‘THE HOME GUARD’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
The Master with the Second Doctor, Polly, Ben and Jamie
So…is this like the first time the Second Doctor meets the Master before ‘The Dark Path’ happens?
When I purchased ‘The Dalek Occupation of Winter’ as part of the ‘Doctor Who Returns’ sale for Series 12 by Big Finish back in January 2020, I received the wrong CD in the post. It was ‘The Home Guard’ instead. Thankfully Big Finish were pretty quick to help and I was sent the correct CD instead.
I had to send ‘The Home Guard’ CD back of course. But thanks to Big Finish responding so promptly to the error of my ‘Dalek Occupation of Winter’ CD being delivered, I purchased ‘The Home Guard’ as a download from them. I’ve now heard ‘The Home Guard’ audio adventure and greatly enjoyed it.
‘The Home Guard’ is one of ‘The Early Adventures’ of ‘Doctor Who’ by Big Finish, featuring the Second Doctor, Polly, Ben and Jamie, starring Anneke Wills and Frazer Hines with Elliot Chapman. It’s quite a unique audio adventure in many regards as it has this TARDIS team against the evil Master. 🙂
In this audio adventure, the Master is played by James Dreyfus, who previously played the character in ‘The Destination Wars’ with David Bradley as the First Doctor. I’ve come to discover that James Dreyfus’ Master is before Roger Delgado, so it’s intriguing how the Second Doctor meets him in this.
The story is a four-part adventure by Simon Guerrier, who has written plenty of ‘Doctor Who’ stories in the past, both in audio and books. I know Simon Guerrier for writing ‘Shadow of Death’ in the ‘Destiny of the Doctor’ series as well as adapting Dick Sharples’ ‘Prison In Space’ TV scripts for audio.
It’s interesting how Simon Guerrier came up with the idea of this ‘Doctor Who’ story called ‘The Home Guard’. Originally it was going to be a comedic adventure on the lines of ‘Dad’s Army’, my favourite BBC TV comedy series. As it turns out, this ‘Doctor Who’ story isn’t like that on those lines.
Mind you, we have had a ‘Doctor Who’ story on the lines of ‘Dad’s Army’ in ‘Heroes of Sontar’, haven’t we? You know, where the Sontarans were ‘Dad’s Army’ characters. I even done it myself for my Fifth Doctor story called ‘The Stockbridge Terror’. I think we can do without having another one.
With that said, there are elements of ‘Dad’s Army’ still existent in ‘The Home Guard’ in a subtle manner. For example, the Union Flag arrows on the CD cover are reminiscent of ‘Dad’s Army’ in the show’s opening credits. The Doctor even called Jamie a ‘stupid boy’ at one point in the adventure. 😀
There’s also the character of Robert Collins, based on Private Godfrey from the ‘Dad’s Army’ TV series. Also, apparently, the character Jill Sandbrook has her surname taken from the author Dominic Sandbrook, who penned a book on 1960s Britain called ‘White Heat’. Why is this significant?
Well, apparently the book ‘White Heat’ wasn’t just about 1960s Britain but also on the ‘Dad’s Army’ TV series itself. This was what gave Simon Guerrier the inspiration to write the story, but he wasn’t satisfied with the final result and rewrote it to match a tone to the 1945 film called ‘Brief Encounter’.
I’ve not seen that film yet, but from what I could gather from listening to the audio adventure, the tone is pretty bleak and suspenseful. It also has the Doctor and his friends acting not as they seem from the TV series. The Doctor, Polly, Ben and Jamie act strangely once they live in this environment.
The story has Ben return to an English village in the middle of the Second World War and reunite with his friends Polly and Jamie who are now married. Wait, what? Yeah, more on that bit! Whilst the three friends do their best and protect their home in war-time, things aren’t quite as they seem.
It was fun to hear Anneke Wills and Frazer Hines along with Elliot Chapman to recreate that Season 4 TARDIS team of ‘Doctor Who’ with the Second Doctor, Polly, Ben and Jamie. From hearing this audio story, the Season 4 TARDIS team sound like pretty good friends compared to what was shown on TV.
