Starring William Russell and Maureen O'Brien
By Brian Hayles
Adapted by Matt Fitton
The Dark Planet is the latest in the Big Finish audio range, The Lost Stories, where unused or "lost" scripts are unearthed and adapted for audio. This story features William Hartnell’s First Doctor and his companions Ian, Barbara and Vicky.
The TARDIS crewe arrive in the early days of the universe on a planet alongside a dying sun. The world appears to be uninhabited and is ripe for exploration, but the Doctor and his companions quickly find themselves caught in the middle of a conflict between two species, the people of Light and of Shadow.
This story marks the first in what is meant to be the last series of The Lost Stories; one often wants to beg the question, why wasn’t this story made in the first place? Was it too ambitious for the time? Was it unfinished? Was it just not good enough? and a further question: Why has this lost one been left to the last season?
In the case of The Dark Planet I imagine it was the former: a little over ambitious. It seems representative of the high concept stories we were sometimes treated to from the earlier more experimental episodes of Doctor Who, exemplified here with the literal representation of the forces of White and Black. Originally from the mind and pen of Brian Hayles, who gave us the Celestial Toymaker and all of the "classic" Ice Warrior stories, and adapted by current Big Finish go-to-guy Matt Fitton, we’re in good hands.
It also cleverly provides a wonderful way for the listener to really picture the black and white imagery of the classic series. As were the stories of its time then, it is a little over-long, but it also excellently represents the slower more paced out quality that some fans prefer.
William Russell is, as always, incredibly charming and it’s nice to see him given a different counterpart with Maureen O’Brien who expertly changes from her naturally older voice as narrator and her younger "Vicky" voice as the character. The Dark Planet is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those who long for more of this era, it is a real treat.
BLOGTOR RATING 8/10
Thanks to Big Finish