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 Elite
Audio / July 15, 2017

Released October 2011 Following the incredibly successful introduction of Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor to is audio family with The Fourth Doctor Box Set, Big Finish now welcomes Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor into its The Lost Stories range with ‘The Elite,’ a tale from the mind of ‘Enlightenment’ scribe Barbara Clegg. Arriving in a domed city on a planet scarred by warfare where the young population fights for the glory of the Elite, the Doctor, Nyssa, and Tegan soon find themselves caught up in the machinations and changing schemes of The Cathedral of Power’s High Priest. Set after Tegan’s return to the TARDIS in ‘Arc of Infinity,’ ‘The Elite’ captures the essence of its era spectacularly, highlighting the city-based tale of rebellion against a familiar foe with a synthesized score. The dystopic setting with its intended goal of a achieving a master race under the guidance of its High Priest who descended from above is realized well, and even though the distorted voice and album cover should give the figure’s shrouded identity away, the audio medium keeps the surprise regarding the Dalek’s true presence hidden superbly to deliver maximum impact. It’s quite chilling to realize just how easily the general population…

The Daleks: The Destroyers
Audio / July 1, 2017

Released December 2010 In an odd choice of marketing, The Second Doctor Box Set contains only one story featuring the Second Doctor. The second and concluding serial is, in fact, not a Doctor Who story at all but instead brings to life Terry Nation’s aborted North American Dalek pilot, ‘The Destroyers.’ As the crew of Explorer Base One comes under attack by the Daleks, Space Security Agents Sara Kingdom and Jason Corey discover a plan that threatens the entirety of the galaxy. ‘The Destroyers,’ unsurprisingly, contains all of the expected tropes from a Terry nation script, meaning that there are prominent set action sequences, ruthless Daleks bent on conquering the Earth, tough space marines, and a harsh environment literally out to devour those within it. Strangely, though, the Daleks are almost secondary characters here, the script assuming that its intended audience is already familiar with the denizens of Skaro but inherently leaving expected newcomers at something of a disadvantage. The narration adapted from Nation’s stage directions does give some of the crucial information needed for the audio version, but the Daleks are more or less presented as single-minded machines with little nuance or explanation for their actions besides conquest. There…

The Five Companions
Audio / June 3, 2017

Released December 2011 Whereas 2010’s Bonus Release ‘The Four Doctors’ took a rather novel approach to a multi-Doctor story by focusing on a new character traversing the Doctor’s personal timeline, 2011’s fuses different eras of Doctor Who together in an altogether more traditional fashion, though still with its own unique twist. As Ian, Steven, Sara, Polly, and Nyssa find themselves brought together and confronted with Daleks, Sontarans, and dinosaurs, ‘The Five Companions’ finds the Doctor directly confronting his past in a thrilling but also very personal tale of survival and reflection. Writer Eddie Robson borrows from ‘The Five Doctors’ and suggests that these past companions are in another part of that serial’s Death Zone on Gallifrey and that the Doctor has been pulled out of his transport to the Capitol to appear at that same area. However, though this is a Fifth Doctor story, the tale wisely focuses on the returning companions themselves, certainly not shying away from the fact that they have aged since leaving the Doctor and allowing moments of reminiscence while showcasing the unique element that each brought to the series while traveling aboard the TARDIS. Obviously Big Finish’s The Companion Chronicles range has kept the earlier…

The Four Doctors
Audio / June 1, 2017

Released December 2010 With Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, and Paul McGann all reprising their titular Doctor Who roles for Big Finish since 2001 or earlier, it’s surprising that there has yet to be a multi-Doctor release that encompasses these four eras of the franchise. While Big Finish may be warranted in its unwillingness to highlight multiple incarnations simultaenously, having only dabbled in bringing together various combinations of the lead actors in a select few releases and casting the the earlier three in different roles for the fortieth anniversary special, the audio universe finally gets this monumental inevitability in 2010’s subscription-only Bonus Release ‘The Four Doctors.’ Probably wisely and certainly intriguingly given the setup, writer Peter Anghelides tells four small tales that weave into a cohesive whole, beginning with the Eighth Doctor landing on a Jariden space station where his Fifth incarnation is attempting to stop a dangerous experiment with time. As the Daleks appear with one Colonel Ulrik in tow as they seek a device within a shrouded vault, the story takes an unexpected turn as David Bamber’s Ulrik is thrust into the role of flawed protagonist by becoming the narrative link for each of the four smaller…

