Doctor Who: The First Wave Review

As quickly as they began we end our travels with Oliver Harper. He joined with a big secret, we found out that secret in his second story, and now we see (or hear) how his travels end. Is the ending a worthy one? Well, let’s find out!


Caught in the inevitable path of its own history, the TARDIS arrives on the planetoid Grace Alone, where the Doctor, Steven and Oliver expect to face their fate. What they don’t expect to find is a massacred crew – and a race of alien invaders known as the Vardans.

When the Doctor is apparently killed, his companions attempt to survive against the odds. But those odds are narrowing. Their borrowed time has expired.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

Once again there is a great creepy sci-fi soundscape as The Doctor, Steven and Oliver land on a planetoid known as “Grace Alone”, a place they’d previously seen that they’ll be arrested on. The Doctor decides to arrive, write their arrest warrant in the computer and the head off, but of course it doesn’t go that simply and instead they find the crew all dead by electric shock. Turns out the Vardans of all fictional races are behind it and plan to conquer Earth, and soon they seemingly kill The Doctor. Steven and Oliver run for it in the thin atmosphere of the planet, barely making it across the surface only to realise there was no way off the planet, so they may as well head back across the perilous landscape and try to stop them.

The Doctor soon reveals he’s alive and puts a plan into motion that dissipates the Vardans harmlessly into the atmosphere, but they manage to take Oliver with them. Yes, in the end our brave new companion is killed along with the Vardans in a self-sacrifice play. His barely aware frazzled remains hover around the TARDIS long enough to make eye contact with the regenerating Doctor from the Tenth Planet, apparently giving him some comfort before his first “death”, which is a little much, but sure…

Overall it’s a really great story, well told by our two voices.

The Bad:

Not much. It’s one hour and almost entirely a well told, atmospheric story. As I said I find the “Oliver’s spirit hangs around the TARDIS and is really there in that big final moment in the Tenth Planet” a bit much, but hey-ho. It’s harmless really.

The Continuity:

All things considered that’s not a bad “photoshop of someone running” job!

Beyond the two previous Oliver Harper stories, there’s only the Vardan’s previous appearance in Fourth Doctor TV story “The Invasion of Time”, which is set up here as The Doctor gives them coordinates to Gallifrey…

You can also say that Steven and The Doctor’s strained relationship in the TV story “The Massacre” is related to this story, as it was originally due to the death of Sara Kingdom, but now it’s due to the death of her and Oliver in short succession.

Overall Thoughts:

The First Wave is a really enjoyable hour of audio, with some atmospheric dialogue, narration and sound effects. A tragic end to the trilogy, but a well told one that plays well into the next Doctor and Steven TV story, where they’re both rather fed up of all the death…

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