The Eighth Doctor is back amongst the hell that is the Time War. This week, the second of four box sets was released, and today I’ll be reviewing the second story in the set, Planet of The Ogrons by Guy Adams.
Avoiding the Time War, the Doctor and Bliss are found by an old acquaintance: the latest incarnation of a criminal mastermind the Doctor knows of old. But unlike her predecessors, the Twelve has a handle on her previous selves’ unruly minds.
There is a mystery to solve involving the Doctor’s TARDIS and its unusual occupant – and answers will be found on the Planet of the Ogrons.
The Doctor soon arrives into the heart of a battle, but it’s not long before you realise that the Doctor isn’t the Doctor at all. There’s a person emerging from the TARDIS, but it’s not a Time Lord called the Doctor, it’s an Ogron who believes that they’re the Doctor.
Would you like a satsuma?
After the title sequence, we’re back with the Doctor we know, and he’s with Bliss looking at some ducks. They’re not on Earth though, there’s on a planet that is making an approximation of the Cotswolds. Once we’re reacquainted with the actual Doctor, we’re introduced to the Twelve. Yes, that charming little old lady on the cover of this release is the regeneration after the Eleven that we met in the Doom Coalition box sets. From insanity to… well, we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?
The Twelve is an absolutely brilliant character from the off, and Julia McKenzie is on stellar from the very beginning. It appears that the Twelve is now working for the High Council of Gallifrey, and it’s all because of the mysterious Ogron, the Ogron who appears to be a future version of the Doctor.
We’re soon introduced to a new character; one that sounds a bit like a Dalek, but not quite as full of hate. Almost as if they were a bridge between the emotionless Daleks and the full range of emotions that Davros possesses. It seems that this new creature of Skaro is experimenting on Ogrons to make them more prepared for the Time War.
Once we’re back with the Ogron, the Twelve, the Doctor and Bliss, we learn a bit about the Ogron planet, known as The Planet, and the Dalek bombardment that is going on. It appears that the Daleks are using the timeline to alter their involvement with the Ogrons in the past. We also get a bit of insight into the new kind-of Dalek character, known as The Overseer.
The concept behind the Overseer, that they are a Dalek scientist mixed with every other race in order to have the most brilliant mind possible, is really fascinating, and there’s mentions of the Human Factor from The Evil of The Daleks. What’s even more intriguing is that the rest of the Daleks hate and fear the Overseer. The idea that the Daleks are scared of a Dalek, yet fear and respect it is brilliant. If they ever bring back Dalek Empire, I’d love them to have the Overseer in it.
It’s not long before the Ogron Doctor brings the Twelve, the Doctor and Bliss to The Planet. The Ogron Doctor quickly manages to prove his Doctorishness, and Guy Adams’ brilliant writing makes it so engaging and compelling to listen to.
Julia McKenzie soon gets to flex her acting muscles, when the Twelve temporarily disables her neural block and allows the previous eleven incarnations of their self loose. It doesn’t quite have the same impact as it does when Mark Bonnar taps into his previous selves, but it’s still great fun to hear.
It’s interesting that it’s not the companion that gets captured by the Daleks, but instead it’s the Doctor and the Twelve; of course, they’re not exterminated straight away, instead, they’re given to the Overseer. There’s even a bit of humour from the Overseer and his Ogron associates.
Whilst the Doctor and the Twelve are being interrogated, the Ogron Doctor and Bliss try their best to rally up an Ogron army to revolt against the Daleks, and the results are somewhat surprising; talk about a bit of Guy Adams humour.
The music in this story, provided by Benji Clifford and Jamie Robertson, really elevates this story from great to bloody brilliant. It manages to punctuate Adams’ lighter moments, and can also sound as cinematic as the latest action Hollywood blockbuster.
The conclusion of Planet of the Ogrons is a brilliant scene filled with tension, and hearing McKenzie’s Twelve is just the cherry on top of the cake. Also, having a rather smug sounding Dalek is great to hear, and it reminds me of the rapport that the Cult of Skaro had with the Cybermen in Doomsday.
The fate of one of the characters is somewhat predictable, and it strangely harkens back to the Third Doctor, and harkens forward to the Tenth. It’s a detail that I expected from the start if I’m honest, but I’m glad they didn’t overplay it. There was a revelation that I didn’t expect though, and I’m interested to see where it leads, if anywhere, in future stories or sets.
Overall, Planet of The Ogrons was a great release, filled with humour, character development, and unexpected twists and turns. The two standouts of the story were undoubtedly Julia McKenzie as the Twelve, and Jon Culshaw as the Ogron Doctor.
I for one, can’t wait to hear what happens in In The Garden of Death after that cliffhanger!
Should you want to purchase The Eighth Doctor: The Time War 2, it’s currently available from Big Finish here for £23 on CD or £20 for a digital download for a limited time.