Set directly before the events of the very first Doctor Who episode, An Unearthly Child, this eighty-five minute drama evokes the atmosphere of the time and follows The Doctor and Susan as they find themselves in the middle of a rather nasty mystery….
Told through Susan (for the most part), Hunters of Earth finds the Gallifreyeans tottering around creepy London with various people on their case; some more sinister than others. She has befriended a local school boy, Cedric, whilst her Grandfather has resorted to stealing to get by. It’s not long before youths are turning on one another [no, not like that – Ed.] for no explicable reason. Though the reason, as you would imagine, explains a great deal in a very satisfying denouement.
The drama is just that, a drama; exploring themes of racism, otherness and nationalism – with a healthy does of violence thrown in for good measure. It has the feel of 50s/60s UK bleak storytelling and the monochrome starkness is wonderfully evoked in the superb production; namely the eerie piano and disquieting streets.
Carole Ann Ford is an excellent choice to front the production and captures Susan perfectly, revisiting the role almost fifty years since. Her “Doctor” reproduction, whilst obviously not an accurate impression, deftly imitates his crotchtiness, ill-temper and nuances. Ford’s narration, and other voices, are well toned and a pleasure to listen to.
Although self-contained, Hunters of Earth offers and teases some ongoing arc issues for the new range, Destiny of the Doctor. We get some nods to the new series (a familiar shop), plenty to the old (obviously) and, perhaps, even another Doctor in there…? It’s a great start to the series and one hopes the range continues with such style and substance.
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