with a lightness of touch; it is true off mic too, where he continues to speak of his respect for the work of the writers.

With the usual exemplary production values, under the stewardship of director Ken Bentley, this is another engaging set of adventures.

Four Stars

Doctor Who – The Ninth Doctor Adventures: Hidden Depths is available on CD and download from Big Finish.

Shades of Fear

The next boxset of The Ninth Doctor Adventures is due out in February 2023.

Alien threats come in many forms – and many different hues. A charity shop where customers vanish, a 1920s gentleman’s club besieged by giant plants, and a distant colony planet where death hides in darkness – wherever they manifest, the Doctor is on hand to fight every shade of fear…

The three stories in Shades of Fear are ‘The Colour Of Terror’ by Lizzie Hopley, ‘The Blooming Menace’ by James Kettle and ‘Red Darkness’ by Roy Gill.

Frank Skinner and Christopher in the Big Finish car park

With those details announced, the headline news is that Frank Skinner guest stars in ‘The Colours of Terror’.

The actor, presenter and comic is, of course, no stranger to Doctor Who. As well as being a die-hard fan of the show himself, he played Perkins on screen in ‘Mummy on the Orient Express’. For Big Finish, as well as having appeared opposite Tom Baker and Paul McGann, he also stars in their engaging version of the classic crime drama Callan.

Doctor Who – The Ninth Doctor Adventures: Shades of Fear is available to pre-order from Big Finish.