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 Eternal Battle
Audio / February 20, 2017

Released February 2017 SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW The Fourth Doctor Adventures has never shied away from the use of nostalgia and classic foes to tell its tales and crisply recapture its intended era, and the sixth series is already proving that it will be no different. And while there have been some instances in which a nod to continuity or recurrence have not enhanced the script in any meaningful way, ‘The Eternal Battle’ is unquestionably enhanced by the presence of the Sontarans as it explores the futility of war when the TARDIS lands in a Sontaran war zone where strange lights flicker in the air and stranger creatures lurk in the shadows. The Sontarans have always been a unique presence within the Doctor Who universe, imbuing the prospect of a glorious death into their way of life rather than seeing death simply as a means to an end like other combative foes. Yet when the Sontarans here find the ability to die taken away as fallen foes and comrades become reanimated, ‘The Eternal Battle’ offers a deeper and better-rounded look into the mindset and motivations of this classic race than practically any story since ‘The Time Warrior’ has, managing to portray…

The King of Sontar
Audio / February 5, 2017

Released January 2014 The third run of Big Finish’s The Fourth Doctor Adventures once more reunites Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor and Louise Jameson’s Leela, at least temporarily taking a step away from the series’s penchant for nostalgia and opening with a bombastic and very serious tale featuring the oft-mocked Sontarans. As the Third Elite Sontaran Assassination Squad as well as the Doctor and Leela- the latter due to the manipulation of the Time Lords- approach Dowcra Base, the invincible Strang reveals the true might of the Sontaran threat. Without a doubt, the character of Strang is instantly intriguing, raising questions of just what he could have done as a Sontaran to merit such life-threatening animosity of others of his race. Fortunately, the explanation is just as fascinating as he is revealed to be the result of a sort of ghost in the machine, an error in the Sontaran cloning process that condensed an entire platoon into one being and thus created a super-being that is stronger, faster, and smarter than any single individual should be. Equipped with the ability to clone himself as well as to transport matter to any point in the universe, he represents one of the most…

Starlight Robbery
Audio / November 16, 2016

Released August 2013 ‘Starlight Robbery’ continues the adventures of an older Seventh Doctor alongside Elizabeth Klein and Will Arrowsmith as they search for the key to an ominous alien technology, stumbling upon an intergalactic arms fair filled with incredibly dangerous individuals and run by the Urodelian criminal Garundel last seen in ‘Black and White.’ With Stuart Milligan’s Garunel taking centre stage, it follows that the story initially takes on a more humourous and light-hearted tone despite the setting threatening creatures surrounding him. The character seems to revel in his campiness, and the self-centeredness and self-confidence he resolutely displays is incredibly effective in making him a likably unlikable presence. This is all the more effective when the story takes a much darker turn leading into its final episode and, accordingly, into the final story of this trilogy, and Milligan is able to adjust his performance wonderfully. Although the Doctor is still at his manipulative best, unafraid to move his companions around to suit his needs even if that means putting them into extremely precarious situations, Klein still suffers from being written as a stereotypical companion rather than as the more nuanced and stringent character she has become over previous story arcs.…

The War Doctor – Agents of Chaos
Audio / October 13, 2016

Released October 2016 John Hurt’s shadowy War Doctor returns for a third Big Finish box set, Agents of Chaos, a series of three stories that manages to keep the sense of ambitious epic of the first two sets while simultaneously offering a more personal take on the desolation and devastation of war. As the harrowing conflict between the Time Lords and the Daleks ravages on, the Doctor is once more drawn into Cardinal Ollistra’s machinations, soon discovering that she has not foreseen all potential outcomes. David Llewellyn’s ‘The Shadow Vortex’ opens the set by intriguingly taking the Time War to Earth in 1961 East Berlin during the height of the Cold War. Picking up on the now-common thread of fixed and non-fixed points in time, 1961 Earth is a point in flux, a quantum shield in place to protect the timeline’s sanctity. However, Dalek Agent Lara Zannis has managed to break through the shield, meaning to use the Shadow Vortex to allow the Daleks through after her. With the Time Lord operation Brightstar compromised, Cardinal Ollistra once more enlists the Doctor’s help. As both Lara and the Doctor are captured by the East German secret police, all of the elements…

