‘SHADOW OF DEATH’ (DOTD)
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Tribute for Patrick Troughton – Celebrating 50 Years of ‘Doctor Who’
February 2013. It’s time to celebrate the Second Doctor era of ‘Doctor Who’ with Patrick Troughton!
There’s always been something special about the Patrick Troughton era of ‘Doctor Who’ for me. I first saw Patrick’s Doctor in ‘The Invasion’ on DVD in 2006. Since then I’ve seen Patrick’s Doctor in stories such as ‘The Tomb of the Cybermen’; ‘The Mind Robber’; ‘The Krotons’ and ‘The War Games’.
I’ve enjoyed seeing the adventures of the Second Doctor, especially those with his companions; Frazer Hines as Jamie and Wendy Padbury as Zoe. For the 50th anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’, I wrote my personal fan-fiction story with the Second Doctor; Jamie and Zoe to celebrate the Second Doctor era.
‘Destiny of the Doctor’, a series of audio stories, produced by Big Finish and AudioGo, continues to celebrate 50 years of ‘Doctor Who’. This series continues with ‘Shadow of Death’, featuring the Second Doctor; Jamie and Zoe. It is performed by Frazer Hines as Jamie from the TV series and guest stars Evie Dawney as Sophie.
‘Shadow of Death’ is by Simon Guerrier, who knows the Doctor; Jamie and Zoe inside-out. Simon wrote for the Second Doctor team before; as he adapted ‘Prison in Space’ by Dick Sharples for audio. ‘Shadow of Death’ is another style of storytelling in the ‘Companion Chronicles’/Lost Stories’ format.
I’ve had the CD cover of ‘Shadow of Death’ signed by Frazer Hines, when I saw him at the ‘Regenerations 2013’ convention in Swansea, September 2013. I’ve also had the CD cover signed by writer Simon Guerrier, who I met at the ‘Big Blue Box 2’ convention in Tunbridge Wells, March 2013.
When I listened to this story, I thought of the ‘base-under-siege’ stories seen from the Second Doctor era. The Doctor; Jamie and Zoe arrive on a planet that is threatened by a ‘shadowy’ force. The ‘shadow’ touches people and ages them to death, which is a frightening and disturbing concept.
There are a lot of concepts involving ‘time’, which got me a little confused. But that didn’t stop me enjoying the story as I found it engaging to find out how the Doctor; Jamie and Zoe were going to defeat this ‘shadowy’ force and recover Sophie’s research. The pulsar is such an intriguing concept.
This story feels very like it came from the late 1960s (as before with ‘Hunters of Earth’ from 1963). I could easily imagine the black-and-white texture of this story. It could easily have taken place during Season 6. In terms of continuity, I would like to place this between ‘The Invasion’ and ‘The Krotons’.
This performed and narrated by Frazer Hines, who played Jamie in the TV series. Not only does he play Jamie in this, but he also plays the Doctor and Zoe. His impersonation of Patrick’s Doctor is spot on, as he knows how Patrick speaks and sounds and shifts dialogue between characters effortlessly.
I’ve met Frazer at ‘Doctor Who’ conventions over the years. I’ve enjoyed sharing with him what my favourite stories with him as Jamie are. Frazer is clearly a nice chap and is very good at convention in making jokes on the panels and at signings. He loves his work on ‘Doctor Who’, even with Big Finish.
I like that writer Simon Guerrier has given the Second Doctor lots of gags and his traits of behaviour are authentic as they were in the TV series. The business with the ‘hand slamming on the wall and hurts it’ was inspired and funny. I like it when the Doctor’s serious as he’s confronting the `shadow’.
I found Jamie and Zoe well-treated in this story. I like it when Jamie gets to show how brave he is and how fiercely loyal he is to the Doctor. I also like how he gets bewildered by the things he doesn’t understand, especially with the concepts of time mentioned at the start and at the end of the story.
Zoe gets to be technically knowledgeable in this adventure, especially when she deals with some computers aboard the pulsar. She also helps to save Jamie’s life. I love the comedy moment where the Doctor and Jamie try to open the door but can’t; and then Zoe steps in and manages to open it.
Evie Dawney guest stars as Sophie in this story. Sophie is a Russian commander aboard the pulsar. She put me in mind of the international crews that were aboard the space stations and spaceships in the ‘base under stories’ of the Second Doctor era. Evie is very good as a female Russian commander.
The climax of this adventure was very fast-paced to listen to, as the tension increases when Jamie, Zoe and the others are in trouble. But the revelation of what this ‘shadow’ turns out to be was quite astonishing. I thought this ‘shadowy’ creature was evil, but there’s more to it as the story develops.
In terms of how the ‘DOTD’ stories link up so far, there seems to be a cameo appearance of a ‘future Doctor’ in every story. I wondered who this ‘future Doctor’ was and it turns out to be the Eleventh Doctor. I was excited and wondered what was going on and how this series was going to continue.
There aren’t any CD extras, apart from the Second Doctor and Jamie’s biographies in the CD sleeve notes. If you purchase the complete ‘DOTD’ series as a bundle from Big Finish, there’s a behind-the-scenes making-of documentary on the series called ‘Meeting with Destiny’ with ‘The Time Machine’.
‘Shadow of Death’ is a very enjoyable audio adventure from the ‘Destiny of the Doctor’ series to celebrate the Second Doctor era. It feels like a ‘base under siege’ story and is certainly wonderfully narrated and performed by Frazer Hines. I was looking forward to what was next in this audio series.
‘Shadow of Death’ (DOTD) rating – 7/10
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