Companion Chronicles – The Second Doctor Vol 1

I’ve reviewed each of these stories individually, but here’s my rundown of the whole collection.

But first, listen to the wonderful trailer, which is a homage to Patrick Troughton’s famous trailer for Web of Fear that was broadcast to warn kiddies their parents might be scared of the upcoming serial.

This collection is halfway between typical Companion Chronicles, which usually feature one companion actor and one guest, and an Early Adventure, full-cast dramas with moments of narrative. The Mouthless Dead and The Story of Extinction are closer to Early Adventures, because they each have three cast members voicing multiple parts, The Integral is a two-hander between Wendy and Frazer, and The Edge is a traditional Companion Chronicle, with Frazer taking care of all the TARDIS crew and guest actor Robert Whitelock voicing the antagonist(s).

Thematically, this boxset traces the arc of Jamie’s character over the course of his adventures, from greenhorn getting pointers from Ben, to Victoria’s protector (although she also bosses him around), to the Doctor’s old friend gradually coming to grips with bratty, brainy Zoe until they, too become friends. Also, this set showcases Frazer’s amazing ability to capture the spirit of the Second Doctor and mimic Patrick Troughton so well you often forget he’s not really there.

Some stories in this anthology are better than others, of course. Just as with the Early Adventures, it can be a little distracting having the format switch from narrative (“he said/I said…”) to “in situ” drama. But I enjoyed every one of them and listened to each more than once.

Here’s my ratings, which may or may not match anyone else’s impressions. Click the links to go to my full reviews.

  1. The Mouthless Dead: Spooky ghost story, historical, and rather touching love story, the latter a bit muted by the fact that it’s told in third person narrative. I originally rated this audio a 7, mostly because I was a bit skeptical of the pretexts for the “ghosts,” but on re-listens I’m tempted to bump it to an 8 because of enjoyable performances.
  2. The Story of Extinction: An “unknown danger stalks paradise” thriller with thoughtful character exploration for Jamie and Victoria. I absolutely loved it on my first listen, rating it a 9, but now that I’ve gotten over my excitement at Jamie and Victoria getting some “slice of life” scenes of a sort usually missing in early Who, I think it’s probably more like an 8 at best, due to less action/excitement than most audios.
  3. The Integral: Evil scientists, dangerous patients, creepy aliens, Jamie and Zoe butting heads while the Doctor tries to mediate between them: it’s a good, solid adventure, but it didn’t grab me particularly. 7.
  4. The Edge:  Jamie may be completely out of his depth in this advanced scientific establishment embedded in a fantastic sci-fi setting, but he still gets to be the Big Damned Hero in this great final adventure. High 8. Fun, fee-good story.