The Early Adventures have taken various different forms, with Nick Briggs in many ways making this recreation of the late Troughton era feel like not just a narrated soundtrack of a Lost Adventure, but a reading of the Target novelisation of it. There are numerous visual scenes – Briggs homages the era with lots of people moving in darkened places – and we don’t simply learn what they’re doing; we get to hear their thoughts and planning. There’s the odd moment early on where this doesn’t work quite so well (a scene ends with the narrator repeating information we’ve just been told) but by episodes 3 and 4, it makes for gripping drama.
Not very often am I taken by surprise in one of these audios, but the fourth episode of manages to do that, as the Cybermen’s plan is revealed in all its glory. All the clues were there, but I hadn’t put them together. It’s just one of many neat ideas in this highly enjoyable tale.
As Wendy Padbury points out in the extras, it is a simple story, making it very much of its time. Straightforward and linear might be slightly more complimentary terms for this latest contribution to what might be termed the NICE project (“Nick’s Interstitial Cybermen Episodes”) as Briggs weaves his story around elements of The Invasion, albeit not quite to the extent of his Tomb of the Cybermen homage last year. It also gives him plenty of opportunity to play with different Cyber-voices!
Frazer Hines and Padbury recreate their own roles alongside Hines’ Troughton with some aplomb, and it’s nice to hear some new voices in the guest cast. Add in some suitably Space Adventures-esque music, and you have another winner for the range.
Verdict: An excellent addition to the era. 9/10