Audio Review: Doctor Who - Destiny of the Doctor 3: Vengeance of the Stones
- Credit: Archant
The Third Doctor meets Mike Yates for the first time as they become caught up in an alien plot to destroy mankind.
WE’VE seen his betrayal of UNIT and eventual redemption, and even explored his adventures alongside the Fourth Doctor on audio, but until now Who fans have never heard the story of how Mike Yates was originally recruited by the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce.
It’s fitting that, in the series’ 50th year, the opportunity is being taken to not only go back and revisit past eras of the show, but at the same time fill in the odd gap in continuity.
This latest instalment in the 11-part Destiny of the Doctor range is read by Richard Franklin, who played Mike on screen, with assistance from Trevor Littledale as Garlin, and explores how the young Lieutenant Yates helps the Third Doctor and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart following the disappearance of two RAF fighter jets on a training flight over Scotland.
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Before too long Yates comes face-to-face with incontrovertible proof of extraterrestial life after he is abducted by survivors of an alien race with a centuries-old grievance with humanity. They are intent on using the hidden power contained within the recumbent stone circles commonplace in this part of Scotland to take their revenge, and it’s up to the Doctor to stop them.
Writer Andrew Smith, who scripted the Fourth Doctor TV story Full Circle, does a remarkable job in capturing the spirit and ethos of the Third Doctor’s era without once descending into pastiche, and there are moments when you’d be forgiven in thinking this was an adaptation of an actual television episode from the period.
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Unlike Fraser Hines in the second Destiny of the Doctor story, Richard Franklin never attempts to pull off blatant impressions of his late co-stars Jon Pertwee and Nicholas Courtney, but still manages to convey the gentle determination of the Doctor and clipped military bearing of the Brig through his skilful vocal talents.
The ongoing arc running throughout the Destiny series begins to take shape here, and given what’s happened in past instalments it’s no longer much of a spoiler to reveal that the Eleventh Doctor is interfering in his own past by sending messages to his previous incarnations. Quite what the purpose is behind the current Doctor breaking so many laws of time will undoubtedly be revealed in the final release this November, but his presence here is restricted to just one scene and far from intrusive.
Franklin is given a perfect opportunity to shine in what is effectively his character’s debut story, and takes the listener back to the halcyon days of UNIT for one last hurrah.