‘Old Soldiers’ (Audio)

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‘OLD SOLDIERS’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

The Brigadier’s Story of Kriegskind

This is the third of Series 2 of the Companion Chronicles in ‘Doctor Who’ by Big Finish!

‘Old Soldiers’ is a lovely Big Finish audio of ‘Doctor Who’ from the Third Doctor era, starring Nicholas Courtney as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, friend of the Doctor. It is a two-part story by James Swallow. This is a fine story for a splendid chap who played a loveable character from ‘Doctor Who’!

The Brigadier is a great character from ‘Doctor Who’ as he was mostly a high point of the Third Doctor era with Jon Pertwee. Sadly I never got to meet Nicholas Courtney at a ‘Doctor Who’ convention as he sadly passed away at the time when I was getting into conventions in 2010 and 2011.

But I was so pleased to be hearing Nick Courtney’s voice again when he read this ‘Doctor Who’ adventure with the Brigadier in it. It takes place during the Third Doctor’s early period of exile on Earth in Season 7 of ‘Doctor Who’. It also takes place directly after the story, ‘Doctor Who and the Silurians’.

The story begins where the Brigadier is now retired after his time with U.N.I.T. The Brig is now an old man and he’s enjoying glasses of whisky and toasting ‘to absent friends, comrades in arms, to old soldiers’. He recollects when he was with U.N.I.T. and the Doctor in the 1970s and visiting Kriegskind.

I like how the story of ‘Old Soldiers’ takes place after the Silurians story where the Doctor and the Brigadier disagree with each other after the events of that story. I’ve always felt that the aftermath of the Silurians story had never been resolved, and it’s nice it gets touched upon in this audio story.

In this story, the Brigadier receives a message from an old soldier friend of his called General Konrad. Konrad is at the Schloss in Kriegskind in Germany. He needs the Brigadier to come quickly as he needs his help with something. On reflection over recent events, the Brigadier soon goes to see him.

Arriving at the Schloss, the Brigadier soon discovers his friend Konrad to be critically ill. Tolerating Major Schrader’s intimidating manner at Kriegskind, the Brigadier soon discovers an impossible army of Roman soldiers and Nazis attacking the place. The Brig soon calls for the Doctor to help with this.

I found the setting for this story interesting as it takes place at a U.N.I.T. base within Germany. I’m not sure whether the Schloss at Kriegskind in this story is real or fictional, but James Swallow adds some historical significance to the setting, especially when the Romans and the Nazis come invading.

James Swallow does well capturing the Third Doctor era’s atmosphere in ‘Old Soldiers’ as well as writing for the characters of the Doctor and the Brigadier. It was interesting how the Brigadier and the Doctor’s viewpoints get explored in this story. They’re both different but are still good friends.

Nicholas Courtney is a terrific reader for audio! I enjoyed hearing Nick Courtney as he reads the story as the Brigadier from his point-of-view. Nick’s voice is engaging to listen to and he’s clearly enthusiastic in being part of ‘Doctor Who’ and isn’t ashamed as he comes back to play the Brigadier.

I enjoyed listening to the Brigadier’s story in this adventure. The Brig has a very old-fashioned manner, but he’s clearly loveable throughout. I liked how the adventure explores more of the Brig’s background with his ‘old’ friends; and his thoughts and feelings when tackling dangerous situations.

I like Nick’s impersonation of Jon Pertwee’s Doctor in this story. Nick worked with Jon during the TV series, so he knew him pretty well. Nick manages to capture the tone and mannerisms of the Third Doctor and easily says his dialogue with flawless effort whenever he has dialogue during this story.

I enjoyed that this story has the Doctor and the Brigadier over the Silurian incident. The Brigadier summons help from the Doctor in Kreigskind and one wonders whether the Doctor will turn up. I liked it when the Doctor makes a grand entrance by parachute, as that does sounds like Jon Pertwee.

Toby Longworth guest stars as both General Konrad and Major Schrader in this audio. Toby is a multi-talented voice actor and I like how he slips from both doing Konrad and Schrader in this audio as he makes them sound different when interacting with the Doctor and the Brig. Very good, Toby!

Konrad is an old friend of the Brigadier’s who asks him for help to come to the Schloss in Kriegskind. Konrad is very ill, but he also hides a dark secret about himself at the place. Schrader is very different, as he’s militaristic; forthright and uncompromising when the Brig meets him at the Schloss.

I liked the concept of the impossible enemy that the U.N.I.T. forces fight against at the Schloss when Nazi and Roman soldiers seem to appear from the past in the present. It was easy to visualise the Romans and the Nazis fight against the U.N.I.T. soldiers and the action scenes are so well-visualised.

I also liked the earthbound atmosphere of this story, since the Doctor is exiled to Earth and this is a U.N.I.T. story with the Brigadier. I found it interesting how it gets revealed on why the Nazis and Romans appear in the present day in the 1970s and how General Konrad is involved with this crisis.

I like how the story closes with the older Brigadier recollecting his friends with fondness, including Konrad and the Doctor. It ends the story on a high note as the Brigadier wants to remember his friends with honour. He pours another glass of whiskey to toast to them, which is a good way to end.

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The CD extras are as follows. At the end of this disc, there’s a trailer for ‘The Catalyst’ with Louise Jameson. There’s also an enjoyable interview with Nicholas Courtney about the making of ‘Old Soldiers’. There’s a brief and enjoyable suite of incidental music from this story. It’s easy to listen to.

‘Old Solidiers’ is a wonderful Companion Chronicle featuring Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier from the Third Doctor era. Nicholas Courtney is a marvellous narrator and a splendid chap. I enjoyed how the Brigadier recollects an adventure with the Doctor at U.N.I.T. and how he has fondest memories.

‘Old Soldiers’ rating – 8/10


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For the Brigadier was

The next story

For the Third Doctor is

  • ‘The Blame Game’ (ST/Audio)

For the Brigadier  is

  • ‘Walls of Confinement’ (ST/Audio)
  • ‘Enemy of the Bane’ (SJA) (TV)
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2 thoughts on “‘Old Soldiers’ (Audio)

  1. Timelord007

    I loved this CC, it’s sad Nick Courtney only did one of these not counting The Three Companions, but his health wasn’t always the best.

    Nick is a wonderful narrator & James Swallows script is another gem, it’s a shame James hasn’t wrote more stories for Big Finish Doctor Who.

    The ending were the Brigadier raises a glass to absent friends actually made me cry as I thought about Jon Pertwee, Caroline John, Elisabeth Sladen who along with Nick are sadly no longer with us.

    Brilliant review Tim you summarised this audio drama perfectly & as the Brigadier would say splendid chap.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Tim Bradley Post author

    Yes this was a great CC read by Nick Courtney. It’s sad he didn’t do more of those, but I’m glad he did Big Finish audios now and again when he was in good health. I’m pleased he did audios with Colin Baker and Paul McGann as the Doctors in ‘Doctor Who’.

    I remember you dedicating your review of ‘Old Soldiers’ to Paul Spragg once. Nick is easy to listen to and as you say a wonderful narrator. I enjoyed James Swallow’s story and it’s good he writes a fine adventure with the Doctor and the Brigadier in it.

    Yes that was pretty poignant when the Brigadier raises a glass and says ‘To absent friends, comrades in arms, to old soldiers’. It’s sad Jon Pertwee; Caroline John; Elisabeth Sladen and Mary Tamm have gone, as I would have liked to have met them at conventions. I was watching a YouTube tribute video about Mary Tamm recently.

    Many thanks, Simon. Glad you enjoyed my review. Tim. 🙂

    Like

    Reply

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