There are reunions and then there are reunions. While this reunion isn’t quite the same as a Lennon-McCartney-Harrison-Starr reunion, it is worthy nonetheless! Big Finish has announced the upcoming release of Doctor Who: The Fifth Doctor Box Set, two four-part stories that reunite, for the first time, The Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) with Nyssa (Sarah Sutton), Tegan (Janet Fielding) and Adric (Matthew Waterhouse). The release also marks Waterhouse’s first collaboration with Big Finish, filling what Executive Producer (and voice of the Daleks) has noted as an “Adric-shaped hole” in the range of Fifth Doctor stories.
What say we unpack this a bit, dear reader, and uncover what new adventures lie in store for Peter Davison’s original TARDIS crew? Up first is the Jonathan Morris penned Psychodrome, which is firmly anchored between the Season 19 episodes, Castrolava and Four to Doomsday. The story finds the still freshly regenerated Fifth Doctor and his companions on a strange planet and forced to come together quickly when they encounter “strange, sinister characters.”
The second four-parter is nestled just before the game changing classic Who episode, Earthshock, and now serves as Adric’s penultimate adventure with the Doctor. In what is described as “spine-tingling” adventure, John Dorney’s Iterations of I finds the Doctor and company stranded on a remote island, attempting to unravel the mystery of the “i” (willing to bet it’s probably not a Jobsian “i-Device,” although a story where the Cybermen use iPhones and iPads as weapons against humanity might make for interesting story telling…-Writer).
Now it is time to address the elephant in the room; the return of Adric. With the possible exception of Rose Tyler, there really hasn’t been a more divisive figure in the history of Doctor Who than Adric. Granted, there are probably as many people who love the youngling math genius as those who hate him, but bringing Adric back does run the risk of bringing back the ire from those who love to hate him. The flipside of that coin, and where I think Briggs and Big Finish are smart in bringing back Waterhouse, is it does give the character of Adric more opportunity for development and perhaps soften some of the arrogant and childish edges that his character is known for (I’m thinking squarely about the first episode of Earthshock for reference here…). And while any development that might take place in the eight installments of the new series cannot change what happened on-screen, it can certainly inform it and possibly frame conversations and actions in a different light.
Interested in what Kasterborous thinks of the exciting new series? Never fear! We’ll have a top-notch review of Doctor Who: The Fifth Doctor Box Set coming down the line shortly. As always, you can check out the Big Finish and Reviews heading on Kasterborous for news on the other Big Finish releases as well as reviews from Meredith Burdett (a supremely talented bloke and Big Finish guru) and coming soon—yours truly! Doctor Who: The Fifth Doctor Box Set is available for preorder now. Will you be signing up for the return of Adric? Are you excited for a Season 19 reunion? Let us know!