Ah, another Big Finish release, this time Shield of the Jötunn, a Sixth Doctor adventure with new companion Constance Clarke. Will the Shield be able to stand up to any scrutiny? Let’s find out in this spoiler free review…
2029 AD. In the desert of Arizona, billionaire philanthropist Dr Hugo Macht is trying to save the world from climate change. But his great project to “scrub the sky clean” with nanoatomic machines grinds to an unexpected halt when his diggers break into something unexpected: a Viking burial barrow containing eight corpses, a mysterious shield, an even more mysterious inscription… and a yet more mysterious traveller in time and space, known only as the Doctor.
And that’s not even the strangest part of Dr Macht’s day. Soon, it’ll begin to snow. Soon, the Doctor and his Girl Friday, Mrs Constance Clarke, will come face-to-face with an ancient horror in the blizzard. A Frost Giant, in need of a new body. In need of flesh…
It’s always interesting when a new companion joins the TARDIS, their first few adventures really define what they become. It also helps that the companion is somewhat likeable, as they are there to be in place of the viewer/ listener. Shield of the Jötunn is the concluding part of Constance Clarke’s introductory trilogy; being introduced in Criss-Cross, then having her pit against the Rani in Planet of The Rani. Considering we’ve only have Constance join the Sixth Doctor for essentially four hours previously (if you discount The Last Adventure as that takes place further on in the Sixth Doctor’s life), she’s had a rough time of it.
The first thing I noticed after listening to this adventure is just how epic the scale is of this story, and for me, this is why I love Big Finish so much. In the days of Classic Who, the BBC didn’t have the budget to make many big, blockbuster style episodes; sure there was The Five Doctors but that’s the only Classic story I’ve seen that feels rather epic in size. Doctor Who didn’t really have the money to shoot episodes on location all that often, the only Classic examples I can think of being City of Death and The Two Doctors, so being able to go anywhere in time and space through audio lets your imagination paint the scene for you instead of relying on budgetary-restrained visuals.
This epic story is set in Arizona in 2029, where there’s a Viking Burial Ground and trouble ensues. I know not all of my readers will have had the chance to listen to this story, so I’m keeping this review of spoiler-free as possible; all I will say is, the fact that there’s a blizzard in Arizona is a cause for concern. These sort of scenarios are the ones I love seeing companions in as it can really be a test of character. Constance manages to keep a cool head (pun totally intended) and doesn’t do anything rash; I love it when companions seem to be more of a thinker than a fighter.
Speaking of characters, the other character you expect in a Doctor Who story is the Doctor. Now, I’m going to admit that I’m not a huge fan of Colin Baker’s TV run, but that is no way due to his ability as an actor. Luckily, Big Finish have managed to give Colin some incredible storylines, some incredible companions and, most importantly, a great character arc. Due to these, Colin has become one of my favourite Big Finish Doctor’s and someone whom I admire, I just wish that the Big Finish writers were around in the 1980’s to make Colin’s run great. In this story, the Doctor appears to warm more to Constance, as he seems to have kept himself a bit more distant with her previously. Considering his opening lines we’re ‘Change my dear, and it seems not a moment too soon’, the Sixth Doctor doesn’t seem overly fond of many changes.
Overall, Shield of the Jötunn is a great story; it’s easy to follow, keeps you hooked and makes you cry of for more Six/Constance adventures. I, for one, can’t wait until May 2016 when we get more Sixth Doctor goodness, and you should be looking forward to it too.
The rating system on the Gallifrey Archive is achieved on a scale of 1-10.
For Shield of the Jötunn, I will give a rating of:
Should you want to buy Shield of the Jötunn from Big Finish, click here.