It’s 1973 all over again as the third Doctor and Jo Grant return once again for a brand new double-bill of adventures. In this third volume, the pair have their work cut out for them – not only dealing with yet another Earth invasion but also finding themselves on a world subjugated by the Doctor’s deadliest enemy.
Even though we’re now three volumes into these new Third Doctor Adventures, there are still bound to be many out there sceptical of the decision to recast Jon Pertwee (I myself will freely admit I was once among those people). And while initially, Tim Treloar’s voice does take some adjusting to, the further you proceed into these stories the more it becomes clear that Big Finish definitely found the best man for the job. There may be the odd moment where you’re reminding this isn’t Jon Pertwee you’re listening to, but Treloar’s imitations of his speech patterns and mannerisms are so perfect that those moments are few and far between.
THE CONQUEST OF FAR
Kicking the set off is a direct sequel to the classic Planet of the Daleks, comfortably opening the doors for future adventures to be set between its conclusion and Jo’s subsequent departure in The Green Death. Directly following a Dalek story with another one means that the episode has plenty of callbacks to Planet, and as well a few other references to other prominent parts of Dalek history – particularly a clever twist on the robomen of The Dalek Invasion of Earth. The Conquest of Far is a classic Dalek story through and through – no big schemes, no clever traps for the Doctor, just a good old fashioned Dalek invasion story where the Doctor and Jo just have to put a stop to their plans.
The Doctor and the Daleks aren’t the only ones that spend some time apart either – this story makes the bold move to split the Doctor and Jo up for most of its runtime, giving each character a chance to shine on their own in two separately running plot lines. This really works to both characters’ benefit, as not only does it give Katy Manning the opportunity to take charge but also lets Treloar show off his Pertwee impression without having Jo there as an anchor.
STORM OF THE HOROFAX
Meanwhile, The Storm of Horofax takes the action back to where this particular TARDIS duo are always the most comfortable – 1970s Earth (Or maybe it was the 80s? The UNIT dating controversy lives on!). As such it doesn’t take very long without the story to find its footing and once again both characters are in top form. It’s another big spotlight piece for Manning, who gets a lot of great dialogue with Arianda – the Horofax Provost played fantastically by Robin Weaver.
The story plays heavily on the concept of time, doing a lot of interesting things with it but thankfully never making the story too difficult to follow because of it. It’s an adventure with lots of interesting twists and turns, building the Arianda and the Horofax army up as a credible threat that you genuinely wonder how the Doctor is going to defeat.
The Third Doctor Adventures Volume 03 is another pair of fantastic adventures, with the dynamic between Treloar and Manning continuing to develop and blossom in the same way Katy’s did with Pertwee himself. A Big Finish Dalek story is always a treat, while Storm of the Horofax adds another memorable villain to the franchise’s ever growing roster. The Third Doctor’s legacy lives on in wonderful fashion, and the memory of Jon Pertwee couldn’t be more alive.
Blogtor Rating – 9/10
The Conquest of Far, by Nicholas Briggs
Earth Alliance, the future… Fleet commanders receive their orders from the President of Earth. Operation Far is ‘go’. As soon as the planets are suitably aligned, the attack will go ahead.
The Doctor and Jo arrive on the planet Far. The Doctor wants to attend the grand opening of one of the human race’s greatest achievements. A huge Hyper Gateway built to make travel around Earth’s great empire more convenient, bringing relief to many starving outer colonies.
But they land in the wrong time period, long after the Gateway has been in service, and the Daleks have conquered Far! It’s the middle of a war and a deadly game is underway. When everyone has an agenda, betrayal can happen at any time, from any side. The endgame is approaching and maybe this time no one will survive.
Storm of the Horofax, by Andrew Smith
During a North Sea military exercise, the crew of the destroyer HMS Nemesis detect what they suspect is a submarine following them. But it’s actually a futuristic ship with an alien occupant, Arianda.
The Doctor and UNIT are called in, but things are already running out of control. The damaged craft is leaking particles and contaminating the Nemesis with time disruption.
But that’s not the biggest problem. For Arianda is being followed by the warships of the Horofax, who have picked precisely this moment to invade. Soon the destruction of humanity’s future will begin.
Written By: Nicholas Briggs, Andrew Smith
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs
Tim Treloar (The Doctor), Katy Manning (Jo Grant), George Watkins (Delralis), John Banks (Jickster), Amy Newton (Elaquon), Robin Weaver (Arianda), Iain Batchelor (Adam Rigg), Robert Hands (Major Hardy / Crewman), Richard Derrington (Commander Burton), Ian Cunningham (Sinko / Ronson / Lieutenant), Jake Dudman (UNIT Radio Operator) and Nicholas Briggs (The Daleks)
Producer David Richardson
Script Editor John Dorney
Executive Producers Nicholas Briggs and Jason Haigh-Ellery