Anneke Wills is the narrator for this audio adventure as well as playing Polly. I did enjoy Anneke narrate throughout the story, as I’ve become accustomed to her narration duties for some of the TV soundtrack audio CDs of missing stories in the past. She’s also superb in setting up the story’s action.
So yeah, Polly and Jamie are married in this adventure. That was odd. I was expecting Polly and Ben to be married. But then again, Polly and Jamie are under hypnosis. It was fun to think of Polly dressed up in a Home Guard uniform in the story. I suppose that 2016 ‘Dad’s Army’ film was valid. 😀
Frazer Hines is equally good, playing both Jamie and the Doctor in this adventure. Like I’ve said before, Frazer captures Patrick Troughton’s Doctor exceedingly well on audio. It was intriguing to hear Patrick’s Doctor not being his usual self, especially when he pulls a gun out on Jamie one point.
I liked how Patrick’s Doctor confronted the Master and how he outwitted him, matching to how David Bradley’s First Doctor outwitted the Master in ‘The Destination Wars’. Jamie is equally well-written in the adventure. It was fun hearing Jamie be proactive and resourceful in this war scenario.
Elliot Chapman stars as Ben Jackson in this audio adventure. He’s been playing Ben for ‘The Early Adventures’ of ‘Doctor Who’ as well as some ‘Companion Chronicles’. I’ve not heard Elliot in many audios as Ben – I did hear him in ‘The Mouthless Dead’ – but he’s superb in doing Ben’s voice in this.
I have met Elliot in real-life at two ‘Pandorica’ conventions in Bristol – one in 2014 and the other in 2015. I had nice encounters with Elliot and he seemed genuinely friendly when I met him. I can’t believe that this audio adventure is the last one he’ll do as Ben. I’m sure he’ll come back to play him.
And of course there’s James Dreyfus as the Master. Now…I’ll be straight here. I think James Dreyfus is brilliant as the Master. I enjoyed him in ‘The Destination Wars’ and I enjoyed him here in ‘The Home Guard’. He delivers that balance of menace and charm in his performance as the Master here.
I loved it when he was influencing Jamie, Ben and Polly under hypnosis and when he confronted the Doctor. It’s intriguing how his Master’s presented as he’s almost Roger Delgado-like. A shame James Dreyfus’ reputation has been tarnished lately. I’ll talk more about that in ‘The Psychic Circus’ review.
The story’s cast also includes Molly Hanson as Jill Sandbrook, who’s a pretty tough cookie in this story. There’s also Brian Murphy as Robert Collins, the Godfrey-like character. Brian Murphy is well-known for playing George Roper in the TV sitcoms ‘Man about the House’ and ‘George and Mildred’.
‘The Home Guard’ is a very gripping and enjoyable audio adventure. It’s not as good as ‘Daughter of the Gods’, but I found this a worthwhile ‘Doctor Who’ story to listen to. Anneke Wills, Frazer Hines, Elliot Chapman and James Dreyfus are highpoints and the story is well-directed by Lisa Bowerman. 🙂
The CD extras are as follows. On Disc 1, there are two tracks of incidental music to enjoy. On Disc 2, there’s a trailer for ‘Daughter of the Gods’ with Peter Purves, Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury and Ajjaz Awad. There are also behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including Anneke Wills, Frazer Hines, Elliot Chapman, writer Simon Guerrier, etc.
‘The Home Guard’ rating – 9/10
|The previous story
For the Second Doctor was
For Ben was
For Polly was
For Jamie was
|The next story
For the Second Doctor is
For Ben is
For Polly is
For Jamie is
|Return to The Second Doctor’s Timeline|
|Return to Polly’s Timeline|
|Return to Ben’s Timeline|
|Return to Jamie’s Timeline|
|Return to The Doctors’ Timelines Index|
|Return to The Companions’ Timelines Index|
|Return to Doctor Who Timelines|
|Return to Doctor Who|
|Return to Sci-Fi|