The second special release in the Sixth Doctor, Jago and Litefoot range, Voyage to the New World, is an altogether different beast to its predecessor Voyage to Venus.
Maybe it’s the fault of this reviewer but these special one hour releases seem to suggest a nugget of fun, entry level high jinks for the Doctor and his friends, a season opener akin to Smith and Jones or Partners in Crime if you will. But Big Finish simply refuse to bend to the rules of basic expectations and instead offer the listener something more in the form of quite a serious tale.
Whilst trying to get the Victorian adventurers Jago and Litefoot back to their own time, the Doctor instead ends up landing on Roanoke Island in 1590 and immediately find themselves pulled apart and taken prisoner. Roanoke Island was the site of the 16th century Roanoke Colony, the first English colony in the New World and it seems very fitting that the Doctor and the TARDIS should end up here during the early stages of the discovery of the Western Hemisphere after having seen the Time Lord have so many established adventures in modern America. But English colonists aren’t the Doctor’s only problem, there are ghostly children as well that are linked to a deadly secret about a lost colony.
Harsh realities and persecution make up much of the story within this adventure, it’s by no means light and cannot be described as a romp, but that’s exactly what writer Matthew Sweet and Big Finish had in mind when creating this story. The special releases have been designed to showcase Big Finish Doctor Who at its best and also at its most versatile.
After the sweeping alien landscape of Venus, the listener is bought down to Earth here with a harsh fall. It’s a rather clever idea to have a story released at a special price that isn’t a comedy or a parody of Doctor Who but rather a full blown drama showcase. Colin Baker is suitably subdued allowing some excellent scenes with his co-stars, such as Litefoot aghast with worry for Jago and Jago himself petrified for his own continued existence. Each of the three leads brings something to the table to work with and each helps to build the fragile and volatile situation that they find themselves thrown into.
Those that are fans of Jago and Litefoot will eat this story up, those that are fans of the Sixth Doctor adventures will relish his indomitable spirit prevailing once again and those that love a Big Finish bargain will be especially pleased.
Voyage to the New World is available from www.bigfinish.com now for £4.99 via download.