Review: Doctor Who: Big Finish Audio: CC 7.07: The Flames of Cadiz

The Flames of Cadiz coverThe First Doctor, Susan, Ian and Barbara become embroiled with the Spanish Inquisition, and Ian gets a chance to meet a hero…

If it’s January, it must be a William Hartnell story – at last, that’s the way it feels, with the first Destiny of the Doctor tale, The Reign of Terror coming out on DVD, Eoin Colfer’s contribution to Puffin’s eleven Doctors series, and this. Interestingly all of them are set during or before the show’s first season, so there’s an awful lot of Susan as well.

If it wasn’t for the Companion Chronicle branding – and the fact that its existence couldn’t have stayed hidden for so long – I would be convinced that this was an actual story from that era which had been given the Lost Stories treatment by Big Finish. Platt has given us various different versions of the First Doctor over the years – from the flashbacks in Lungbarrow to the Unbound incarnation – and he’s a character he knows well. The well-meaning near-catastrophic action which nearly causes the problem he believes he’s solving is so right for this early portrayal of the Doctor, and the reactions of his companions ring true.

That’s just one touch within a story full of such accuracies. William Russell and Carole Ann Ford evoke the spirit of their fellow actors and the whole tenor of the period, with perfectly pitched music and soundscape – a triumph for Lisa Bowerman’s direction.

A lot of Big Finish’s recent output has veered close to getting 10/10, but I’m glad to have waited. In terms of an evocation of its era, and a fitting start to the anniversary year, this is spot on.

Verdict: If you only buy one Who-related item this month, make it this. 10/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order The Flames of Cadiz from Big Finish


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