This is the first in Big Finish’s WHAT IF range of Doctor Who audios. this one asks the question ‘What if the Doctor never left Gallifrey?’
From the onset of this play it is obvious that although Big Finish mean never to re cast the William Hartnell Doctor that Geoffrey Bayldon’s Doctor appears to do just that. In these circumstances this isn’t a bad thing as it is Geoffrey Bayldon brings in a distinct portrayal that acts as an analogue to rather than a mimic of William Hartnels performance.
The story for this play is second fiddle to the characterisation of this alternate Doctor, one who didn’t muster the courage to jump in the old type 40 TARDIS and go a wandering. Instead this Doctor explores other realities and of all the possibilities he can choose from he chooses one form historical earth. It appears that the Doctors liking for earth is set in his personality and doesn’t change even when the Doctor has never been there.
This story, with the modification of a couple of quite minor details could quite easily be seen as a direct prequel to ‘An Unearthly Child’ (or what ever your preferred title is for serial A).
Susan’s return is welcomed as the character is a lot more mature than her televisual counterpart.
In summary this little curio makes me want to hear more about this alternate Doctor, but I do feel that if there were a spin off series for Geoffrey Bayldon it would get very tired very quickly as it will essentially require a retread of the William Hartnel era of Doctor Who. There is that curiosity to see how the first Doctor would handle ‘Wolves Of Fenric’ or ‘The Happiness Patrol’. ]]>