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Jungle World and Bethan Finch with the First Doctor and Susan
‘The Arboreals’ by Marc Platt is the first story of ‘Part 3 – Humanity’ in ‘The Scientific Secrets of Doctor Who’. This tale features the First Doctor and Susan. Marc Platt first contributed ‘Ghost Light’ to the ‘Doctor Who’ TV series before he wrote so many Big Finish audio stories such as ‘Spare Parts’.
What’s interesting about this story is that it features the First Doctor and Susan travelling together before they meet Ian and Barbara in ‘An Unearthly Child’. Marc Platt has penned a few ‘Doctor Who’ stories featuring just the First Doctor and Susan. They include the tales ‘The Beginning’ and ‘Quinnis’.
In this story, the Doctor and Susan visit a jungle world where they discover the remains of a crashed colony spaceship and a row of graves. They meet Bethan Finch, a salvage operative who is searching for her partner Tino Driscoll. Soon, they’re influenced by strange arboreal creatures within the trees.
An interesting thing to point out is that this tale has the TARDIS taking on the form of a tree stump. This is before the TARDIS’ chameleon circuit breaks down. During the Doctor and Susan’s travels, the TARDIS could change into anything. Marc writes so well for the Doctor and Susan as characters here.
I could sense the First Doctor’s arrogance and superiority contrasting to Susan’s open-hearted nature as I was reading this tale. Sadly, this tale is let down once it’s revealed Tino Driscoll has been regressed to a primitive level. Bethan Finch decides to stay behind and the tale’s end is quite rushed.
‘The Arboreals’ is accompanied by the chapter called ‘Evolution’.
‘The Arboreals’ rating – 6/10
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