Review: Doctor Who: Big Finish Audio: The Early Adventures 2.3: The Black Hole

DWEA0203_theblackhole_1417The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria arrive on a research station near a black hole which is suffering some odd effects…

This is an interesting addition to the Big Finish range, once again separating them from the continuity established in the novels, this time with regard to Patrick Troughton’s adventures. Without spoiling it for those who’ve yet to hear it, this deals with one of the larger continuity anomalies of Troughton’s time at the TARDIS controls, incorporating it into a wider story that also recasts another of the Doctor’s foes previously played by an actor now sadly deceased. Add to that Simon Guerrier’s knack for taking elements from across all of the show’s history (as he did with The Time Travellers back in the mists of…er.. time) and making them important plot points – this time something from the last season on TV – and you’ve got the recipe for a complicated timey-wimey plot!

Which, thankfully, all holds together, aided by an appropriately initially restrained performance by Rufus Hound and a firm hand on the directorial front from Lisa Bowerman. It’s unusual in that the narration is read by someone other than one of the main cast members – although it’s appropriate in one way, given that both Tom and Colin Baker narrated previous Troughton stories on audio! – but after a few moments, you accept that David Warner is purely there as omniscient narrator… and it’s a precedent that I hope is followed for stories where a narrator is deemed necessary. Deborah Watling hasn’t had as much opportunity to reprise Victoria as some of the other former companions, but when she pitches her voice higher, the Victorian girl’s character shines through. Frazer Hines, as ever, gives good value as both Jamie and the Doctor, with what seems like more than the usual number of scenes where he’s talking to himself for some time…

There’s an odd melodramatic tympani roll just before a key revelation but otherwise the story has an enjoyable musical score and sound design, and purists will be relieved that there’s not the irreparable damage to the timeline that you begin to think is coming.

Verdict: An intriguing interpolation into Season 5. 8/10

Paul Simpson

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