The Carrionite Curse
Audio / July 30, 2017

Released July 2017 SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW The Sixth Doctor is unabashedly the most grandiloquent and loquacious of the Doctor’s incarnations, reveling in his knowledge and command of the English language as he continually confronts danger and attempts to put right the wrongs plaguing the universe. Accordingly, pairing him up with the very language-centric Carrionites of the Tenth Doctor story ‘The Shakespeare Code’ seems an obvious choice, allowing the moments of ostentation from both hero and villains to play off each other naturally while revealing a surprisingly serious tale. With terrifying forces on the loose and even more dangerous secrets being kept hidden, witch trials return to the Midlands in the 1980s. The juxtaposition of a traditional witch trial in such a contemporary setting is a fantastic conceit, and the prospect of ordinary people coming to terms with the witchcraft around them while their locale’s history collides with the present creates a strong backbone for the story to build upon as the Carrionites reveal themselves and the Doctor becomes increasingly involved. ‘The Shakespeare Code’ managed to imbue quite a lot of history about this witchlike race for their introduction, establishing the fourteen-star system from which they originated as well as their…

Empire of the Racnoss
Audio / July 28, 2017

Released July 2017 SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW After battling the Weeping Angels in the first Classic Doctors, New Monsters box set, Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor now encounters the Racnoss in Scott Handcock’s ‘Empire of the Racnoss.’ As the TARDIS is torn from the vortex and the Doctor finds himself in the midst of an ages-old conflict involving his own people, he soon finds that his good intentions come with consequences that always find him on the wrong side. Without question, the Fifth Doctor is often portrayed as one of the kindest and most gentlemanly of the Doctor’s many incarnations, and it makes perfect sense that he would absolve himself of any allegiance to his people and help a fallen Racnoss when afforded the opportunity. However, as old wounds run deep, he soon finds himself suspected by the Racnoss of criminal acts and by the imprisoned Time Lords of brazen treason. This and the ensuing events as he teams with rather unlikely allies result in one of the rare times when the Doctor’s strong sense of morality leads to more anguish than had he simply towed party lines and turned a blind eye, and Peter Davison is superb as he showcases a…

Night of the Vashta Nerada
Audio , Website / July 28, 2017

Released July 2017 SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW With so many foes originating from the classic era of Doctor Who continuing to return to the modern incarnation of the series, it was only a matter of time until Big Finish inverted that formula and had foes of the modern series cross paths with classic regenerations of the Doctor. Met with unfettered acclaim last year, the first collection of Classic, Doctors, New Monsters proved what a resounding success the format could be as the likes of the Weeping Angels, Judoon, Sycorax, and newer Sontarans each appeared earlier in the Doctor’s timeline that previously known. To kick off the second box set, the Fourth Doctor happens upon the Vashta Nerada on Funworld, a proposed planet of joy where the construction and intended opening have been marred by mysterious reports of a predator and a complete termination of communications. ‘Night of the Vashta Nerada’ unavoidably shares several moments of similarity with ‘Silence in the Library’ and ‘Forest of the Dead,’ but the reintroduction of the eponymous foe and their means of hunting and survival when their native forests is handled so well that it hardly matters. The fact that these minute piranha-like beings are normally…

The Masters of Luxor
Audio / July 26, 2017

Released August 2012 The Lost Stories turns back the clock once more to the First Doctor era, a time when the rules and conventions of Doctor Who were anything but set. Originally set to be the second serial in place of ‘The Daleks’ which rocketed Doctor Who to its status as a cultural phenomenon and thus becoming the holy grail of lost stories, Anthony Coburn’s ‘The Masters of Luxor’ offers a far more cerebral and contemplative tale than its replacement and features surprisingly religious undertones, hinting at a wholly different trajectory the burgeoning adventures of the Doctor may have taken. Within Doctor Who’s long history, the First Doctor era unquestionably challenged its viewers with resonant moral dilemmas and thoughtful insights the most, and ‘The Masters of Luxor’ seamlessly follows that trend as both the meaning of life and what life entails come to the forefront. Joe Kloska is superb as, among his many roles here, the Perfect One, a machine with dreams of becoming human, and this is perhaps the most thought-provoking and poignantly mature of any storyline the franchise has ever offered. This personal plight is brought to life wonderfully as this machine attempts to find his place in…

The First Sontarans
Audio / July 23, 2017

Released July 2012 Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor is undoubtedly the classic series incarnation who has benefitted most from Big Finish’s endeavours, creating a much more amiable and less brusque version than often showed up on screen. However, for exactly that reason, The Lost Stories range has rightfully focused more heavily on the Sixth Doctor than any other, offering a fascinating insight into what could have been and allowing direct comparison between the character that once was and now is. As the Doctor and Peri travel to 1872 England to trace the source of strange transmissions, they quickly find that alien beings have already arrived as battle lines are being drawn and the mystery of the Sontarans’ creation comes into focus. Despite the title of ‘The First Sontarans’ clearly indicating that the Sontarans will feature, writer and adapter Andrew Smith of ‘Full Circle’ fame follows in the grand tradition of classic Doctor Who tales by withholding their revelation until the first cliffhanger. This allows the more intimate setting of the English village to breathe and develop naturally once the Doctor and Peri trace the origin of the signals found on the Moon. In so doing, Smith sets the precedent for a…

