Doctor Who: The Defectors (Part 1 free download) by Nicholas Briggs (audio-download review).

May 3, 2015 | By | Reply More

‘The Defectors’ is a welcome addition to the output of Big Finish. It’s a good old-fashioned mystery adventure which utilises the talents of Katie Manning as Jo Grant and Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor. In a nice mismatch, the Seventh takes on the mantle of the Third and we are treated to a superb plot in the classic tradition.


When Jo emerges from the TARDIS, she is invited at gunpoint to a remote base and the Doctor is also on the guest list. But he’s not the man she thought he was and she remains suspicious of him as, although this has happened to her before (TV’s ‘The Three Doctors’), she hasn’t got her own Doctor around this time to confirm this one’s identity.

That, it turns out, is the least of their worries as the pair is transferred by helicopter to a mysterious island (there are no other kind!). Once there, they are subjected to ‘hospitality’ that could kill and a heavy veil of secrecy.

The plot has a measured pace and builds up the tension nicely. We are never entirely sure of anyone’s intentions and with four episodes it feels like a proper serial.

The team have done a great job here and the two leads are full of gravitas and completely believable in their characters, which give us the confidence to sit back and enjoy the ride. I thought it was an interesting thing to do and the central mystery is why the Seventh Doctor has replaced the Third. Jo is kept on the back foot and, to some extent, so are we as listeners as we have become used to the Seventh Doctor not being as honest and upfront as the Third.

Sylvester McCoy owns this but Katie Manning also matches him at every step. It is impressive to listen to the professionals give it their all. The support cast or, I should say, ensemble offer the period feel to the piece so that all along we believe we have slipped back to the 1970s with Jon Pertwee just having popped out for a moment. Mike Yates (Richard Franklin) pops up to keep the illusion going and Captain Cornelius (Neil Roberts), Commander Wingford (Barnaby Edwards), Shedgerton (David Graham), Europan Leader (Rachel Bavidge) and Europan (Jez Fielder) complete the small but talented cast.

The Pertwee era presented string theory universe scenario in the classic episodes titled ‘Inferno’ where the Pertwee Doctor slipped into an alternate United Kingdom where the ‘moustache’ made the difference. Here we don’t slip the universe but the Doctor. Is the Third Doctor also displaced in time perhaps? Is he solving something the Seventh Doctor can’t? Or is it a multi-slip? I’m thinking that this will lead to more adventures and a sinister underlying story arc or my names not Nicholas Briggs. Oh yes, the naughty man wrote and directed it. There’s more coming I tell ya.

Sue Davies

May 2015

(pub: Big Finish. 25 minute story. Price: Download: FREE!)

cast: Sylvester McCoy, Katy Manning, Richard Franklin, Neil Roberts, Barnaby Edwards, David Graham, Rachel Bavidge and Jez Fielder

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Category: Doctor Who, Music/Audio

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