Return of the Daleks
Audio / May 23, 2017

Released December 2007 The Third Doctor serial ‘Planet of the Daleks’ is hardly regarded as a classic, and it doesn’t instantly spring to mind as one of the tales most deserving of revisiting. However, as Nicholas Briggs takes over for Gary Russell in the role of producer and also takes on scripting duties for 2007’s Bonus Release ‘Return of the Daleks,’ he manages to seamlessly incorporate the more intriguing elements of that story into the expansive mythology of Big Finish’s own Dalek Empire series to great effect. It’s actually rather surprising that there has not been a story seeing the Daleks returning to Spiridon to reclaim their frozen army to this point, but now that they have once more arrived, Briggs also manages to integrate the light wave sickness that the planet’s natives’ natural state of invisibility causes them. While the Daleks’ motives here tie directly into Dalek Empire, the potential of the ensuing Dalek might also draws the attention and ire of the Seventh Doctor, here traveling alone but just as mysterious and enigmatic as ever as he tempts Karlendorf with secrets and snippets of the true reality around them. Even if it seemed odd to have such grandiose…

Remembrance of the Daleks
Episode / May 4, 2017

Aired 5 -26 October 1988 Sylvester McCoy’s first year as the Seventh Doctor was a rocky one, but one nonetheless brimming with experimentalism as the show tried to rediscover itself on the fly with a new lead and a new mantra that looked forward more than backward. Strangely, although ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ is very firmly entrenched in the past as the entire serial becomes a reference of sorts to the very first serial, ‘An Unearthly Child,’ and is littered with allusions to other past adventures, it’s clear from the start that Doctor Who has finally found firmer footing once more, taking a much more self-aware and sometimes politically-dissident approach as it presented generally much more intelligent stories. The sort of celebratory and nostalgic sentiments that pervade ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ can easily be forgiven for a story kicking off the franchise’s twenty-fifth anniversary, especially in a story that so expertly highlights the characterization of both the new Time Lord and new companion in the process. Indeed, this is easily Sylvester McCoy’s finest performance in the role to this point and entrenches his incarnation as a master manipulator with a much darker side than previously seen. At first debating the…

Alien Heart and Dalek Soul
Audio / April 28, 2017

Released April 2017 SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW It’s been quite some time since Big Finish’s Monthly Range has toyed with its format and offered stories of any length other than the traditional four parts. For three consecutive release, though, Big Finish is offering two two-part adventures, one pair featuring each of its stalwart Doctors. The two-part story has been used successfully in The Companion Chronicles, The Fourth Doctor Adventures, and The Eighth Doctor Adventures ranges, but Stephen Cole’s ‘Alien Heart’ and Guy Adams’s ‘Dalek Soul’ mark the first two-part entries in Big Finish’s longest-running range. The use of the Fifth Doctor to introduce this string of releases is particularly shrewd as well, as Peter Davison’s tenure featured the final three two-part stories of thirty minute episodes, stories that were by no means classic but that highlighted just how strong and versatile Davison was in the role. With Big Finish effortlessly transitioning from its trilogy with the boisterous introductory era of Nyssa, Tegan, and Adric to the more earnest era that never reached television featuring just Nyssa alongside the Doctor, this first pair of stories again spectacularly highlights Davison amidst events of surprising scope. In ‘Alien Heart,’ the Doctor and Nyssa discover…

Revelation of the Daleks
Episode / April 18, 2017

Aired 23 – 30 March 1985 Doctor Who, like any long-lasting programme, changes along with the times to better resonate with the audience and drive home its message. With that mindset, it’s unsurprising that the show in the 1980s would start to go down a darker and bleaker path, one that threw aside the rather black and white lines of good and evil that had defined the show for so long. Unfortunately, the writing often let down the realization of some very clever ideas and instead focused on unwarranted violence and brutality, an aspect brought to the forefront with the characterization of the Sixth Doctor. With the show coming under increasing pressure from the BBC, the return of the Daleks provides a momentary reprieve that ends Colin Baker’s first full season on a relatively high note. It’s telling that the Doctor is something of an observer throughout ‘Revelation of the Daleks’ and that events likely would have occurred in the same fashion if he had never shown up. Perhaps this was a purposeful attempt at shaking up the storytelling dynamic, but it is intriguing that a story in which the Sixth Doctor less prominently focuses seems to flow much more…