Here we are, the last Doctor Who review of 2017… and it’s a cracker! The Wreck of the World is not only the best Early Adventures I’ve heard, but might be the best 2nd Doctor audio story in general. Good twisty plot, full of great characters and the lead trio have plenty of great dialogue and moments between them. What a great way to end the year!
Undergoing repairs in deep space, the TARDIS is caught in a collision with the huge, decaying wreck of a starship. Zoe, spacewalking, is separated from her companions in the crash, and the Doctor and Jamie wake to find the TARDIS fused to the side of the ship.
Venturing inside to rescue their friend, they discover that they are on board The World, the very first colony ship to leave Earth, lost mid-voyage under unknown circumstances.
And they are not alone. A terrible suspension chamber is filled with dead, withered human bodies, and a team of gun-toting astronauts are stalking the corridors. But a far greater threat lurks deep inside. The terrifying force responsible for the scuttling of the ship is active once more – and if it can’t be stopped, it won’t just be the end of this World. It’ll be the end of all of them.
Note: Full Spoilers From Here On Out!
Cast of Characters:
The Doctor (Frazer Hines) – The Doctor and his companions are on the move again, but before they can fly to their next destination they need to repair the TARDIS, and the only person who can fit inside the one exosuit is Zoe…
Jamie McCrimmon (Frazer Hines) – Jamie is insulted and worried that Zoe gets to go into the void of interstellar space to repair the TARDIS, but he won’t have to wait long to find some action…
Zoe (Wendy Padbury) – Zoe is used to repairing, her endless programming and education included the odd bit of welding. That being said, the endless black void doesn’t make much of a view…
Commander Lorne (Judith Roddy) – Head of her group of mercenaries, Lorne is fine with taking the job of finding the legendary ship known as The World, but maybe should have done a bit more research into who she allows to hire her…
Twenty (Adam Newington) – Twenty is a programmed human, much like Zoe, although he actually has a lot of cybernetic parts in his brain. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have thing to learn though…
Professor Blavatsky (Richenda Carey) – Blavatsky has spent her life in search for the legendary first colony ship known as The World, notable for vanishing without a trace. Why she wishes to find the ship may be more complicated, however…
and many more!
Great cover, effectively using period-accurate black and white along with colour to make it quite striking!
First thing’s first, the dialogue between the main cast, and hell even the guest cast, is so well written. It has its serious moments, but it also has brilliantly written and performed comedy, with jokes about Jamie being able to make coffee and Twenty’s exclamation that he beat back a hoard of undead by “throwing Napoleon at them”, by which he meant an old bust, to which The Doctor just causally brushes off with a “yes, of course you did, now…” That made me smirk like nobody’s business.
Yeah, undead. The key villain in this story is an entity that feeds off of dying worlds known as the Corvus, which has the ability, among others, to reanimate the dead. The World was a ship full of survivors of the then-dying Earth and they’d been rotting for hundreds of thousands of years… so really they should be dust, but I guess the vacuum of space kept them in their near-mummy like state. A fun, and creepy, premise, and I like the lost ship and how Blavatsky and others refer to it as a legend they read about in books as children and stuff, makes it feel like a story where The Doctor lands on a lost ship at sea that we know historically went missing.
The story doesn’t hang about too much either, it splits and crew and has them doing different things in different parts of the ship, facing new challenges and enemies… it really keeps the story going. Zoe is given a bit of character development here as well, connecting as she does with fellow modified human Twenty, giving a lovely last word after his sadly predictable (but no less moving) sacrifice. This is one of those rare Doctor Who stories where literally no-one lived, bar the lead trio, obviously, and it had a great path to getting there.
The only real bad I can think of is the annoying robot and his/her/it’s annoying screeches in the opening episode. It served a purpose and added to the humour in some scenes, but generally it was closer to annoying that funny.
Not really tied to any other story, though The Doctor says that the damaged TARDIS came from when they exited from the Land of Fiction, which they visited in the TV story “The Mind Robber”. Despite this being a colony ship, it comes from far earlier in the Earth’s history than the 29th Century solar flare evacuation that most of the other Earth colony ships The Doctor has encountered come from.
The Wreck of the World was a pure joy to listen to. Full of great dialogue, a punchy and fun script and plenty of drama. One of those rare audio story, hell stories in general, that I could re-listen to right now and be perfectly happy doing so. Highly recommended.