The Macros
Audio / June 26, 2017

Released June 2010 The first season of Big Finish’s The Lost Stories concludes this approximation of an alternative season twenty-three with ‘The Macros,’ a story written by the legendary Ingrid Pitt. As the TARDIS materializes aboard the disintegrating USS Eldridge following the ill-fated Philadelphia Experiment, the Doctor soon realizes that the problem is stemming from the planet Capron in another dimension, one with a tyrranical ruler whose horizons and intentions are significantly expanded as the Doctor arrives to explain the situation. Unfortunately, ‘The Macros’ is a decidedly average story in just about every way, unable to make the most of the real-life mystery behind the ship that forever vanished following an invisibility experiment and failing even to explain the nature of the title which is not mentioned once throughout the entirety of the story. There are semblances of some very clever ideas in play, and the notion of the ship being wedged between two dimensions is a strong basis for a Doctor Who story and certainly carries far more intrigue than the official story of the ship being renamed and given to the Greek Navy. With the smaller universe drawing upon the energy reserves of the larger universe through an…

The Song of Megaptera
Audio / June 24, 2017

Released May 2010 ‘The Song of Megaptera,’ originally titled ‘The Song of the Space Whale,’ has one of the longest and most intriguing journeys of a Doctor Who script to ever make it to production in any form. Originally written for Tom Baker, rewritten for Peter Davison, and rewritten once more for Colin Baker, this story from the pen of Pat Mills never managed to make it to screen for any number of reasons, budgetary constraint given the fantastic setting likely a major one. Nonetheless, Big Finish has finally allowed the well-traveled and oft-rewritten script to come to life as an adaptation of the Colin Baker version of the Doctor and his companion trying to stop the pursuit of miles-long space whales throughout the cosmos, unhindered by the original revisions script editor Eric Saward had suggested for the time. With that in mind, it’s perhaps unsurprising that ‘The Song of Megaptera’ is hardly subtle about its ecological and anti-whaling viewpoints. And while the story does take a very whimsical turn midway through, this is absolutely a story that could have worked just as effectively upon Earth’s oceans given just how overt that message is. Nonetheless, in a time when ecological…

Point of Entry
Audio / June 20, 2017

Released April 2010 The sixth entry in The Lost Stories is ‘Point of Entry,’ a script adapted by Marc Platt from an outline by ‘Enlightenment’ writer Barbara Clegg. Expertly blending history and pseudo-history, the tale of the Doctor and Peri landing in Elizabethan England after avoiding a rogue asteroid in space dovetails wonderfully with playwright Kit Marlowe’s attempts to write Doctor Faustus as the cadaverous Spaniard Velez searches for an Aztec stone blade and the ominous Omnim’s point of entry approaches. Christopher Marlowe is practically the perfect character to include in Doctor Who, his interest in the occult and his possible work as a British spy creating the perfect backdrop for a rich tapestry of charcterization, and Matt Addis brings out the internal conflict of this fascinatingly complex individual exceedingly well. Fortunately, Platt also manages to bring the supernatural facets of the corpselike Velez to life just as successfully, his plan to reunite the mysterious ancient blade and hilt always imbued with gravelly menace and mysticism while allowing a more grandiose and bombastic personality to occasionally peek through. Of course, the brilliant ideas that form the basis of this story help the strong performances shine even more, and beginning the…

Paradise 5
Audio / June 16, 2017

Released March 2010 After dabbling with the notion of the lost season twenty-three to begin The Lost Stories, Big Finish turns to ‘Paradise 5,’ a story originally intended to be part of The Trial of a Time Lord, to give a glimpse of an alternative season twenty-three. While this script having been dropped in favour of ‘Terror of the Vervoids’ is not necessarily a ringing endorsement for what may have been, Andy Lane has managed to craft a genuinely entertaining story based off of PJ Hammond’s incomplete original, replacing the original trial scenes with greater plot development and placing Peri by the Doctor’s side due to Bonnie Langford’s unavailability at the time. The Doctor and Peri land on Targos Delta to visit the Doctor’s old friend, Professor Albrecht Thompson, but they soon find that he has not been seen since his departure to the leisure resort of Paradise 5. As they begin to undertake their investigation, though, they realize that they must do so furtively, for this version of paradise holds a terrible secret beneath its shiny veneer, a secret about which the mute and enslaved Cherubs know all too much. Whether intentional or not, the very concept of this…

The Hollows of Time
Audio / June 13, 2017

Released February 2010 By no means the fault of Big Finish, The Lost Stories range is invariably going to be one with a wide range in the overall quality of stories produced. After all, these early stories were completed for the television medium, and though necessary changes need to be made when adapting for the audio medium, the overall spirit and context of the overall story must remain as truthful as possible to the source material. Yet while the highly visual nature of a story such as ‘Leviathan’ excels within the audio medium due to the immense intrigue and ambience that heighten the imagery, ‘The Hollows of Time’ does not have that same atmosphere and would essentially need a complete rewrite to transfer its visuals to audio without the necessity of an overabundance of descriptive dialogue that unfortunately plagues this release. Full credit must be given to original writer and audio adpater Christopher H Bidmead for crafting a logical story that is anything but straightforward, and ‘The Hollows of Time’ will certainly challenge even the most avid fans as they piece together what is happening. Unfortunately, there is no real flow to events, and the plot largely consists of characters…

