This is Mike Yates’ first encounter with the Doctor and the Brigadier, and inevitably it conflicts with some of the other pre-Terror of the Autons stories that have appeared over the years – notably Chris Bulis and Gary Russell’s Missing Adventures set post-Inferno. The story is read by Richard Franklin, who understandably comes alive when he’s playing Mike, although he gives a good rendition of both Nicholas Courtney and Jon Pertwee’s manner of delivery. Andrew Smith’s script features a UNIT of the Invasion era, still with its mobile command HQ in a Hercules aircraft, and a lot of troops at its disposal – there’s carefully no mention of Liz Shaw, so you can’t really tell when exactly it’s set.
Trevor Littledale (Big Finish’s erstwhile TIM from their much-missed Tomorrow People series) makes a good contrasting voice and although there are moments when his character could become cliched, he stays just the right side of the line.
The overarching theme of this series is now clear – although why events are happening we don’t yet know (I need to go back to listen to the first one again and see if things are a bit clearer with the benefit of hindsight). Hopefully this is a twist that will have various different ways of materialising during the story, otherwise the listener is going to be constantly on the look out for a game-changing contact.
Verdict: A good solid Third Doctor story. 7/10