Chris Swanson joins the Seventh Doctor and Jo in the new cross-companion adventure from Big Finish, The Defectors.
One of the fun things that Big Finish has been able to do with Doctor Who is companion swapping. So far we’ve had stories with the Fifth Doctor in the company of Ian, Steven, Sarah Kingdom and Polly. We’ve had the Sixth Doctor with Victoria, Jamie and Zoe. And now we get the Seventh Doctor running around with Jo Grant and Mike Yates.
In The Defectors, the Doctor arrives as UNIT is in chaos. A mysterious officer has turned up to “escort” Jo and the Doctor to an undisclosed location. The Brigadier is, of course, conveniently not available for comment. He, and Jo for that matter, expected the Third Doctor. They’re surprised to see the Seventh, and Jo for one is extremely suspicious.
Before long, our heroes find themselves on an island off the British coast where nothing is quite right. People with blue skin, food that’s being served despite being actively rotten, and mystery after mystery.
I very much liked this story. It’s fast-paced and the interactions between Jo and the Doctor are inspired and entertaining. I liked the fact that, despite knowing about regeneration and despite meeting two prior incarnations of the Doctor, she’s still very suspicious at first, as I think anyone would be.
I also liked the way that this felt quite a bit like a proper Third Doctor story, but one that Seven had stumbled into. The Brigadier is off screen, which feels about right, and the story of a possible government conspiracy fits right into the era as well.
If I had one complaint, it’s that Mike Yates is sorely underused. He spends most of his time “off-screen” communicating via radio, and really doesn’t get the chance to do much in the way of action and excitement, which is a pity.
But otherwise, this is a worthy story, and a wonderfully fun one. It’s also a great set-up for next month’s main range audio, featuring Six, Jamie and Zoe. Lastly, it’s a great story on its own, so if you’re looking for a place to start, The Defectors is a good one. Overall, an excellent listen!
Chris Swanson is a writer and blogger from Phoenix, Arizona. Read more from Chris on his blog, and follow him on Twitter.