James Robert McCrimmon is about to release from Big Finish Productions. As such, there’s no better time to reflect on one of the best TARDIS teams on the TV show. That would be The Second Doctor and Jamie. For 20 TV stories, Patrick Troughton and Frazer Hines travelled together across the cosmos. Now The Second Doctor and Jamie are among the highest-regarded teams. Unfortunately, the fanbase for the earlier episodes of Doctor Who is a lot smaller than the rest of the show.
It’s an era full of classic episodes. My favourites include “Tomb of the Cybermen”, “The Enemy of the World”, and “The Mind Robber”. The longer serials and black-and-white footage turn away many fans, which is unfortunate. They’re missing out on the longest-running companion. He appeared in more episodes than any character (except the first four Doctors). It’s quite the era, which should be regarded as legendary for the Second Doctor and Jamie’s chemistry.
Early Television Appearances
Many of the 60s episodes are missing, with the Second Doctor’s adventures being the worst affected. As a result, they’ve released several animated and tele-snap reconstructions using surviving photographs and audio. Unfortunately, Jamie’s first appearance, “The Highlanders”, remains missing and is yet to be officially reconstructed. The surviving audio track, which I have heard, doesn’t make it an all-time classic. It’s a humble beginning for someone who would become one of the longest-serving companions.
He wasn’t even planning to be a companion. “The Highlanders” was rewritten after the character and dynamic between Hines and Troughton became popular. As a result, the lines of Ben (Michael Craze) and Polly (Anneke Wills) were reduced in the following stories. Although Ben and Polly soon left the series, it wasn’t before they faced down the Cybermen, the Macra and even endured one of a handful of contradictory Atlantis explanations in the series. Jamie quickly overshadowed them in all these stories. His bravery and comic relief made him the leading companion in Season 4.
It wasn’t until the introduction of Victoria (Deborah Watling) that Jamie could shine. He was very protective of Victoria, letting his bravery shine in some fight sequences. His comedic banter with the Second Doctor also shone through Season 5. The shot of them holding hands at the end of “Tomb of the Cybermen”, in particular, comes to mind. Their banter created a famous ship among fans of the era, although how intentional this was has been debated. It’s known that Troughton and Hines got along well, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they did it as a joke.
Season 6, and Season 6B
Season 6 is the most watchable season of the Troughton era. Most of the episodes, bar most of “The Space Pirates” and parts of “The Invasion” exist. Zoe (Wendy Padbury) was just what the era needed. The Second Doctor and Jamie had comedic banter and were often outsmarted by the genius Zoe. Also, contrasting with his immediate admiration for Victoria, Jamie was initially annoyed by Zoe. The fact that it only lasted for a season is such a shame, although thankfully, the 60s seasons run significantly longer than the other seasons.
It’s a classic season, with battles with such villains as the Ice Warriors (“The Seeds of Death”), and the Cybermen (“The Invasion”). The latter of which also introduced Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney). Even the finale, which includes Troughton’s “regeneration”, is one of the finest episodes of Doctor Who ever. It’s a ten-part epic that introduced the concept of f=orced regeneration, which we saw utilised again in “The Power of the Doctor”. Jamie and Zoe also had their minds wiped in one of the saddest companion departures of the entire series.
The Second Doctor’s regeneration scene is left unfinished. We never see the transition from Troughton to Pertwee. This has become a point of contention, especially considering the later appearances of a far older Troughton in episodes like “The Five Doctors”, and “The Two Doctors”. This led to the creation of the popular fan theory in Season 6B, where the Doctor was pulled out of his regeneration and went on missions for the Time Lord Celestial Intervention Agency. While it had been hinted at for the past few decades, it wasn’t until Beyond War Games last year that it was fully realised.
Looking Forward to James Robert McCrimmon
Stories like “Helicon Prime” hinted at Jamie’s involvement in Season 6B, and from a certain point of view, his appearance in “The Two Doctors” did as well. As an introduction to the rebooted Second Doctor Adventures range, the first boxset Beyond War Games was just a collection of solo Second Doctor stories. Given how The Second Doctor and Jamie were (who appeared in all but his first story), it was a nice twist. But that looks to all be changing soon with the upcoming release of James Robert McCrimmon.
The final scenes of Beyond War Games hinted at the CIA giving the Doctor a companion in the near future. The cover of James Robert McCrimmon features an older Jamie, so seeing the two reunited with memories restored will be a lovely listen. It’s not the first time an older Jamie has travelled with the Doctor, which included a brief audio run with Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor. Although this Jamie was a figment of the Land of Fiction, so this upcoming set will be our first contact with a post-War Games Jamie.
It’s one of Big Finish’s most exciting ranges, as it’s a completely uncharted period of the Doctor’s life. The biggest part of my excitement though is the return of Jamie McCrimmon. A reunion would be beautiful, and the potential for a nicer ending is always nice. I’m really looking forward to this boxset, and it’s out in just a few days! The Second Doctor’s future is looking very bright in the realm of audio.
You can now preorder The Second Doctor Adventures – James Robert McCrimmon from Big Finish Productions! It’s set to release on the 25th of July. It is available to order as a collector’s CD box set for just £19.99 or just £16.99 for a download-only copy. For news, reviews, and features about Doctor Who, be sure to follow Tardis Central for more!
Doctor Who will air in November 2023 with three special episodes as the show’s 60th Anniversary headliner event. David Tennant returns as the 14th Doctor alongside Catherine Tate as Donna Noble. Ncuti Gatwa’s first episode as the Fifteenth Doctor will air over the festive period, while his series 14 will debut in 2024 with Millie Gibson. Disney+ will be the exclusive home for new seasons of Doctor Who outside of the UK and Ireland.