Review: Doctor Who: Big Finish Audio: Short Trips 6.5: This Sporting Life

DWST0605_thissportinglife_1417The Doctor, Steven and Dodo get in a bit of a pickle…

There’s a wonderful air of innocence about Una McCormack’s delightful addition to the Short Trips range, which brings us back round to the adventures of the First Doctor once more. This comes from late in the original Doctor’s travels, with Steven Taylor and Dodo at his side (although I’m not totally sure why the latter didn’t choose to stay in London rather than get back in the TARDIS, given the Ship’s unreliability…)

However, beneath the whimsical surface – with Steven playing private detective following someone who seems to know more than they should about an extra-terrestrial artefact – McCormack tackles the question of immigration, and everyone’s obligation to those who find themselves, through no fault of their own, trapped on these shores. The parallels between the fate of those fleeing Nazi persecution and aliens shipwrecked on Earth are clear, but the wider resonance for the listener is there, if not hammered home as bluntly as some might have done.

Peter Purves continues to provide a strong version of both his own character and the First Doctor, and gets the quizzical air that Jackie Lane brought to Dodo (as well as the occasional variable accent!). With some appropriate music and good use of the soundscape, it all adds up to a highly enjoyable half hour or so.

Verdict: A great recreation of the bygone age. 9/10

Paul Simpson

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