‘HUNTERS OF EARTH’ (DOTD)
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Tribute for William Hartnell – Celebrating 50 Years of ‘Doctor Who’
It’s the 50th anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’!
January 2013. It’s time to celebrate the First Doctor era of ‘Doctor Who’ with William Hartnell!
I was introduced to ‘Doctor Who’ by my Dad, as William Hartnell was his Doctor. I’ve seen the First Doctor’s stories from the ‘The Beginning’ DVD box set to ‘The Reign of Terror’ on DVD. For the 50th anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’, I wrote my personal fan-fiction story with the First Doctor; Ian; Barbara and Susan to celebrate the First Doctor era.
Of course, this ties in to the audio CD series to celebrate the 50th anniversary of ‘Doctor Who’. This CD audio series is called ‘Destiny of the Doctor’ and it was produced both by Big Finish and AudioGo. I was thrilled to bits when I heard about this new series of audios from January to November, 2013.
I love the Big Finish audios and I was looking forward to the fact that this series of audios would feature the first eleven Doctors with an adventure from William Hartnell’s Doctor to Matt Smith’s Doctor. It fulfilled the 50th anniversary for me with the absence of a multi-Doctor story for that year.
The ‘Destiny of the Doctor’ series starts with celebrating the First Doctor era in ‘Hunters of Earth’ by Nigel Robinson. This story features the First Doctor with his granddaughter Susan. ‘Hunters of Earth’ is performed/narrated by Carole Ann Ford as Susan from the TV series and guest stars Tam Williams as Cedric.
I’ve had the CD cover of ‘Hunters of Earth’ signed by Carole Ann Ford, who I met her at the ‘Project Motor Mouth 2’ convention in Slough, August 2013. I didn’t get to chat to Carole much, but it was nice to meet her.
‘Hunters of Earth’ is set prior to ‘An Unearthly Child’. It takes place at Coal Hill School in Shoreditch, London 1963 where the First Doctor and Susan first come to Earth. The Doctor needs to repair the TARDIS. Susan attends to Coal Hill School in order to avoid attention, to which inevitably she does.
This story certainly has a 1960s feel to it. Nigel Robinson clearly is the right person to pen this tale. The 1960s elements are all here, from the Beatles; to transistor radios; to Eagle comics and students at coffee shops. It’s a nostalgic tale with echoes of London recovering from the Second World War.
‘Hunters of Earth’ is told in the style of a Companion Chronicle from Big Finish. But instead of the story told from Susan’s point of view, it’s narrated in the third person in a ‘Lost Stories’ style of story-telling. Carole Ann Ford narrates the story and plays Susan, the Doctor and many other characters.
Carole Ann Ford is a superb narrator. She kept me engaged whilst she both read and performed as Susan in this story. I like how this story focuses on Susan’s story when she lives in 60s London with her grandfather and when she debates whether to stay and fit in with everyone at Coal Hill School.
I enjoyed hearing how the First Doctor was portrayed in this story. This is the amoral, dismissive; superior; alien version of the First Doctor before ‘An Unearthly Child’. The Doctor is disregarding the human race of Earth in 1963, but I like the loving relationship he has with his granddaughter, Susan.
Tam Williams guest stars as Cedric, a young man who befriends Susan at Coal Hill School. The relationship between Susan and Cedric was nice to hear and it felt like a close friendship. But as the plot thickens, there are twists between Susan and Cedric and the revelation is quite heart-breaking.
A future Doctor makes an appearance in this adventure with the First Doctor and Susan. This occurs in a scene at the coffee shop where the First Doctor and Susan hear a message on the radio. I wasn’t sure what the message was about and which future Doctor it was, but apparently it’s ‘all in the beat’.
The climax to ‘Hunters of Earth’ was so captivating and exciting to listen to. The Doctor and Susan get to solve the problem as they put their minds to it. I liked how this story had kept the First Doctor and Susan’s origins in the dark since they were presented as enigmas throughout in the TV series.
Susan’s prophecy about the Doctor’s destiny at the end of ‘Hunters of Earth’ was quite chilling and interesting to listen to. It made me wonder what was going to happen in future releases of the ‘Destiny of the Doctor’ series and how it was going to end. I would have to find out later on the year.
There aren’t any CD extras, apart from the First Doctor and Susan’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’.
‘Hunters of Earth’ is a good start to the beginning of the 50th anniversary celebrations in the ‘Destiny of the Doctor’ series. This story feels like it came from the black-and-white days of ‘Doctor Who’. With Carole Ann Ford as Susan and the narrator of this story, it captured the First Doctor era for me.
‘Hunters of Earth (DOTD)’ rating – 8/10
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