Producer & Script Editor: Ian Atkins,
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs
Written By: Anthony Keetch, Directed By: Lisa Bowerman
Cast Peter Purves (Narrator)
"His old body is wearing a bit thin......It happens to us all."
How very apt that Big Finish should give us a festive Short Trips, featuring the first Doctor (the original you might say!) ahead of this Christmas day television outing?
The story opens with the TARDIS materialising into what seems like an idealised Christmas scene. As Steven and the Doctor step out, they see that there's snow all around, along with a forest of pine trees and, just off in the distance, a cosy looking cottage. However (as always) everything s not quite as it seems, because in the cottage the pair find a young girl, Greta, and her Grandfather, Herman, cowering from an unlikely alien threat outside.
The story is a joy to listen to, and this is a lot down to Peter Purves narration, which starts off warm and gentle, but slowly leaves the listener feeling somewhat claustrophobic and quite tense. His impersonation of the first Doctor is almost perfect. Between Antony Keetch's writing talent, and Purves vocal skills we find ourselves suddenly in the company of William Hartnell, which is a lovely Christmas present in itself.
O Tannenbaum is essentially a tightly written, base under siege story, with a taste of first contact thrown in for good measure. What is a nice surprise though, is, as was the original intention of Doctor Who, the story also manages to sneak in some historical facts for the listeners to ponder over.
The words O Tannenbaum, of course is German for O Christmas Tree, and this short story will ensure that you keep you keep that real tree you have in the living room well watered and alive for as long as possible - otherwise, you never know it's loved ones might just come looking for it - and you!
As Steven Taylor / Peter Purves rounds off this story with a cheeky "A very merry Christmas to all of you at home." you will walk away from this festive little treat with a lovely, warm feeling.