Reviewed: Big Finish’s The Tenth Doctor Adventures Vol. 2 – Infamy of the Zaross

The Infamy of Zaross sounds like the sort of title you would get from a Random Doctor Who Name generator (try it, it’s fun). It gives very little away about the story, except that it will involve something called Zaross. There is also a race of aliens who are intent on invading Norwich. The question on everyone’s lips throughout the story is ‘Why?’… What is so special about Norwich?

It is still exciting to hear David Tennant’s theme tune through my headphones. Big Finish has a whole new era of Doctor Who to explore and expand upon, and they aren’t wasting any time. This is Tennant’s second outing as the Tenth Doctor on audio, having previously been accompanied by Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble. Now he’s back travelling with Rose Tyler and, this may be a cliché, but it’s like they had never been away.

There has been some talk about Billie’s accent. Will she be able to capture Rose’s voice again? In short, yes. She doesn’t sound exactly like she did in 2006 (who does?), but I always felt like I was listening to Rose Tyler. The ageing voice of actor is something that you have to look past with Big Finish, although give Peter Davison the right script and the years fly off.

David and Billie are joined by Camille Coduri, playing the brilliant Jackie Tyler. She is visiting her friend Marge in Norwich when aliens attack. Luckily for Norwich, the TARDIS is only a phone call away and the Doctor and Rose barge into Marge’s living room, much to her annoyance.  The Doctor and Rose sprint off to find out what is going on, leaving Jackie to explain to her friend why there is a big blue box in her bedroom.

The Zaross begin by rounding up the humans in a park, in order to do…something. Their motives continue to be unclear until the about the middle of the play. All of which is done entirely on purpose by John Dorney. Seeing Dorney’s name on a project is always a sure sign of quality, he has written some of the best Doctor Who Big Finish have produced. Check out the entirety of the Eighth Doctor epic Doom Coalition for proof how good he and Matt Fitton are.

I try to keep these reviews spoiler free, so I will not say anything more on the plot. Only that it’s a great idea that fits perfectly into the era of Russell T. Davies.

Big Finish are not seeking to redefine the Tenth Doctor (…yet), their box sets so far seem to be made to fit neatly into the David Tennant era and that is no bad thing. Dorney has managed to latch onto many themes that ran through the 2005-09 series;  Aliens invading contemporary Britain, the Doctor bringing out the best in random strangers, people’s mums. This story has it all, wrapped up in a neat little plot that I will definitely be listening to again.

Nicholas Briggs, old Dalek face himself, directs all the stories in this set. It is easy to forget the role of the director on audio. Most of the actors at Big Finish have been playing their parts for years, and yet they still need a good director. Briggs is a man who has been doing this audio lark for years and years and knows exactly how to get good performances out of the regulars and supporting cast alike.

I think we have a lot to thank Mr Briggs for in getting all the new series content off the ground. I am sure it helps that he has worked with the entirety of the new series main cast on screen (or slightly off screen with a ring modulator).

If you are a fan of the Tenth Doctor, then you have probably bought this already. If you’re not a fan, then I don’t think this will change your mind. He is still manic and arrogant and cocky, but that’s what many people love him for. This box set did a lot to endear me to Rose, a companion I haven’t loved in the past. I can now understand why she is adored by so many fans. Here’s hoping we can get Noel Clarke back for the next box set.

The Tenth Doctor Volume 2 is available from Big Finish as either a boxset collection or individual CDs/Downloads.