Immortal Beloved
Audio / August 17, 2017

Released April 2007 The Doctor continues his attempts to return Lucie Miller home despite the presence of the Time Lords’ shield in the vortex, arriving at what appears to be ancient Greece. But after interrupting a pair of star-crossed lovers committed to the ultimate sacrifice to ensure their undying love, the two soon find that the powers of this strange place are much more mechanical and much less godlike than it initially seems. The setting for ‘Immortal Beloved’ is an inspired one, the imagery of a civilization modelled after Greece naturally enhancing the drama of the living gods within it. Yet what could have still become a rather straightforward story about technology masquerading as divine and superhuman powers for those controlling it is given a startlingly emotional backdrop as it is revealed that these false gods retain their immortality by physically transferring their consciousness into clones who must sacrifice their own personalities and lives in the process. With the process and its ancient machine slowly going wrong through the generations and so many lives being thrown away to continue those of a few, the Doctor naturally has no qualms about trying to bring about an end to this barbaric ritual.…

Horror of Glam Rock
Audio / August 16, 2017

Released March 2007 Tonally, Paul Magrs is unquestionably one of the most unique Doctor Who writers, routinely using every minute of a production to imbue an incredible sense of atmosphere and distinctiveness to often whimsical but always poignant tales. With the shorter running time allotted to The Eighth Doctor Adventures, however, Magrs delivers a more traditional story with ‘Horror of Glam Rock,’ though one that very much manages to make the most of each of its characters and to cement this burgeoning range as a wholly worthwhile endeavour that perfectly blends the stylings and sentiments of the classic and modern eras of Doctor Who. Perhaps unsurprising given the title’s homage to ‘Horror of Fang Rock,’ ‘Horror of Glam Rock’ sees a small group of individuals entrapped by predatory creatures, though the 1970s glitz and tack of the glam rock era give the roadside cafe a style all its own. The plot is not necessarily the most complex or challenging as the alien Only Ones hatch their invasion scheme through one half of the rising singing duo The Tomorrow Twins but eventually end up trapped as an mp3 file. Instead, ‘Horror of Glam Rock’ is highlighted by its truly stunning performances…

Blood of the Daleks Part 2
Audio / August 14, 2017

Released February 2007 With the introduction of Lucie Miller and her mysterious recent past with connections to the Time Lords firmly in place and the tale of a burgeoning Dalek race about to collide with their forebears taking precedence, ‘Blood of the Daleks Part 2’ quickly and confidently picks up the threads of the first part with the Daleks as an integral component as the Doctor tries to prevent his recurring nightmare from playing out before him once again. As a conclusion to the opening serial of a brand new range designed to bring in a new audio audience while bridging the gap between televised eras, it makes perfect sense that ‘Blood of the Daleks Part 2’ follows a rather traditional storyline. However, it nonetheless allows for a fantastically brutal exploration of the Daleks’ devotion to racial purity in the process. This is a topic that has, of course, been touched upon in the television and audio stories many times previously with elements such as the human factor and hybrids, but the notion of a group of Daleks halting hostilities in another war to destroy a planet on which a new race of Daleks is being created more directly emphasizes…

Blood of the Daleks Part 1
Audio / August 12, 2017

Released January 2007 Big Finish is an undeniably important component of Doctor Who history, keeping the classic series firmly alive between the failed 1996 TV movie and the ultra-successful 2005 relaunch by employing the original Doctors and companions since 1999 and still going strong today. With Paul McGann joining the company in 2001, Big Finish suddenly became the place to go for ‘new’ Doctor Who beyond the brief tease of his one-off appearance, further fleshing out this romantic, kind, and determined incarnation with a series of spectacular and experimental tales that took him to all corners of this universe and beyond. Yet with the arrival of Christopher Eccleston as the Ninth Doctor in ‘Rose,’ that unbridled freedom was given at the very least a vague endpoint, and Big Finish found themselves in the position of having the opportunity to form a bridge between their audio adventures and the those on television, and so The Eighth Doctor Adventures arrives, blending sensibilities of both the classic and modern series to offer something wholly unique with the BBC’s full blessing. Designed originally for BBC7 broadcast, the structure of the episodes in The Eighth Doctor Adventures is very much in line with the norms…

The Mega
Audio / August 10, 2017

Released December 2013 With the final instalment of The Lost Stories, ‘The Mega,’ Big Finish finally turns to the final era of classic Doctor Who it had not yet revisited, that of Jon Pertwee’s beloved Third Doctor. When a demonstration of a new weapon leads to an assassination, it appears that the first attack in a new war has been launched. But as events lead the Doctor to foreign territory, this heralded war for peace may not be quite as honourable as it may at first seem. The original idea for ‘The Mega’ comes from the mind of Bill Strutton who also penned ‘The Web Planet’ during William Hartnell’s era. However, whereas that earlier story was an ostentatious display of whimsy built around a strong heart, ‘The Mega’ is very much grounded in the grim reality of an Earth that is so prone to violence and self-inflicted harm. The opening sets the scene perfectly as Captain Yates must drive his team through a crowd of protestors to reach the presentation of an intelligent gas weapon that can surreptitiously and instantly kill anyone who gets in its way with discrimination. As Britain and the entire world begin to collapse when live…

