While its a fairly by the numbers 1st Doctor plot the story is very engaging. Set way in the future this earth is well past its Glory days and its inhabitants have been reduced to a primitive state. Above the now neglected space ways are full of junk. This scrap has attracted alien rag and bone men intent on making some money but when the Doctor and his companions drop in unexpectedly events quickly spiral out of control with disastrous consequences. These events are the backdrop to the stories setup, with our two protagonists trapped in the remains off a satellite floating high above Earth. Air is low and there seems to be no hope off rescue, with the Doctor trapped in a different part of the wreckage and the TARDIS drifting in space.
The cramped makeshift prison and the threat of the air running out give the story a constant sense of claustrophobia and tension. With time on their hands Steven tries to force Tom to reveal the secret he has been keeping. The sparing between them is intercut with the back story of them arriving on the station and the events leading up to the disaster.
While the story doesn’t bother with shocks or twists it is well told. And harking back to the shows remit as an educational tool it decides to throw some Math into the mix. Yep, by listening to this story you may actually learn something. While it doesn’t consume the story it is integral to the resolution. It makes sense but coming from Peter Purves it did feel a little like being back in school. Thankfully blackboards don’t translate into the audio format so the lesson is kept brief and to the point.
This is one of the better first doctor tales. The intense setting helps the story to move along at a brisk pace and the secret Tom is carrying adds an air of mystery. Purves does a good take on the first Doctor; he really nails the mannerisms without going over the top with them. The music and sound effects are faily minimal but that serves the story. The aliens don’t get developed much but they really are back story; with the real meat of the story being between Purves and Allen as they spare over the secret.
An enjoyable tale, well worth a listen. 7/10
Reviewed by Friendsofderek