Big Finish's Companion Chronicles range are different from the full-cast audio dramas that they produce in the Doctor Who line as they focus primarily on the First, Second and Third Doctors era, using their companions to retell a 'lost story' in a monologue form. Since the companions were a lot younger than those original Doctors, many of them have outlived their Doctor and are available to tell these lost stories, often framed as the Companion (now in old age, to explain the difference in voice) tells a tale to the audience or a secondary character.
This particular release focuses on Ian Chesterton (William Russell) who along with Barbara Wright, was one of the first human companions to accompany the First Doctor and his grand-daughter, Susan, on their adventures in time and space. I had watched the First Doctor's adventures recently on DVD and was particularly fond of Ian and Barbara's tenure on the show. This story takes place firmly between two of the televised adventures, 'The Sensorites' and 'The Reign of Terror' and makes frequent reference to the events of the former adventure, so it is recommended that you view that serial before listening to this audiobook. Luckily, it has been recently released on DVD as Doctor Who - The Sensorites [DVD
], so it should be easier to source than before when your only option was VHS or dodgy youtube links.
William Russell manages to keep the story interesting and it does feel as if it would slot into the First Doctor's era, since there is a very historical & educational tone to the story, which was one of the key components to the early black and white serials. Russell slips effortlessly back into his role as Ian Chesterton and manages to convincingly convey the voices of his absent cast members, especially his interpretation of William Hartnell's Doctor. The 70 minute story is broken up into two distinct parts, including the classic Doctor Who theme music separating them and a trademark cliffhanger!
I would recommend this to fans of Doctor Who, particularly the Classic black & white stories, who haven't experienced the Big Finish Range of Audio adventures. It manages to be quite stand-alone without much continuity, apart from watching the serial 'The Sensorites'. Sometimes the main range of Big Finish audios are quite self-referential and require listening to prior audio stories, even from completely different Doctors, in order to pick up the plot or characters. As I said, that isn't the case with this story which supplements the TV adventures really well. I would quite enjoy listening to further lost stories from Ian Chesterton and the rest of the classic companions!