Lords of the Red Planet
Audio / August 9, 2017

Released November 2013 The final Second Doctor instalment of The Lost Stories range again comes from the mind of Brian Hayles, returning to his most enduring creations and offering an origin story of sorts for the Ice Warriors. Landing on Mars in a time that should be before the Ice Warriors roamed its surface, the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe soon discover a plan beneath the surface that will result in the creation of a terrifying army composed of a very familiar foe. As the true lords of Mars emerge and the secret within the Gandoran mines is revealed, both the bonds of friendship and of loyalty to command will be tested. ‘Lords of the Red Planet’ was originally intended for season six following the previous season’s successful introduction of the foes in ‘The Ice Warriors,’ but it was ultimately bypassed in favour of ‘The Seeds of Death.’ Within that context, it’s quite interesting that a genesis story was already a consideration for the Ice Warriors, especially since even the mighty Daleks had not received one at that point. Of course, with the implication that the beings created here are possibly not the true first Ice Warriors, what is instead presented…

The Queen of Time
Audio / August 6, 2017

Released October 2013 Brian Hayles is best remembered as the creator of the Ice Warriors who fleshed out the gallery of rogues the Second Doctor would confront on his journeys through time and space, but he also created the Celestial Toymaker as the end of the First Doctor era neared. With Big Finish opting to remain with aborted Hayles storylines for the second release in the fourth series of The Lost Stories as it returns to the Second Doctor era, a sequel of sorts to ‘The Celestial Toymaker’ is offered up in ‘The Queen of Time.’ As the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe confront the godlike Hecuba in her realm of clocks and traps, they soon find that their own time is running out. ‘The Queen of Time’ is quite unique in both its concept and execution, and it fits perfectly alongside the likes of ‘The Mind Robber’ by imbuing a sense of experimentalism to a time period more often than not filled with base under siege tales. This particular TARDIS trio is always brimming with enthusiasm and a sense of playfulness no matter the danger that befalls its members, and having them fall victim to the unpredictable sister of the…

The Dark Planet
Audio / August 3, 2017

Released September 2013 The fourth and final series of Big Finish’s The Lost Stories kicks off with Brian Hayles’s ‘The Dark Planet,’ a reunion for William Russell and Maureen O’Brien in a tale originally intended to air during William Hartnell’s second season. As the TARDIS lands on a world lit by a dying sun in the earliest days of the universe, the Doctor, Ian, Barbara, and Vicki quickly find themselves in a civil war between the planet’s two ages-old denizens, those of light and those of shadow, as escalations rise and nothing is quiet as clear as it seems. Had ‘The Dark Planet’ made it to broadcast, it would have yielded a marked contrast to many of the stories around it, placing the heroic travelers directly into the conflict and exploring the many facets of each side gradually and logically to paint a satisfyingly complex picture of events on this dying world. Although the story itself cannot quite sustain six episodes’ worth of material and as a result does suffer from padded scenes and irregular pacing, the heavy atmosphere created to explore this most primal and direct of battles is immense and easily helps to sustain interest even when there…

The Rosemariners
Audio / August 2, 2017

Released September 2012 The third series of The Lost Stories comes to a close with ‘The Rosemariners,’ a revisitation of season six and the Second Doctor era that has the distinction of being adapted for audio by original scribe Donald Tosh. When the Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe find themselves aboard Earth Station 454 during its closure that is being supervised by the Rosemariners of Rosa Damascena, they soon discover a terrifying plot in a world in which nobody is quite what they seem. Continuing the Big Finish early era trend of meshing voice acting with linking narration, ‘The Rosemariners’ strikes a perfect balance and flows easily from beginning to end. With David Warner as well-meaning xeno-botanist Professor Arnold Biggs and Clive Wood as megalomaniacal Commander Rugosa joining Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury, there is far less repetition in voices than can sometimes be the case in these types of serials, lending a great degree of immersion as the subterfuge aboard the station becomes known. As always, the overall narrative’s success rests squarely upon the shoulders of the original cast members, and both Hines and Padbury do wonderful work with their multiple roles, Hines again excelling with his masterful realization of…

Day of the Vashta Nerada
Audio / July 30, 2017

Released July 2017 SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW Classic Doctors, New Monsters Volume Two closes out with Matt Fitton’s ‘Day of the Vashta Nerada,’ continuing with the Eighth Doctor in the midst of the Time War threads introduced in the box set’s first instalment featuring the Fourth Doctor and firmly proving once more how superbly the Tennant-era creations can transition to the audio medium. As the Doctor arrives on Synthesis Station, he soon finds that Cardinal Ollistra and the Time Lords have sponsored research into the weaponization of the deadly Vastha Nerada, the subjects themselves holding a disastrous history with humanoid contact that soon puts everyone in mortal danger. The Vashta Nerada as presented in their debut two-parter, ‘Silence in the Library’ and ‘Forest of the Dead,’ instantly became one of the most chilling and dangerous foes the Doctor had ever encountered. Normally peaceful beings content to feed on whatever creatures their natural forests provided, the swarm encountered had turned to more savage measures of survival when they found their habitat suddenly destroyed for other purposes, making any shadow potentially fatal. That same premise was repeated on Funworld in ‘Night of the Vashta Nerada,’ the learned aggression and vengeance of an unknowingly…