Click here to return to the main site.

Audio Book Review


Doctor Who
The Lost Stories
The Second Doctor Box Set


Authors: Dick Sharples and Terry Nation
Read by: Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury and Jean Marsh
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £25.00 (CD), £20.00 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 453 5
Available 31 December 2010

A relaxing break for the Doctor and his companions Jamie and Zoe doesn’t quite go according to plan. It becomes something decidedly more sinister when they materialise at the wrong point in time and are arrested for trespassing. What has happened to the planet Earth, and how has the malevolent Chairman Babs gained control? As the Doctor and Jamie are incarcerated in a prison from which they can never escape, Zoe is forced to change sides...

As with The First Doctor Box Set, this four-disc collection contains two unmade stories from the 1960s, though on this occasion only one of them, The Prison in Space, actually features the Doctor. More on the other one later...

As with The First Doctor Box Set, the production style of The Prison in Space is similar to The Companion Chronicles. Recasting the late Patrick Troughton (the Second Doctor) was ruled out as disrespectful, so a full-cast audio drama wasn’t possible. Instead we have the two surviving members of the Season 6 TARDIS crew - Frazer Hines as Jamie and Wendy Padbury as Zoe - as well as guest star Susan Brown, who plays Chairman Babs. Of course, Hines’s impersonation of Troughton is so uncannily accurate that it’s almost as if the dearly departed actor is present in the studio with them. The narration duties and the voices of other characters are shared between Hines and Padbury. It helps that Jamie and Zoe are split up for most of the serial, so for the most part the narrative division of labour occurs quite naturally along the lines of scenes involving one or other of the companions.

The story itself is intentionally comedic, and many of its gags were conceived as visual ones, such as the Doctor, in a “Harold Lloyd sequence”, dangling from a tall building, and Jamie, dressed as a female guard, emerging wide-eyed from a women’s shower block. Fortunately, Hines and Padbury are adept at describing visual concepts for audio, thanks to their considerable experience of narrating BBC Audio’s releases of television stories, so such scenes are surprisingly vivid.

What is less successful is the whole concept behind Dick Sharples’s script: that of a future world in which sexual politics has been turned upon its head and women subjugate men. It’s not the notion itself, which has the potential to be a razor-sharp satire about sexual inequality, but the way in which it is presented. Whereas the subsequent Two Ronnies sketch serial The Worm That Turned had men being routinely required to wear dresses or skirts, here the conventions of 20th-century fashion remain unchanged - in one scene, for example, Chairman Babs wears a frilly nightie. Whereas the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode Angel One had the men wearing the degrading outfits, here the female guards wear form-fitting rubber catsuits. To be fair, The Worm That Turned put its female police force in even kinkier outfits, but I’m sure you’ll appreciate that being unfavourably compared to Angel One is not a good thing! Much emphasis is placed upon whether or not the female characters are attractive, with countless descriptions of the guards being “young” and “pretty”, indicating that this is still a criterion for judging them.

The fact that the female regime has banned warfare is regarded as a bad thing (a similar point is made about the pacifist Dulcians in The Dominators), whereas nowadays it seems like rather a good idea. Physical violence is seen as a solution to problems, most obviously when Jamie breaks Zoe’s mental conditioning by spanking her. The production team just about get away with this incident, because the spanker is Jamie, a man from a less enlightened age (who, in The Wheel in Space, once threatened to “put [Zoe] across [his] knee and larrap” her), but it’s still unsettling.

Interviews on the final disc of this box set reveal that the story has actually been moderated for this production. The original script had the Doctor delivering some surprisingly chauvinistic lines, and so, in adapting the story for audio, Simon Guerrier has given all the Doctor’s sexist dialogue to the more old-fashioned Jamie. He has also toned down the guards’ uniforms, which Sharples had described as low-cut and revealing bare midriffs. I think the spanking scene should have gone too, but it’s a famous (or rather infamous) scene and apparently Frazer Hines insisted upon its inclusion! During the interviews, the entire production team are at pains to defend the serial as being “of its time”.

In one respect at least, though, The Prison in Space was actually ahead of its time. The ramifications of the Doctor’s alien biology are explored more openly here than in any previous story in the show’s history. A key plot development revolves around the Time Lord’s physiology, and he plays dead in a manner that would become more commonplace during the Third and Fourth Doctors’ eras.

It’s hard to decide how to judge this serial. The transition from unmade television script to part-narrated, part-acted audio is achieved with remarkable success, but I doubt that the story itself would have been very highly regarded had it actually been produced in 1968.



When the crew of Explorer Base One are attacked by the Daleks, Space Security Agents Jason Corey, Mark Seven and Sara Kingdom decide to investigate. They discover a plan that threatens the future of the entire galaxy...

While the first two discs in this collection contain The Prison in Space, Disc 3 presents The Destroyers, the pilot script for a US Dalek TV series that never went into production. Though it doesn’t feature the Doctor, its inclusion here is fair enough, because if the series had been made, it would have aired during Troughton’s time (which is why the Daleks were temporarily written out of Doctor Who in The Evil of the Daleks).

The Destroyers has a curious, tangential relationship with regular Who continuity. Sara Kingdom (Jean Marsh), of course, appeared in The Daleks’ Master Plan, though here her brother is David Kingdom (Alex Mallinson) rather than Bret Vyon. I reckon The Destroyers takes place before Master Plan for Sara (a theory that is supported by her reference to Mark Seven in the Companion Chronicle The Guardian of the Solar System), not only for the obvious reason that she dies at the end of Master Plan, but also because she seems to be a more junior officer in this adventure, taking instructions from Jason Corey (Chris Porter), whereas in Master Plan she was in charge of the unit assigned to capture the Doctor’s party. She’s far from being the dispassionate follower of orders we first encountered in Master Plan, especially with regard to the fate of her brother, but perhaps these events in her younger days hardened her. The differing surnames of her brothers could be explained as the products of different marriages (i.e. Bret is Sara’s half-brother). When summing up Dalek history, the android Mark Seven (Alan Cox) makes no reference to The Dalek Invasion of Earth or any other Who stories, but then he does state that his records are not extensive.

In other respects, though, this is a typical Terry Nation script, full of exciting incidents with familiar-sounding names (Kingdom, Corey), strange creatures (a living “boulder”, carnivorous plants and deadly cobwebs), a perilous ledge in some creepy caves, and a Dalek incursion that threatens the whole galaxy. The writer predicts his subsequent series Blake’s 7 with his use of the term “force wall” and weapons that are connected to belt-mounted power packs.

As with the stage play The Curse of the Daleks, it’s a very visual story, so in adapting the script Nicholas Briggs and John Dorney (who took over when Briggs’s other commitments meant that he was unable to complete the job) have included plenty of narration, despite this being a full-cast drama. The narration is delivered by Marsh, and includes a quite beautiful description of Mark Seven.

The production style reflects the intended format of the series. The main theme, by sound designer / musician Jamie Robertson, is original and deliberately ’60s in flavour (rather than reusing Big Finish’s Dalek Empire theme, as I had half-expected). There are numerous descriptions of the colours of things, because the series would have been made on colour film. There’s even a pause between acts, as though for a commercial break.

The episode ends on a cliffhanger, which, because the series was never made, has yet to be resolved. If this box set proves successful, let’s hope that it leads to some kind of continuation.


Richard McGinlay

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£20.28 (
£29.99 (
£20.99 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.