Human Resources Part 1

Posted in Audio by - August 25, 2017
Human Resources Part 1

Released July 2007

Much as the first season of The Eighth Doctor Adventures opened with a two-part tale featuring the infamous Daleks, the finale also stretches to a two-part format while bringing back arguably the franchise’s second most iconic foe, the Cybermen. And while the first season has been filled with occasional missteps amidst several excellent ideas in some very strong stories as the Eighth Doctor transitions to the fifty-minute format, ‘Human Resources Part 1,’ as a whole, showcases better than any previous tale just how good this series can be.

With the Headhunter finally succeeding in her quest across time and space for Lucie Miller and bringing her to join the staff of Hulbert Logistics in Telford, it’s clear from the start that something is not quite right, especially as Lucie finds herself in the position she was hired for before traveling with the Doctor and her memories of the Doctor seemingly just dreams. With strategy and planning meetings focused on military operations, sealed exits, and very peculiar guards, writer Eddie Robson clearly but subtly suggests that this office is anything but a normal office, making the payoff when Lucie gets fired and sent outside all the more satisfying as the extent of the contrast between normal and abnormal- from Lucie’s perspective- is brought squarely into focus.

The notion of a giant war robot manned by a full complement of human staff brainwashed to believe they are performing menial office tasks is a wonderfully fantastic conceit that few programmes would dare even attempt, and the audio medium where imagination can run unfettered proves to be the perfect one for this very visual concept. Of course, the Doctor is able to use his alien nature to accidentally work his way up the corporate ladder after being sent to retrieve Lucie by the Time Lords with only a time ring as they hold his TARDIS hostage, and his act of innocence as he pretends to be a customer to determine the truth behind the giant robots is executed brilliantly. Perhaps unsurprisingly given that this is only the introductory half, the Doctor’s attempts to foil this corporation’s scheme backfire quite spectacularly as the other party is revealed to be none other than the Cybermen, leading to a fairly traditional but nonetheless riveting cliffhanger immediately following their introduction.

While the whole story by obvious necessity needs its second half to be judged, ‘Human Resources Part 1’ is pretty much pitch perfect as it sets the scene and creates immense momentum heading into the finale. Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith again share a fantastic chemistry and give their typical strong performances, the former showing his more demanding nature and the latter doing incredibly well as Lucie Miller is unknowingly reduced to a stereotypical office worker without her usual fierce determination. Bolstered by wonderful direction, sound design, and superb guest performances that sell the office nature as well as the extreme twist, ‘Human Resources Part 1’- even by itself- is a welcome addition to the Cybermen story catalogue and provides an immensely engaging and satisfying opener to the first season finale of The Eighth Doctor Adventures.

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