Doctor Who Review: The First Doctor Volume 2 – ‘Fields of Terror’ (Audio)

The latest Companion Chronicles box set, ‘The First Doctor: Volume 2’, has just been released. Here’s a review of the first story from the set, ‘Fields of Terror’.

I really do enjoy stories with the First Doctor. In a lot of ways, he’s very different to his later incarnations. Sometimes, he comes across as wiser. Other times, he can be more childish and stubborn, especially in his earlier adventures.

However, he also had a lot of character development. In this latest release from Big Finish, The First Doctor: Volume 2, all four of these stories are set after he’s mellowed considerably. Interestingly, he’s not quite in all of them. The reason for this is that the box set is part of the excellent Companion Chronicles range.

If there’s one thing that I really enjoy about the First Doctor’s stories, it’s the kind of stories that you can tell with his Doctor. In some ways, many of these stories were darker and grittier than those for subsequent Doctors. And the first story in this set certainly matches that description.

Fields of Terror

The TARDIS has brought the Doctor back to Revolutionary France, a place that’s always fascinated him. But this time he, along with Steven and Vicki, are drawn into a devastated land, caught between the soldiers who are burning all before them and a monstrous shape that follows in their wake.

There was a lot I enjoyed about Fields of Terror, the first story in this set. For one thing, I loved that it was a very historical story. Historicals were definitely one of the First Doctor’s era’s many strengths. It allowed for history to come alive, while also allowing for a great deal of drama. Even when science-fiction elements were included in a historical, (which was actually rare,) it was the dangers of history rather than a science-fiction problem that would be the focus.

I also loved that it actually returned to an era that had been previously explored in another story, but from a very different perspective. The last time the First Doctor had arrived in revolutionary France was The Reign of Terror, but he had arrived in Paris. This time though, the area he’s landed is far more dangerous. We get to experience a lot more of the bloodshed and brutality of the era this time.

Fields of Terror is also very high on suspense. Along with very bloodthirsty soldiers, the TARDIS crew are also facing an unknown threat. What’s interesting is that you’re never quite sure if the threat is alien or something else entirely, not until the very end. That feeling of mystery only adds to the intrigue.

With its mix of history with drama, suspense and even hints of horror, Fields of Terror is an excellent way to begin The First Doctor: Volume 2.

Next Up: ‘Across the Darkened City’