Leviathan
Website / June 12, 2017

Released January 2010 SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW Following two adaptations of well-known scripts featuring returning foes to begin its The Lost Stories range, Big Finish turns to a lesser-known story with a completely novel and satisfyingly complex plot as ‘Leviathan’ finally sees the light of day. As the Doctor and Peri arrive in a mediaeval society where nobody lives to old age or dares break with tradition, the mystery behind Herne the Hunter and the local baron’s cullings slowly takes prominence and leads to an entirely unexpected truth. ‘Leviathan’ is unquestionably a tale of immense scope, and it’s difficult to believe that a production such as this could have been realistically realized on the limited BBC budget of its intended time. Nonetheless, within the confines of the audio medium, it comes to life spectacularly from the very beginning as the mythological skull-faced and antlered figure of Herne is seen pursuing youngsters through the forest. Although ‘Leviathan’ ultimately plays out as a story of two distinct halves, which again proves to be the wise approach given the individual episodes’ prolonged running time and the availability of only one cliffhanger, the mysteries that engulf the events of the opening half are truly superb…

Mission to Magnus
Audio / June 11, 2017

Released December 2009 Following a successful encounter with the Celestial Toymaker to kick off The Lost Stories, Big Finish once more revisits Doctor Who’s past by commissioning writer Philip Martin to adapt his unproduced story ‘Mission to Magnus’ featuring both Sil and the Ice Warriors. Martin had, of course, written ‘Vengeance on Varos’ and ‘Mindwarp,’ two of the stronger offerings from Colin Baker’s brief televised tenure, and so all of the elements were already in place for another strong and progressive outing as the Doctor and Peri arrive on the matriarchal planet of Magnus where so much of the Doctor’s past lays in wait. Like ‘The Nightmare Fair,’ ‘Mission to Magnus’ must be commended for perfectly recapturing the spirit and essence of the intended era, and Simon Robinson’s sound design and Lisa Bowerman’s direction are indisputable factors related to this achievement. What unfolds is very much a story of two halves which is perhaps wise given the elongated running time of each episode with only one cliffhanger at the story’s disposal, each half highlighting different aspects of the Sixth Doctor’s persona to grand effect. The inclusion of a bully from the Doctor’s Academy days who makes the Doctor cower in…

The Nightmare Fair
Audio / June 9, 2017

Released November 2009 Following Colin Baker’s first full season as the sixth incarnation of the titular Time Lord, production began as usual on the franchise’s twenty-third season with writers commissioned and certain staffing assignments made. However, with the BBC’s forced eighteen-month hiatus of Doctor Who coming down at the same time, these initial stories were abandoned at varying states of written completion, more or less forgotten as a quirk of history when The Trial of a Time Lord arc superseded these plans upon its return. While Graham Williams’s ‘The Nightmare Fair’ did at least see the light of day as a novelization, Big Finish begins its The Lost Stories range with a full-cast adaptation of that same story to begin to fill in that murky gap in continuity. With the TARDIS drawn to 1985 Blackpool as the Doctor intends to investigate a mysterious space/time vortex while also enjoying some of the local amusements, rumours of a mysteriously appearing Chinese man and of robotic miners coming to life quickly sets the stage for another confrontation between the Doctor and his impossibly-old foe, The Celestial Toymaker. Assisted through the centuries by those whom he has defeated in games and sentenced to servitude…

Cryptobiosis
Audio / May 19, 2017

Released December 2006 Big Finish’s intermittent Bonus Releases were an incredible marketing strategy that added extra value to their already-robust subscription offerings. Naturally, the unique niche they filled allowed Big Finish to experiment with storytelling style and even authors, and newcomer Elliot Thorpe’s ‘Cryptobiosis’ is certainly anything but by-the-numbers Doctor Who. However, as the audios continued to become more readily available to the mainstream and the Bonus Releases were eventually made available to non-subscribers for purchase, these free offerings continued to take on an added importance and had to stand up by more than uniqueness alone. As a lengthy one-part story, ‘Cryptobiosis’ has little time to set up its plot, and so the Sixth Doctor and Peri are already aboard the ship Lankester amidst mysterious goings-on. Indeed, the Doctor is cast into suspicion in remarkably short order as the tales of a sick patient and murders aboard the ship come to light. Fortunately, the script takes an intriguing turn as, after Captain Callany arrests the Doctor, he drafts him into the service of the Navy and thus makes the Doctor subject to all of its rules as he becomes the ship’s medic. This misdirection is logical and refreshing, not only…

Her Final Flight
Audio / May 18, 2017

Released December 2004 Normally, science fiction stories involving virtual or alternate realities amount to little more than an interesting diversion with little true impact for any of the main characters. However, despite its own set of shortcomings, the free Big Finish release ‘Her Final Flight’ uses its purposeful inclusion of clichés to its advantage to craft a surprisingly poignant and resonant tale that forces the Sixth Doctor to confront his past while facing imminent danger in the present. Once the story is able to get beyond it rather awkward exposition in which the Doctor lands and talks to himself following a scene in which a stereotypical zealot declares that her bioelectrical implant is ready for the Doctor, events move at a brisk pace and easily fill the seventy-five minute running time without any lag or lull. In fact, even though the world itself is known to the audience to be fictional due to the prologue, the entire story itself wonderfully takes on the form of a tragedy since Rashaa clearly states that everyone within the story is hopelessly doomed. Jonathan Owen’s Hamiyun and Conrad Westmaas’s Damus are incredibly passionate figures and lend a needed counterbalance of determinism and fact to…