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Transit of Venus (Dr Who Companion Chronicles 3.7) Audio CD – Audiobook, 15 Jan 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Big Finish Productions Ltd (15 Jan. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844353567
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844353569
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 0.9 x 12.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 365,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Number13 TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 Jun. 2016
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
After the 1769 transit of Venus across the sun, Captain James Cook, his chief scientist Joseph Banks and the crew of HMS Endeavour were sailing west from Tahiti. They hoped for many discoveries as they sought the Southern Continent, but alone in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, they weren’t expecting visitors… 5* (2 episodes, 1 CD, 69 minutes + extras)

Looking back on his long and eventful life, former science teacher (and traveller in Space and Time) Ian Chesterton tells of a time when he and the mysterious Doctor sailed the South Pacific with Captain Cook, on one of the greatest of all voyages of science and discovery. But where is the Doctor’s Ship, the TARDIS? And where are Susan and Barbara? And are they the only visitors to this famous voyage…?

This is an excellent two-part story narrated and performed brilliantly by William Russell as Ian (also playing the First Doctor, Captain Cook and other roles), while Ian Hallard plays the scientist Joseph Banks. The format works really well and the story hovers tantalisingly between being a Hartnell-era pure historical and one of the later stories in which aliens appear in our history. Which type it is, you will have to discover…

The story is set in Season One, very precisely between ‘The Sensorites’ and ‘The Reign of Terror’, and it would certainly help to get the most from this adventure if you’re familiar with the earlier story. However, Ian explains the events of their time on Sense-Sphere in case you haven’t seen it.

The mystery is very ingeniously written by Jacqueline Rayner as part psychological drama and part adventure story, weaving in the genuine people and incidents of the voyage of the Endeavour.
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Format: Audio CD
I'll confess, I'm not entirely sold on the format of 'The Companion Chronicles' - one of the Doctor's former associates telling the story almost in monologue form, with the addition of dramatised sections featuring another actor - it can limit the way the stories can be told to an extent. But when the stories are as entertaining as this one, I'm more than happy. In his twilight years, the First Doctor's companion Ian Chesterton relates a hitherto unheard-of adventure where he and his fellow TARDIS travellers find themselves meeting Captain Cook aboard his ship the Endeavour, en route to discovering Australia. 'Doctor Who' traditionalists should love this story, as it's very much in the spirit of some of the classic historical adventures from the early days of the series, albeit with an intriguing twist, as Ian begins to suspect the ship's scientist, Banks, is not all he appears to be. It's a joy to hear William Russell reprising his role as Ian, and he makes for an engaging narrator, so much so that I forgot my reservations about the format and became lost in the story.

For anyone who enjoys the William Hartnell era, it's wonderful to be able to revisit it in the company of one of the original cast, in a tale which evokes those 1960s adventures so brilliantly.
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Format: Audio CD
This story really is in keeping with the spirit of the first season of the classic Doctor Who both in terms of pace and continuity. William Russell's natural ability as a story-teller really had me wanting to hear of other adventures, but more importantly I did not feel any less engaged by the absence of the other regular cast members. The story "resolve" is rather clever.
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Format: Audio CD
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.
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