Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Doctor Who Unbound: Sympathy For The Devil
This is a CD-story made about five years ago by a group of fans, although many fans prefer to describe themselves as "professionals", to compensate for the insecurity of everything the word "fan" implied back when the show was off the air for 16 years.

Doctor Who Unbound is essentially a What If? series, enabling alternate versions of Doctor Who history to be explored without worrying about contradicting the main canon. Some might argue that the canon had already become corrupted by all the contradictory Virgin Books, BBV videos, Marvel comic strips and Big Finish CDs since the show had been cancelled in 1989, but I really wouldn't know.

This story sees David Warner as an alternate third Doctor, running into Lethbridge-Stewart 10-20 years too late. Lethbridge has had to fight all those alien invasions himself, without any help from the Doctor, and while he still managed to save Earth on his own, his solutions were less ideal. For example, there's now a giant prehistoric crater in the centre of London. This Lethbridge's career is in ruins, so when the Doctor shows up, he has, in part, to deal with his messiah-complex – his inability to save everyone.

Despite some fascinating ideas, this is really just an ordinary Doctor Who story dressed up a bit. It's told very well, and sounds great, although it's the older actors who really seem to 'get' audio-work. I guess they have the experience. That said, Warner's Doctor sounds fairly generic, but I think that's what I was expecting of him.

Special mention must go to the actor playing Colonel Brimmicombe-Wood – Lethbridge's replacement. It's David Tennant, at least two years prior to being cast as Doctor Who on television. No, really it is, I checked the inlay card...

And he absolutely shines in this. I still don't know why he doesn't have the Scottish accent on telly.

Overall, I really enjoyed this. It was refreshing to experience a Who story that was quite unashamed about its heritage.

And does it really happen outside the canon? Nah, he's just half-way through his second regeneration...

Diddley-dum, diddley-dum, diddley-dum, diddley-dum...
Available here.

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