Producer Ian Atkins, Script Editor Ian Atkins
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs
Written By: George Mann, Directed By: Lisa Bowerman
Tim Treloar (Narrator)
Gardeners' Worlds is read by Tim Treloar, who has proved his considerable vocal skills at representing Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor in a number of earlier Big finish releases – and I must say his version of Pertwee is pretty much spot on.
The story itself takes place during the time when the third Doctor, Jo Grant, and UNIT are at the top of their game. The TARDIS is still incapacitated by the Time Lords, so this adventure is well and truly Earthbound, however the 'old girl' does get an outing......
For the most part the action takes place in the quiet, sleepy village of Colston Burghley, where strange things are appearing and disappearing, the oddest of all being some very odd looking silver flowers. The Doctor discovers what he believes to be some form of time distortion, and starts to investigate the 'root' of the problem in true blustering and bamboozling third Doctor style.
Of course the Doctor manages to get to the bottom of the mystery before any serious harm is done (apart from, at one point wiping out poor Mike Yates from their current reality), and things return quickly to reassuring normality.
Comparisons to The Dæmons are inevitable, and I couldn't help but picture that stories setting when imagining Colston Burghley, but the comparison is easy to put aside. My only complaint about Gardeners'Worlds is that the writer, George Mann seemed to want to embrace the era so much that he couldn't help but have the characters of Jo Grant and Mike Yates just repeating the Doctor lines back to him as a question in a way of coaxing a simplified explanation for the benefit of the viewers (or listeners, in this case). I found this to get a tad repetitive after a while, but also found myself chuckling at how accurate the story telling was for the time, of how we have moved on!
Gardeners' Worlds is an essential listen to fans of classic, third Doctor adventures, that is brought even more to life by Treloar's very accurate impression of Pertwee in the role, in fact, Trelor's characterisation of all the characters were uniformly excellent. I can't help but think that this extra layer to the storytelling might have raised this tale slightly above from being just a good, but enjoyable story.
Gardeners' Worlds is available to download now from Big Finish.