‘THE WRECK OF THE WORLD’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
The Nostric and Twenty with the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe
Welcome to the World!
I purchased ‘The Wreck of the World’ from Big Finish as part of the ‘Doctor Who Returns’ sale for Series 12 on TV. This was from the collection of Second Doctor offers available at the time. ‘The Wreck of the World’ seemed like a very good choice, starring the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe in it.
Now, from what I’ve been able to gather, ‘The Wreck of the World’ has struck a chord with people. It’s a four-part adventure by Timothy X Atack, who writes well for the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe here. He does create that authentic atmosphere of a base under siege tale in the Second Doctor era.
Before the release of ‘The Wreck of the World’, Timothy X Atack won the Bruntwood Prize for play-writing in November 2017. Now, I appreciate people rate this story highly and there’s no doubt in my mind that Timothy X Atack is a very creative writer and he presents an intriguing concept here.
Despite that…(sighs)…I’m sorry, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed with this audio adventure. Maybe it was the mood I was in and perhaps I’ll give this one another chance when I’m a better mood. But I felt there were things about this tale that were underwhelming in the final result.
Now that’s not to say ‘The Wreck of the World’ is awful. Far from it! Wendy Padbury and Frazer Hines excel in this adventure along with the rest of the cast as well as with it being well-directed by the ever lovely Lisa Bowerman. But this felt average to me. It wasn’t exciting enough as it could’ve been.
I know from the behind-the-scenes interviews, people like Wendy Padbury praise Timothy X Atack’s writing for being an ‘actor’s writer’. And that’s fair enough, because Timothy does well with writing for the characters and making them intriguing. I would’ve put more emotional edge to them though.
How can I put it? Well, let me tell you the story. It starts off in deep space where the TARDIS is undergoing repairs. Zoe is in a spacesuit in space whilst the Doctor and Jamie are inside. But then the TARDIS gets caught in a collision with a huge, decaying wreck of starship simply called the World.
Zoe is separated from the Doctor and Jamie whilst the TARDIS is fused to the spaceship. Zoe soon meets up with a faulty diagnostic robot called the Nostic whilst the Doctor and Jamie try to find and rescue her. Pretty soon, the Doctor and Jamie meet with four astronauts who’ve come to the World.
Eventually, it’s soon revealed that there are dead, withered human bodies that are almost skeletal and they come to life. There’s also a terrifying force called the Corvus that’s responsible for the World starship to be in a wreck. Can the Doctor and his friends defeat the great terror on the World?
Now I’ll say some positives here. The concept of dead bodies coming to life as zombies and looking skeletons is quite effective and provides that horror story environment. I even had monsters called Skeletrons that were skeleton-like except they’re robots for my ‘Zorbius’ story ‘The Deepening Rain’.
I also like the use of Zoe meeting up with another man in Twenty, who could’ve been an ideal romantic interest due to him being of the same intelligence as she is. It’s something I did for my story with Zoe called ‘Brain and Heart’. Sadly that romantic interest aspect is not delved much upon.
And yes, I know these types of ‘Doctor Who’ stories from the Second Doctor era don’t go too much into the mushy stuff like romance as I would like them to. But I think Big Finish could’ve been brave enough to have a romantic connection between Zoe and Twenty to provide that emotional-gut edge.
It was also a challenge for me to keep track of what was going on with the space station setting and where the zombie-like human monsters were attacking under the control of Corvus. But then again, that could’ve been the mood I was in. It didn’t stop me from appreciating the characters throughout.
Wendy Padbury and Frazer Hines are wonderful together for these ‘Early Adventures’ of ‘Doctor Who’. I always look forward to a Second Doctor story with Jamie and Zoe as they’re my favourite TARDIS team from that era. Even if ‘The Wreck of the World’ didn’t win me, Frazer and Wendy did. 🙂
In this story, Wendy’s the narrator of the story as well as playing Zoe. I liked how Zoe coped on her own for a bit without the Doctor and Jamie and had her own adventure. Her interactions with the Nostic robot were fun to listen to, even though she found it annoying and she tried to understand it.
Zoe’s past life gets touched upon in terms of how she was selected in an elite manner. This is when she has conversations with Twenty who had a similar upbringing to her. Like in my ‘Brain and Heart’ story, Zoe gets to express her emotional side as well as her intelligence in tackling the evil menace. 🙂
Frazer Hines gets to play Jamie McCrimmon and as usual Patrick Troughton’s Doctor. I always like it when Frazer voices Patrick’s Doctor. It’s easy to forget Patrick’s no longer with us. Through Frazer, he makes his appearance in these audios. I was anxious for the Doctor in ‘Part Three’s cliffhanger. 😀
Jamie also gets to interact with the Nostic robot when crawling through a tunnel whilst separated from the Doctor, Zoe and Twenty. I like how Jamie copes with an outer-space environment, despite him being from Jacobean Scotland. Jamie also has great banner with the Doctor and Zoe in this tale.
The guest cast includes Richenda Carey as Professor Blavatsky. I’ve seen Richenda Carey in an episode of ‘Jeeves & Wooster’ as well as Series 5 of ‘Monarch of the Glen’. She’s also done some Big Finish audios with Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton like ‘Kingdom of Lies’ and ‘Plague of the Daleks’. 🙂
It was nice to hear Richenda Carey in this audio adventure. At first, Professor Blavatsky seems a decent, mild-mannered sort of scientist interacting with the Doctor. It came as quite a surprise to me when she happened to be controlled by Corvus. She’s been looking for it on the World for a while.
The story also features Don McCorkindale as Porthintus, a giant of man who is one of the four gun-toting astronauts that’s come to the World starship. Don McCorkindale has done plenty of TV work including ‘The Bill’ and ‘Coronation Street’. He was also in ‘The Ghosts of N-Space’ with Jon Pertwee.
Sadly his character of Porthintus is reduced to one episode as he gets killed pretty quickly. Yeah that seemed to be a waste of a character as well as an actor. Though to be fair, I’m sure it was Don McCorkindale who provided tannoy information for exhibits aboard the World starship. I hope it was him. 🙂
The cast also features Rosanna Miles as the Nostic. I recognised Rosanna Miles’ name as she was in ‘Moonflesh’ with Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton. I enjoyed her as Nostic and speaking that odd computer language she was limited to. Her high scream when she could not answer was off-putting.
The story also features Judith Roddy as Commander Lorne, the leader of the four astronauts. For a while, I thought Lorne was dead after ‘Part Two’. Quite a surprise when she returned in ‘Part Four’! And there’s Adam Newington as Twenty, who has cybernetics in his head and he connects with Zoe.
I can’t say ‘The Wreck of the World’ was a winner for me. It was pretty average and underwhelming for me. Maybe on another listen, I’d enjoyed it more. I still liked hearing Wendy Padbury and Frazer Hines together as the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe as they make these audio stories worthwhile. 🙂
The CD extras are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s a track of incidental music to enjoy. On Disc 2, there are behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including Wendy Padbury, Frazer Hines, writer Timothy X Atack and director Lisa Bowerman. There should have been more cast interviewed.
‘The Wreck of the World’ rating – 7/10
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