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Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who
Voyage to the New World


Starring: Colin Baker, Christopher Benjamin and Trevor Baxter
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £9.99 (CD), £4.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 979 0
Available 31 December 2012

Roanoke Island, 1590, the site of the infamous lost colony. The TARDIS materialises centuries in the past, and the Doctor’s companions, Professor George Litefoot and Henry Gordon Jago, find themselves prisoners of the natives in the New World. However, there is something strange here - something stranger than even the colonists, led by Englishman John White. What are the ghostly children, and who is the Old Man of Croatoan? The travellers are about to discover the secret of the lost colony - and it may cost Jago’s life...

Counterbalancing the far-future, alien planet setting of the previous Sixth Doctor, Jago and Litefoot release, Voyage to Venus, this story takes place in Earth’s history - not just the past for us, but for Jago and Litefoot too. It’s also an appropriately colonial tale for the Victorian adventurers.

Writer Matthew Sweet explores the real-life mystery of the “lost colony”, which vanished from Roanoke Island, North Carolina, some time between 1587 and 1590. He depicts or mentions many of the people involved in the incident, including the settlement’s governor, John White (Philip Pope); Sir Walter “ooh, what a big ship I’ve got” Raleigh (Mark Lockyer), who organised the expeditions to the island; Wanchese (Ramon Tikaram), a native of the nearby Croatoan Island (now known as Hatteras Island); and Virginia Dare, the first child of English stock to be born in the Americas. I am grateful to the Radio 4 series Punt PI for bringing the subject matter to my attention in the September 2012 episode The Lost Colonists, which greatly enhanced my enjoyment of Voyage to the New World!

Sweet makes no mention of the discovery, by members of the First Colony Foundation, of what appears to be the symbol for a fort hidden beneath a patch-corrected portion of John White’s map. The position of the fort suggests that at least some of the colonists relocated to Salmon Creek rather than to Croatoan Island. This discovery was announced in May 2012, which may well have been after the writing and recording of this audio production.

Voyage to the New World starts out like a fairly straightforward historical adventure, but Walter Raleigh’s acquisition of the TARDIS gives an early indication of the narrative’s unusual use of time - in terms of both storytelling and the story’s content. The time-travel aspect of the tale is there for the Doctor (Colin Baker) to solve, while Jago and Litefoot (Christopher Benjamin and Trevor Baxter) engage with a seemingly more supernatural plot strand.

The Victorian duo part company with the Time Lord, after far too short a partnership, at the end of this CD, which sets things up nicely for a whole new chapter in their lives in the fifth season of Jago & Litefoot.

As was the case with Voyage to Venus, if you wish to file this release alongside your Jago & Litefoot collection, the disc’s sleeve is reversible, enabling you to adapt the cover, rather like John White applying a patch to his map.

All in all, this Voyage is a fascinating expedition.


Richard McGinlay

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