When listening to Shockwave, one must remember that the seventh incarnation of the Doctor was the most manipulative of the bunch. Those of you that are new to the world of Doctor Who may only at the moment know one or two of the Time Lords incarnations but there was a time when the Doctor had more than just then secret of his name to worry about. From 1987 to 1989 on television as well as many books, comics and one final appearance for the 1996 TV movie, Sylvester McCoy offered Doctor Who fans a far more mysterious and controlling Doctor who was always one step ahead and would use others to achieve his goals. So when it comes to Destiny of the Doctor: Shockwave, it comes as no surprise that writer James Swallow has kept this devious version of the Doctor as the main protagonist.
When the Doctor and his friend Ace arrive on Tarsus Six, they find the inhabitants in a state of emergency. The sun is about to collapse and panic has arisen in a massive way. But Ace, only seeing the positive in her Doctor, believes that the Time Lord has brought them along to help. Little does she know that he has an altogether different motive for his arrival at this convenient time.
What’s especially clever about Shockwave is the Doctor’s own use of himself. The Seventh Doctor believes that he’s arrived to further his own ends and receive a mysterious call that has summoned him; little does he know that he’s only half right. Because the master manipulator has in fact been manipulated, in a fun way, by the Eleventh Doctor, who needs a job done as part of his ongoing story that we’ve been piecing together for the whole of 2013. Never say that Doctor Who doesn’t show character growth, the Eleventh Doctor knowing exactly how to draw his former incarnation’s interest is particularly clever and also very satisfying.
Sophie Aldred performs the narration from the Doctor and Ace as well as a few other characters; she is of course a delight. Her interpretation of the Seventh doctor may be a bit more Scottish than we’re used to but she has all of McCoy’s mannerisms down to a tee and she’s able to switch from the actor’s quiet self reflective side to his fiery rage in a heartbeat. Ian Brooker provides the voice of Captain OhOne and offers a proud and noble character for listeners to respect and enjoy.
Some of the most rewarding scenes in Shockwave are from the prose itself, Swallow is able to offer grand and detailed descriptions of horrific infernos and plays well with large space opera, making it as realistic and fascinating as possible. He never loses a step and keeps the drama turned up to eleven the throughout the entire piece.
Shockwave provides a great snapshot of who the Seventh Doctor was, perhaps not so much encapsulating his television era as much as proving just how different the Doctor used to be.
You can purchase the story on CD or via download from www.bigfinish.com (please be aware that the CD release does not come with a free download copy). You can also purchase from Amazon for just £5.82!