The Sontaran Ordeal
Audio / August 2, 2016

Released July 2016 Classic Doctors, New Monsters Volume One concludes with ‘The Sontaran Ordeal,’ the earliest glimpse into the Time War afforded yet as the great battle infiltrates real time and brings centuries of untold conflict to the planet of Drakkis, a peaceful world in the unaltered timeline. Obviously the Sontarans are not new monsters, but those on display here are very much the post-2005 iterations, itching to find a way to insert themselves into the greatest war the universe has ever known. Writer Andrew Smith wisely doesn’t focus solely on their battling nature, delving instead into a new aspect of the Sontaran hierarchy and structure, the Ordeal as the fate of those who do not succeed in their conquests. Having disgraced himself by not emerging victorious, the defeated Sontaran is stranded on a planet empty-handed, expected to fend for and eventually sacrifice himself to prove his mettle. Commander Jask is the Sontaran facing Ordeal in this story, wrongly accused by an officer he knows has committed crimes in the past and will do so again and determined to clear his name. Considering the rather blunt nature of the Sontarans, Dan Starkey is able to convey an incredible amount of…

Time Reaver
Audio / May 19, 2016

Released May 2016 As enjoyable as the Tenth Doctor’s televised era was, especially with Donna as the companion, it’s an unavoidable truth that viewers unfortunately did not get to see much of the universe beyond Earth. There are obviously some fantastic exceptions to that statement, but writer Jenny Colgan takes the amazing duo and places them in the darker, grittier corner of the universe on the spaceport Calibris as they search for a replacement fluid link for the TARDIS. The pre-title sequences does a nice job introducing John Banks’s villainous octopus-like Gully, and it’s clear that this is going to be a grimmer affair them most stories of the era as the grimy, seemingly-authoritarian state of Calibris is gradually introduced. Of course, not all is quite as it seems, and the titular time reaver gun is a bit of a dual-edged prospect, able to slow down time for an individual so that they can experience prolonged happiness or pain depending on the circumstance. This is a truly terrifying concept for a weapon that would not feel out of place in the depths of the Time War. Sabrina Bartlett brings out an immense likability in Cora despite her misguided attempts, and…

Last Christmas
Episode / February 22, 2016

Aired 25 December 2014 It’s a bold move to fill the vast majority of an episode’s running time with a dream, but that’s exactly the risk that Steven Moffat takes with ‘Last Christmas,’ and it pays off wonderfully. Unlike the previous yuletide offering ‘The Time of the Doctor’ that had to provide a memorable send-off for Matt Smith’s Eleventh Doctor while dealing with a heavy burden of continuity issues, ‘Last Christmas’ is less restricted and able to focus solely on what happens with the Doctor and Clara going forward, and it’s all the better for it. For any episode- but especially for a Christmas episode- ‘Last Christmas’ has some properly dark and scary moments, although comedy is never far from the surface either. Doctor Who has flirted with the horror genre throughout the preceding series, but the menace and atmosphere is truly ratcheted up here. The Dream Crabs end up indirectly borrowing some aspects from Moffat’s previous creations as the characters are told not to look at them and not to think about them, but ultimately the close-up of a salivating creature and a direct Aliens reference leave no hesitation as to what type of base-under-siege story this is going…

Dark Eyes 4
Audio / February 21, 2016

Released March 2015 In 2012 Big Finish set out on a mission to reinvigorate the Eighth Doctor, pushing him to the very precipice and driving him closer to the Time War. The first Dark Eyes box set was a commercial and critical success, and the storyline was quickly expanded to a sixteen-part epic spanning four box sets. The first three have featured confrontations with the Daleks, the Master, and the Eminence; now, in Dark Eyes 4, the timelines are unstable and the Doctor sets out defiantly to end the conflict. Dark Eyes 4 opens with the Doctor taking Liv Chenka to London at the turn of the century to look for Molly in ‘A Life in the Day.’ While he explores with Beth Chalmers’s Kitty Donaldson, Liv tends to and gets to know Kitty’s wounded brother Martin, played aptly by Barnaby Kay. Liv has from the outset been walking around with an embittered and almost defeatist demeanour, and ‘A Life in the Day’ finally allows her to come out of her shell as she poignantly comes to terms with just where she is in her life and what she hopes for going forward. Martin proves the catalyst Liv needs to…