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< 8.4 - Ghost in the Machine
8.6 - The Dying Light >

8.5 - The Beginning

Rating Votes
10
6%
5
9
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6
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Average Rating
7.4
Votes
83
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User Rating:
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Reviewed By: DalekbusterScreen5ReviewsReview Date: 4/8/17 1:36 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

How the Doctor and Susan's adventures had started has always been a curiosity for Whovians. Whilst many understandably don't want too much revealed about the Doctor's past, it is undeniably interesting to find out what happened when they fled Gallifrey. In the wrong hands, the story could have been potentially damaging for the series due to revealing too much about the Doctor. Thankfully, Big Finish Productions are definitely the right hands (even if the story itself isn't really their strongest).

The Beginning is a part of a series called the Companion Chronicles: basically, each release a companion of the Doctor's narrates a past adventure and one or two supporting actors appear during the story. In this Companion Chronicle, Susan (Carole Anne Ford) talks about her and the Doctor's encounter with a stowaway called Quadrigger Stoyn (Terry Molloy).

Quadrigger Stoyn is never going to be an iconic Big Finish character like Molly Sullivan or Liv Chenka but he is a good enough foil for the Doctor and Susan's attempts to escape Gallifrey. It was a good idea to make him an engineer who was working on the TARDIS the Doctor and Susan stole as it reinforces this Doctor's very rash behaviour. The first Doctor never really thought plans through as well as his successors; it's with later experience that he becomes better at running away. Terry Molloy is great in the role too, making Stoyn an endearingly engaging character.

It's nice how this story ties in neatly with Name of the Doctor too. The TARDIS is clearly of the same look as the capsule shown in the eleventh Doctor episode and there's even a reference to Clara telling the Doctor to steal the faulty TARDIS (Susan describes hearing voices outside the first TARDIS the Doctor is about to enter in Name). Hell, they even manage to fit in a reference to the Hand of Omega - it follows the Doctor into the TARDIS they end up stealing.

Unfortunately, once the Doctor and Susan arrive on their first adventure, it all goes a bit bland. Their first trip finds them arrive on the moon, where they encounter a species called the Archaeons who are interfering with the development of life on Earth. Nothing much really happens, which is a shame because the Doctor and Susan's journey to the repair shop on Gallifrey sounds much more interesting. I think Big Finish would have been better delivering a story entirely about the Doctor and Susan's escape as there are a lot of interesting plot points that weren't resolved in this release. Why were the Doctor and Susan being chased by guards, for instance? What did they do? Why did they have to flee Gallifrey? This would have been a much more engaging story and it could have ended with the Doctor and Susan stealing the TARDIS and thereby beginning their adventures through time and space.

Carole Anne Ford is a great narrator though and provides a certain energy to the story. This is a great help for when the story becomes about their first adventure, as it adds some much needed life to an otherwise lifeless TARDIS trip. She seems to know exactly how to engage the reader, making her one of Big Finish's strongest for the Companion Chronicles range.

Overall, The Beginning is interesting when it deals with the Doctor and Susan's escape from Gallifrey but once the focus shifts to their first adventure, it becomes a little dull and uninspiring. Thankfully Carole Anne Ford helps to make the first TARDIS trip feel a bit more energetic, proving herself to be an extremely strong and engaging reader. There are some nice references too to the Clara splinter on Gallifrey and the Hand of Omega; it also feels like a natural before and after of the TARDIS-stealing scene from Name of the Doctor, making it easier to be considered canonical than if the events of Name of the Doctor had been ignored. This story is definitely worth listening to for the scenes where the Doctor and Susan are escaping Gallifrey, just don't expect their first TARDIS trip to deliver anything spectacular.
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Reviewed By: TheBigChurroReview Date: 11/28/16 12:55 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

"The beginning" acts as a prequel and the first story of our long journey through time and space with this magical old, grumpy man who we were intrigued about, and this Companion Chronicle tells that story well. A shame that it could not have played out as a full cast audio because it can be seen as such an important story within the mythos of Doctor Who. The story is good and if you're reading this in November 2016, picking it up for 2.99 from Big Finish is a steal so get in quick :P
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
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9
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8
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Reviewed By: kfb2014Review Date: 4/28/16 2:04 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Interesting concept by creating a prequel to supplement the established first episode of Who, and explore what happened before, and in some respects up-to the point in which Susan arrives as a student at the Coal Hill School. There is a gentleness about this story, nothing too horrific happens apart from a wonderfully articulate storyline that gets painted by Carole-Ann in only the way she can, playing the part of Susan, the granddaughter of the Doctor. We get to listen to the Doctor and Susan making their escape from Gallifrey, we get an insight into the reasons why the Doctor needs to leave, but moreover we also get to learn that a realisation at this time, is that they are going never to return. Never again will they see their home. The story as the fabulous Terry Molloy in here as well, he plays a sort of jobs worth, Gallifrian Tardis tech. The story is gone in a flash, with just over 1 hour of adventure for the listener, but, you know what that is just enough time for us to get the feel of this, and as ever it comes out trumps in both is narration and acting, as a quaint little prequel Doctor Who gem. Worth a listen.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
9
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
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Has Prerequisite(s):
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Reviewed By: newt5996Review Date: 9/20/15 7:02 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

This is a real treat of a story. We get to see the Doctor and Susan leave Gallifray for the first time and go on their first adventure in the TARDIS. The best part is, is that the story matches up with The Name of the Doctor on how the Doctor and Susan leave and it's all told from the perspective of Susan. The story sees the first journey to the beginnings of Earth and we see the origins of so many Hartnell staples it is difficult to count. Marc Platt made this a real labor of love and introduces a great villain Quadrigger Stoyn played by the brilliant Terry Molloy.

The only real problem is that in between Part One and Two it gets really confusing to what has happened to everything. Other than that the 50th Anniversary Stoyn Trilogy kicks off with a great start that I hope is continued through the run.