‘DOMAIN OF THE VOORD’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Return of the Voord with the First Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan
The Voord – the main monsters from ‘The Keys of Marinus’! Remember them?
In January 2015, I attended the ‘Big Finish Day 6’ convention in Slough. I had a nice time attending that convention. Whilst there, I purchased the ‘Early Adventure’ called ‘Domain of the Voord’ by Andrew Smith. I even had the CD cover of that story signed by Andrew. It was great to have it signed.
Andrew Smith has done well for himself with being a writer of many ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventures by Big Finish. To think that from doing just one TV story in ‘Full Circle’ for Tom Baker’s Doctor, he would go on to write for various Doctors and companions in the Big Finish universe of ‘Doctor Who’.
I’ve had nice chats with Andrew at conventions at places like Tunbridge Wells, Slough and the Arora Hotel in Gatwick. Whilst meeting Andrew at ‘Big Finish Day 6’ in Slough, I asked him whether he’d write a ‘Doctor Who’ story with Quarks as he saw them on TV as a kid. He seemed quite keen on the idea.
‘Domain of the Voord’ is of course the first of a new range of ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventures by Big Finish called ‘The Early Adventures’. Essentially, these feature the First and Second Doctors and they’re semi full-cast audio adventures with narration added much like ‘The Companion Chronicles’.
It was intriguing to hear this story as the first ‘Early Adventure’ by Big Finish for ‘Doctor Who’. I feel Andrew has done well with capturing the atmosphere of the First Doctor era in this audio adventure. It was also very intriguing to consider what this story would have been like had it been made for TV.
This four-part adventure by Andrew Smith is of course a sequel to ‘The Keys of Marinus’ where the villainous Voord make a return to ‘Doctor Who’. The Voord only appeared in one TV story and were created by Terry Nation, the creator of the Daleks. They’ve also been in comics and book stories too.
Very little was known about the Voord from their initial TV appearance. I enjoyed how Andrew Smith has developed the Voord as a very interesting race in ‘Doctor Who’ monsters. I found myself finding the Voord to be more than just black rubber-suited monsters as they had appeared in their TV story.
In ‘Domain of the Voord’, the TARDIS visits the planet Hydra where a vast flotilla of ships is in a war against the vicious Voord who have invaded their world. The Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan help the Hydrans to defeat the Voord. But it will mean the cost of lives and the truth of the Vood is revealed.
I didn’t know what to expect when Andrew Smith unveiled what the Voord were all about and why they wore black rubber suits and black masked helmets. I assumed they were people underneath those masks and suits for protection/combat. These Voord could be cybernetic or another alien race.
It was quite a surprise to find that the Voord were once people converted to become like them. The mask the Voord wear is surgically fitted onto them. The people have to be willing to become Voord when the mask fuses to their masks. Otherwise that mask rejects them and they become mutilated.
It’s quite disturbing to think that and it’s intriguing that the Voord has this code of conduct about them. There’s also the propaganda issue put into the Voord as an alien species. I wonder if Andrew Smith got that inspiration from Terry Nation’s writing like with the Daleks getting based on the Nazis.
There’s also an aspect to the Voord with the masks being fused to people’s faces and having people converted into being like them that reminded me of the Cybermen. There’s even the ‘Doctor Who’ comic tale ‘The World Shapers’ that has the Voord and the Cybermen linked in this regard as well. 😐
From listening to the CD interviews, Carole Ann Ford remarked that ‘Domain of the Voord’ wouldn’t be a story permitted to be shown on TV back in the early 1960s. She says this in relation to the Voord and their masks being fused to people and such. Is that scarier than Susan with scissors then?
Speaking of which, William Russell and Carole Ann Ford star in this audio adventure. It was nice to hear these two play their characters Ian and Susan as well as the First Doctor and Barbara. They also get to share the narration of the tale whilst scenes of interactive dialogue between characters occur.
William Russell, whilst not exactly good as Peter Purves doing an authentic voice for William Hartnell’s Doctor, gets the tone of his character in the adventure. Mind you, Bill Russell gets to do mostly Ian for this adventure since the Doctor’s absent for the second and third episodes of the tale.
And that’s not just the Doctor, but Barbara also. At the end of the first episode, the Doctor and Barbara get caught on a ship being destroyed and sinking in the ocean. Ian and Susan assume the Doctor and Barbara to be dead for a while and those two heroes do not return until the second half.
I imagine if this story was made for TV, Andrew Smith would’ve been giving William Hartnell and Jacqueline Hill a two-week holiday after a busy working schedule in the series. 😀 I like how Ian and Susan drive the story forward, especially when Ian shows concern for Susan whilst her grandfather’s absent a bit.
Carole Ann Ford is very good as Susan in this adventure. I don’t find her to be a convincing voice for Barbara, but then again Barbara doesn’t appear much in the story. And like William Russell, she gets the tone of Barbara’s character in the story. It’s intriguing how Susan copes with her grandfather gone a while.
Susan gets a lot of interaction with the Voord characters. She’s not so squeamish and girly as she was in the TV series. She’s pretty strong-willed and defiant against the Voord who are about to face her to wear one of the masks. She also deduces to Ian that her grandfather and Barbara aren’t dead.
The Voord characters featured in this story include Andrew Bone as Nebrin and Andrew Dickens as Tarlak the Overlord. There’s also Pan Vexel, played by Andrew Bone, who willing becomes a Voord after having his mask fused to his face. So intriguing how the Voord sound on audio compared to TV.
They could easily sound dodgy and muffled under masks as they seemed to be, for me, in their TV story. But in this audio adventure, they sound more dignified, menacing and clear to hear. It was a nice touch to have the Voord using their antennas to telepathically communication with each other.
Andrew Dickens also plays Jonas Kaan, the admiral in charge of the flotilla of Hydra ships fighting against the Voord in the first episode of the story before it gets destroyed. There’s also Daisy Ashford, Geoffrey Beevers and Caroline John’s daughter, as Amyra, Jonas Kaan’s brave daughter in the story.
‘Domain of the Voord’ has been fun and intriguing to listen to as a ‘Doctor Who’ story by Andrew Smith. I enjoyed how he’s explored the Voord as an alien race. It’s a shame the Doctor and Barbara aren’t in it much, but William Russell and Carole Ann Ford drove this story forward as Ian and Susan.
The CD extras are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s a track of incidental music to enjoy. On Disc 2, there’s a trailer for ‘The Doctor’s Tale’ with William Russell and Maureen O’Brien. There are also behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including William Russell, Carole Ann Ford, writer Andrew Smith and director Ken Bentley.
‘Domain of the Voord’ rating – 8/10
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