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AUDIO REVIEW: The War To End All Wars

The Companion Chronicles:
The War To End All Wars
By Simon Guerrier
Starring Peter Purves
Out Now
Presenting
a sequel of sorts to the 1966 First Doctor adventure The Savages, the latest Big
Finish
“Companion Chronicle” opens with an older and wiser
Steven Taylor. The bold experiment, appointing him as leader of the
Elders and the Savages has not ended well, with The Doctor’s former
companion held captive by the society of which he was once king.
At
the prompting of his granddaughter Sida (Alice Haig), Steven gradually
reveals by reference to an earlier adventure with The Doctor and Dodo,
how he ended up in his current predicament. What follows is an
intelligent exploration of the absolute folly of war, all set on a
planet in a near permanent state of conflict.
The Doctor
is arrested as a subversive element early on in Steven’s narrative,
leaving Steven and Dodo having to survive on their wits. Their story
plays out over a significant period of time, as the two of them
gradually become assimilated into the relentless planet-wide war.
This
audio adventure doesn’t shy away from the horrors of trench warfare,
drawing on elements of the original “War To End All Wars”, the First
World War. The writing, and Peter Purves’s narration, are particularly
strong here in describing the exhaustion, fear and futility of an
attritional war: but all without in any way being exploitative.
This
reviewer has a soft spot for this particular combination of the TARDIS
team, and it was easy to imagine Steven and Dodo working together (with
some bickering), trying to challenge the deeply-ingrained system in
place on the planet Comfort. There’s a particularly enjoyable
cliffhanger midway through the story, not to be spoilered by me.
Peter Purves belies the passage of time in
his performance as the younger Steven, with the narrative structure
allowing a more reflective performance as the older, present-day
version. His portrayal of The Doctor imparts the perfect mix of
mischief and delight in his own cleverness, and Purves even captures Dodo’s occasionally wandering accent.
Simon
Guerrier’s story creates a dystopian society, populated by Orwellian
politicians spouting platitudes and doublespeak, a challenging
environment for The Doctor, Steven and Dodo to battle their way through.
A thought-provoking audio experience, and highly recommended.
BLOGTOR RATING 9/10 
Thanks to Big Finish

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