This is a further Companion Chronicle story, this time with Liz Shaw narrating the tale of an adventure with the Third Doctor, for the benefit of a UNIT representative.
Liz and the Doctor are caught up in time travel and nasty politics in Liz's future. And now, near the time of the incident that she tells of, is it going to come true - again?
Caroline John does a great job, as always, in the character of Liz, and she works well with this story. I felt there were a few weak parts in the story, however overall it was a good story - nice in particular to see the elements so familiar with the Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee, `man of action' Doctor - helicopters, speedboats, and lots of physical action.
Many regard season 7 as Pertwee's best season and a top 5 overall season (out of 26), and Sentinels of the New Dawn very much relates to that season albeit set later. Dr Liz Shaw was only in this one season; Pertwee only ever had one companion and having both lead cast characters as highly intelligent perhaps alienated the viewers. In hindsight it was inspired casting, and very sad that it was not allowed to continue. This however, is where Companion Chronicles really serve their purpose; giving us a new story, whilst developing the story thread of a past companion.
Caroline John is more capable and interesting than some other companion actor/actresses in depicting herself and other characters. The story is about an organisation that are plotting to change the world which is quite in keeping with fiction from this period. There are only two actors in the production but it certainly feels like more than two. There is appropriate Pertwee-esque action scenes and Pertwee's character is well defined without lifting exact-mannerisms from televised stories as other Companion Chronicles do.
Sentinels of the New Dawn is quite ambitious on audio as it does take pace over quite some physical distance. The plot therefore is frequently, but not always engaging, as the narrative focuses on particular scenes. It ties up well leaving a scope for further development and the changing world theme and how it was planned for execution is certainly well crafted.
Listening to the interview at the end, I am pleased to hear the writer and producer enthuse over the season 7 era and hope we have more in the future.
Latest Doctor Who companion chronicle. These are talking books which feature an actor who played a companion to the Doctor on tv returning to the role to read an all new story featuring their character.
They do all the voices save one which is done by a guest actor.
And the story is usually two episodes long and spread across a single cd.
In this case the episodes are thirty five and thirty two minutes approx in length, and the cd sees Caroline John return to the role of Liz Shaw, who she played opposite Jon Pertwee's Doctor back in 1970.
This story is unique in that it acts as a prequel of sorts to the Sixth Doctor lost story audio Leviathan (Doctor Who: The Lost Stories), which saw mention of a sinister group called the Sentinels of the New Dawn. This story explores said group's origin. Although you don't need to hear Leviathan in order to get into this. And vice versa.
The story also, as a lot of these do, tries to get to the heart of the main character and flesh them out in a way that they never quite were on tv. In this case it delves a little deeper into Liz's departure from working for UNIT and with the Doctor.
It begins with her talking to a UNIT officer who wants to know the story of her encounter with New Dawn. Why she asked the Doctor for help - and got to see him again for the first time since leaving UNIT - and why the encounter is absent from UNIT records.
Liz tells of how an experiment with time dilation landed her and the Doctor in 2014. Where they met a powerful and wealthy man called Richard Beauregard. And discovered evil stirring on his family estate....
The first twenty minutes or so of part one set this whole scenario up and are absorbing and fairly fly by. After that you are in territory that is a perfect recreation of the style of the Pertwee era on tv - the Doctor being formal, very brief fights, chases in fast vehicles plus the occasional monster - and whilst it's all well created the rest of part one does leave you thinking what the point of the story will be, as you wait for something of real substance.
It does just about deliver in part two with some good exposition and a bit of moral food for thought. But Liz does end up spending most of the story reacting to things around her rather than acting. One revelation to a key plot point is a bit much to take in at first, but does make sense when in sinks in.
However this does score well for the final few scenes, with some interesting use of what has become known as 'timey wimey' to Doctor Who fandom. And one other development that does establish the New Dawn as villains to be reckoned with.
A slightly above average story all in all. The kind of thing you give three and a half stars to.
The cd has a trailer for the next release in the range right after the end of part two.
And a nine minute long interview with the writer right after that. This is a good discussion and worth a listen.