‘THE MOUTHLESS DEAD’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
All Aboard the Train with the Doctor, Jamie, Polly and Ben
My parents asked me if I would like to have this ‘Doctor Who’ CD collection. I said yes!
‘The Second Doctor: Volume One’ of ‘Companion Chronicles’ has been an enjoyable collection of audio adventures. My Mum and Dad purchased this ‘Doctor Who’ CD collection when we attended the ‘Regenerations 2016’ convention in Swansea, September 2016. They’ve yet to listen to this CD set!
With the ‘Companion Chronicles’ range finished back in June 2014, Big Finish decided to do annual box sets of ‘Companion Chronicles’ stories to satisfy the ‘Doctor Who’ fans’ needs. They started it with the First Doctor in June 2015. Afterwards in June 2016, they did stories with the Second Doctor!
I was looking forward to finding out how the ‘Companion Chronicles’ range continued in these CD box sets and ‘The Second Doctor: Volume One’ was the best place to start. The box set has four tales all directed by Lisa Bowerman. They have the Second Doctor with Jamie, Ben, Polly, Victoria and Zoe.
I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the stars who played companions in the Second Doctor era. The four stories are ‘The Mouthless Dead’ by John Pritchard, ‘The Story of Extinction’ by ‘Companion Chronicles’ producer Ian Atkins; ‘The Integral’ by David Bartlett and finally ‘The Edge’ by Rob Nisbet.
‘The Mouthless Dead’ is a two-part adventure by John Pritchard and is set in 1920s England. It features the Second Doctor with his companions, Jamie McCrimmon, Ben Jackson and Polly Wright.
The story is performed by Frazer Hines and Anneke Wills with Elliot Chapman. Elliot plays Ben in the Big Finish audios of ‘Doctor Who’ with the Second Doctor. This was the first time I heard him as Ben.
I enjoyed ‘The Mouthless Dead’ very much. I liked the period setting of 1920s England in this story and enjoyed the old fashioned steam train in it. It reminded me of ‘The Railway of Time’ by myself. 🙂
But this story is not your light-hearted 1920s adventure as you would expect from ‘Black Orchid’. This story is creepier and foggier since it features some ghost-like beings that also seem zombie-like.
It was a challenge to take everything in from the story, but I was able to home in on the themes of loss and grief. This story is set not long after the First World War where people have lost loved ones.
I appreciated how some of the supporting characters experienced war as well as those who suffered the consequences of it. This is something the alien influence of this audio story is able to home in on.
Frazer Hines is brilliant as Jamie in this audio adventure as playing the Doctor. Most of this story is narrated from Jamie’s point of view. I do like how Frazer narrates this as Jamie in his Scottish accent.
I’ve said it many times before, but Frazer Hines’ interpretation of Patrick Troughton’s Doctor is wonderful to listen to. I’m glad he got to do it again for this story as well as the rest of this collection.
It was also lovely to hear Anneke Wills as Polly in this audio adventure. There are some sections where Polly is without the Doctor, Jamie and Ben and she gets to narrate her experiences of the tale.
Anneke also plays Frances, a young woman who has lost her fiancé Michael Thomas. She does another voice for Frances to distinguish herself from Polly, but I liked Polly and Frances’ interaction.
The enthusiasm of Frazer Hines and Anneke Wills shines throughout this as well as others. They clearly enjoy coming back for these to rekindle their fondest memories of working on ‘Doctor Who’.
As I said, this was the first time I heard Elliot Chapman as Ben Jackson in these ‘Doctor Who’ audios. I’ve met Elliot Chapman in real-life since he attended two ‘Pandorica’ conventions in 2014 and 2015.
Elliot was a pleasant chap to meet and he was clearly enthusiastic about playing Ben in the Big Finish audios. It was a joy chatting to him. I’m pleased I got to meet Elliot as well as have a photo with him.
I must admit I wasn’t sure whether I would like this new actor playing a character originally created by Michael Craze. But Elliot doesn’t do an exact reaction and he does respect Michael Craze for this.
I enjoyed the interaction between Jamie and Ben in this audio adventure. It was indicated that not a lot of time was spent between these two in the TV series, as they have an opportunity to do so here.
Elliot Chapman also plays the Signalman in this story. I couldn’t help but think of ‘The Ghost Train’ by Arnold Ridley of ‘Dad’s Army’ fame when I heard this story, especially with the Signalman involved.
‘The Mouthless Dead’ has been a pretty enjoyable audio adventure. It was my first experience of Elliot Chapman as Ben and I enjoyed Frazer Hines and Anneke Wills’ performances during this story.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of the disc, there are interviews with Frazer Hines, Anneke Wills, Elliot Chapman, writer John Pritchard, producer Ian Atkins and director Lisa Bowerman.
‘The Mouthless Dead’ rating – 8/10
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