Writer: Nigel Robinson
Director: John Ainsworth
Running Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Note: The “Destiny of the Doctor” series is a collaboration between Big Finish and AudioGo, running through the lives of Doctors 1-11, celebrating the TV show’s 50th anniversary. Each story is narrated by a specific companion of the Doctor, sort of like Big Finish’s “Companion Chronicles” range, and has one other actor.
Companion and Narrator: Susan (Carole Ann Ford)
Summary: Shoreditch, London, 1963. The Beatles have beaten John Smith and the Common Men to No. 1 and satellites are being launched in outer space. Back down on Earth, strange goings-on are occurring: the normally placid teenagers of Coal Hill are running riot and a master thief is stealing highly specialised equipment.
Schoolgirl Susan Foreman just wants an easy life for herself and her grandfather, the mysterious Doctor. She wants to be liked and accepted by Cedric and all the other pupils at Coal Hill School. But there’s trouble in the streets and bombsites around Totter’s Lane.
The teenagers are becoming dangerous… Their mission: to hunt down anyone different, or alien… Susan’s quiet life is about to spiral out of control. Having inadvertently started drawing attention to herself, she finds herself in a desperate situation. Suddenly, the chase is on and she and her grandfather are now the hunted. (from Big Finish’s description)
Review: This was not a bad start. I was actually expecting something different, but I liked it. Susan is a great narrator, except when she has to read Hartnell’s lines. Then she sounds like a bratty child rather than a wise, somewhat eccentric old man. However, when she reads her own lines, she seems more like a teenager is supposed to act.
One of the things I like best is that there are signs of the Doctor’s concern for Susan. In “An Unearthly Child”, the Doctor is so grumpy and uncaring that Ian actually has to stop him from killing a caveman.
My main problem is that having only two people in the cast takes a little getting used to. Also, the story relies too much on nostalgia. It tries too hard to be the sixties. But like I said, it’s worth a listen if you like Hartnell’s era.
Overall Review: 7/10
Continuity: This story is set before the events of An Unearthly Child, before the Doctor and Susan met Ian and Barbara.
Trivia: This series marks the first appearance of any Doctors who were in New Who.