Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor Adventures 2.3:
written by Matt Fitton
Well, this is a wishlisty one, isn't it? The Ice Warriors, the one big classic monster RTD never really got around to, versus the Tenth Doctor and Rose. Also, its set on a space station that's a massive freezer centre which is nostalgic for me because Dragonfire was one of the first Doctor Who stories I ever watched and I maintain a nostalgia for it that borders on denial of its actual quality to this day.
Is it weird that this felt like the most “authentic” recreation of the show in 2006? Part of it is the claustrophobic setting: a mostly deserted moonbase freezer centre that would be extremely budget efficient if it were physical sets and locations. Then there's the fun selection of people on board: as well as the Ice Warriors we have a robot manager, two interstellar refuse collectors; and, a pair of space pirates trying to raid the place for caviar. It all rather reminds me of Planet of the Dead except with Rose in it and with me enjoying it.
If I had to choose a least favourite episode from the RTD run its Planet of the Dead. Great idea, dull execution.
It might sound odd after how I began reviewing this set to say that this was me favourite story in the set. It is, as I say, nostalgic and very much based on executing the formula of the 2006 series. There's even a fantastic broody confrontation between Tennant and Nicholas Briggs' Ice Lord about the morality of war and the sacrifices commanders ask their soldiers to make. Rose gets to be plucky and determined, running around with her own one-off companion. Just about the only thing that isn't pure 2006 is the fact these are clearly Moffat-era Ice Warriors but they had to be since the old style ones are a bit... basis, shall we say?
I guess I just ended up resigned to the fact that this box set wasn't going to push the characters too much. If we're being honest it was probably inevitable. One of the problems of going back to these seasons is that the characters had pretty complete arcs so what actually is there to do with Rose Tyler or the Tenth Doctor? Don't get me wrong I'd like to see Big Finish try harder to find new places to push the characters but I do understand why it might not feel like the best option. The previous Tenth Doctor Adventures set did manage to do new things with Donna but then Donna's arc wasn't as involved or, dare I say it, complete as Rose's so there was more blank space to fill.
As a nostalgia fix, I can't fault this box set, its pure RTD: a modern set story with Jackie Tyler; a celebrity historical; and, a classic monster. Its all there.
Its just a frustrating pity it all that's there.