Written by Nigel Robinson
Published by Audio Go and Big Finish
This first release in the 50th anniversary Destiny of the Doctor audio series takes us back to 1960’s London, prior to the events of An Unearthly Child. The Doctor is seeking to repair his Tardis, against a backdrop of unexplained acts of teenage aggression. Meanwhile, a strange Colonel has taken an unhealthy interest in Totter’s Lane.
The style of this, and all audios in the series, is a narrated tale with a second supporting actor. For Hunters, Carole Ann Ford tells the story, which perhaps understandably focuses primarily on her character of Susan, with the Doctor a mere bystander for much of the action. Tam Williams takes the role of Susan’s would-be boyfriend Cedric.
Robinson deftly evokes early 1960’s London, with the slow growth of racism and bigotry, both fuelled and challenged by the popular music of the day. Bob Dylan gets a lengthy shout out here. The return to the atmosphere of Coal Hill School and the yard in Totters Lane is equally well realised, though I suspect this will be a very well trodden point of nostalgia by the end of 2013.
The scenes of marauding teenagers threatening the Doctor and Susan are unsettling on many levels, and the post-war paranoia of strangers is nicely played, with a highly noirish meeting between the Doctor and a mysterious colonel. Less successful, and certainly less clear, are the real villains of this piece. The source of the teenagers’ lawlessness is never properly explained, though this may yet form part of the story arc that runs throughout the series. Still, this makes for a somewhat unsatisfactory conclusion, not alleviated by an out of character Cassandra impression from Susan in the closing moments.
Still, in the main this is an effective trip back into the First Doctor’s period. Next up is Frazer Hines narrating Second Doctor story Shadow of Death, which may yet shed some further light on the strange forces at work here.