Power Play
Audio / July 22, 2017

Released June 2012 The classic era of Doctor Who tended to leave past companions alone once they departed the company of the Doctor and the TARDIS, a few flashbacks and cameos in special episodes notwithstanding. Accordingly, ‘Power Play’- or what was once titled ‘Meltdown’ before real-world scares intervened- feels like something of a precursor to the modern era of the franchise where past companions return with much more frequency and continue to carry narrative weight. As trucks carrying nuclear waste begin to disappear and a nuclear power plant nears meltdown while people are kidnapped by an alien police force, Victoria Waterfield stumbles upon a familiar blue police box as her past and present brutally collide. ‘Power Play’ is certainly a story teeming with interesting ideas, and the opening notion of an intergalactic police force coming after the Doctor is a strong one that surprisingly has not previously been used. But as transuranic elements enter the nuclear equation and long-extinct organisms turn up 500,000 years later in the present, it’s clear that the mysterious Dominic has far more nefarious plans than his benevolent claims of disposing nuclear waste so far in the past that it will have no effect on the…

The Guardians of Prophecy
Audio / July 21, 2017

Released May 2012 After successfully ushering in The Lost Stories with a collection of Sixth Doctor stories comprising a potential missing season twenty-three, Big Finish returns to the dynamic pairing of Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant to headline three further releases that delve into the annals of unproduced Doctor Who lore. As a sequel to ‘The Keeper of Traken,’ ‘The Guardians of Prophecy’ takes the Doctor and Peri to the last surviving planet of the Traken Union, Serenity, where they soon find that the birthplace of the evil Melkur houses a far greater and more dangerous secret. The world of Serenity was the only world to survive the Master’s conquest and comprises the heart of a new Union under the rule of the Elect. But as it becomes clear that darker themes underlie the peaceful façade as Council members quarrel and the secrets of the Reliquary are revealed, the threat of a return to the times of evil before Prophecy begins to come to fruition as Mallador awakens. An immortal being of unsullied evil, Mallador’s repute has become legend even among the Time Lords, and his escape from the imprisoning stasis field as Prophecy is turned off quickly threatens the…

The Children of Seth
Audio / July 19, 2017

Released December 2011 To round out its trilogy of Fifth Doctor adventures to open the third series of The Lost Stories, Big Finish turns to ‘The Children of Seth,’ a story from the mind of ‘Kinda’ and ‘Snakedance’ writer Christopher Bailey. When the TARDIS picks up a message on the temporal scanner containing only the word ‘Idra,’ the Doctor, Nyssa, and Tegan travel to the Archipelago of Sirius as the Autarch is about to announce a crusade against Seth, the Prince of Dark, and the secrets of Queen Anahita and of Level 14 threaten to become known. ‘The Children of Seth’ is nowhere near as deep or thought-provoking as Bailey’s two televised outings, but it also wisely never pretends to be and instead superbly focuses on fleshing out the world and culture of Sirius as the Doctor and his companions take rather proactive roles in finding out about their surroundings during their familiar routine of capture and escape. Accordingly, the political treachery and mistrust is all presented logically and fluidly, and the justice system on display is certainly severe enough to add an extra layer to a story that takes a distinctly different route from its many peers that also…

Hexagora
Audio / July 17, 2017

Released November 2011 Big Finish’s The Lost Stories Fifth Doctor trilogy continues with ‘Hexagora,’ a story from Peter Ling and Hazel Adair and adapted for audio by Paul Finch. When the Doctor, Nyssa, and Tegan arrive in Brisbane and uncover an alien abduction leading them to the planet of Luparis and a city very reminiscent of Tudor London, they soon uncover a secretive plot that threatens the very livelihood of two species. ‘Hexagora’ is a story that certainly contains immersive visuals and strong ideas, none more so than the Luparis façade of Tudor London complete with people skating on the frozen Thames River. Fortunately, the titular Hexagora race is just as intriguing, an insectoid race that migrates through space and conquers in order to colonise but that is now on the verge of extinction due to the impeding Ice Age on Luparis while its population remains too weak for another journey. With the ability to move amongst a planet’s native population unnoticed, they have added human memories of that time to their hive memory and are now relying on abducted humans to form the unwilling hybrid crux of their species’s continued survival through the harsh conditions. Even if the story…

The High Price of Parking
Audio / July 16, 2017

Released July 2017 SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW The planet Deshrah is a world of renowned natural beauty and splendour, a world so beautiful and popular that one must first park on the nearby artificial planetoid aptly named Parking before being able to teleport there. But before the Doctor, Mel, and Ace are able to complete their journey to Deshrah, they quickly become involved in the ongoing clash between the overzealous Wardens and the sect of the Free Parkers as spaceships spontaneously combust and a dark secret at the lowest level of Parking becomes known. As the very notion of having tribes descended from lost travelers who could not find their spaceships and thus took up residence on Parking likely suggests, ‘The High Price of Parking’ is a more lighthearted story than many Seventh Doctor tales end up being, foregoing the era of the master manipulator and instead channeling the likes of ‘Paradise Towers’ by revealing a hidden danger in a skewed version of a perfectly commonplace environment in which sects of citizens rise up against the instilled and segmented bureaucratic norms where no one person holds all of the information. Much like ‘Paradise Towers,’ however, the script doesn’t quite manage to…