I’m delighted that we’ve got new adventures in a new format for the Companion Chronicles, Big Finish’s original way of incorporating stories for the earlier Doctors. When the regular range came to an end a few months back, it seemed as if this particular brand of storytelling was disappearing, which would have been a real shame: some of the most telling insights into the characters from those early days have come from these stories, and their use of the companions’ point of view.
Martin Day’s opener for the First Doctor box set comes from a period before An Unearthly Child (one that’s easier to use now that the departure from Gallifrey has been canonised in The Name of the Doctor), although, given the number of Earth references in the story, it’s probably worth considering that Susan is telling it to Ian and Barbara one quiet night in the TARDIS. It’s a nice slow build: there’s no one other than Carole Ann Ford for a lot of the early part of the story as Susan deals with the Doctor’s reaction to an injury, and characters are gradually introduced.
There’s an interesting choice made in the way that key pieces of backstory are revealed which at the time I wasn’t sure worked but on reflection, it does, particularly given the Doctor’s reaction to events when he learns about them. Day has captured Susan (no last name)’s character well, and Ford gives a strong performance.
Verdict: Very much a Companion Chronicle focusing on Susan rather than a First Doctor story, this kicks off the set well. 8/10