The Third Doctor (Tim Treloar) is back again with the UNIT crew, Brigadear (John Culshaw), Srg. Benton (John Levene) and of course Jo Grant (Katy Manning) for two new adventures.
The Poison of the Daleks by Guy Adams
The Doctor and company are sent to help security at a laboratory that claims to be able to save the world from air pollution. Their system of filtration makes any pollutants disappear, something the Doctor knows is impossible. So where is the polluted air going? When our hero’s find the answer to that, they also find themselves face to eye piece with the Daleks.
We have here somewhat of a greatest hits for the Third Doctor era. The environmentally themed message (that resonated as clearly in the 70’s as it does today), UNIT being sent to investigate (or in this case protect) a new scientific discovery that is just too good to be true – and of course the Daleks.
I am enjoying seeing the team side of the Third Doctor play out, with Treloar’s Third Doctor as on point as usual and Culshaw, I think growing more comfortable with the Brigadier’s voice. Manning and Levene, falling straight into their parts as usual.
It’s a strong story and although it doesn’t really break any new ground, as with some Big Finish releases, it is a well told and fun tale, that captures the era nicely.
Operation Hellfire by Jonathan Barnes
Jo takes the Doctor to a reading from one of her favourite horror writers, he doesn’t hold out much hope for a fun evening. Then he senses the presence of a fellow Gallifreyan. This sets in motion event’s that lead the Doctor and Jo on a mission for the Timelords during World War 2 to find an amulet. To do so they will need help. Enter Winston Churchill (Ian McNeice).
This is a very driven and action based tale by Barnes, who has somewhat of a flair for these historical stories. Unlike the previous adventure I felt this more tended towards the newer Big Finish style of storytelling than the original Third Doctor style, as exemplified by the first story.
McNeice is on usual form as Churchill and it’s as ever lovely to see him sparing with another Doctor. If anything I would have liked to have him join the action earlier, to make the most of this interaction.
The story goes down the secret agent route as well, playing well into the parallel’s with the Third Doctor and James Bond, with this Doctor fitting in seamlessly with the brave acts of the daring do from WW2.
This new paradigm, established in the last set, of one UNIT team adventure and one of the Doctor with Jo seem to fit very nicely. So too have they mixed up the type of story to great effect. One very true to the original style, one with send the Third Doctor into a setting that fits that Doctor, but one which TV Doctor Who never gave him. Nicolas Briggs is behind the mic as director as well as in front of it as the tin despot’s, and as always gives his all to both.