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…

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…

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…

An Earthly Child
Audio / May 29, 2017

Released December 2010 ‘The Dalek Invasion of Earth’ marked the first departure of a companion from the TARDIS as the Doctor intentionally left behind his granddaughter Susan so that she might know stability and set roots with David Campbell in the aftermath of the Daleks’ conquest of Earth and eventual defeat. Yet as famous as the Doctor’s speech proclaiming that some day he would come back is, the TARDIS has yet to ever allow the reunion of family members on screen. While this long-awaited meeting was attempted with rather tepid reviews in the BBC Eighth Doctor novel range, Big Finish and stalwart writer Marc Platt now offer their own version of an event some forty-five years in the making. Even without the Doctor’s promise of returning, the notion of revisiting Susan thirty years following the Dalek invasion is a fascinating one, finally allowing both the Doctor and the audience to determine if he made the proper decision in leaving her behind and if she managed to make a name for herself in the intensified time of rebuilding. While she and her now-deceased husband certainly did play a vital role, the Earth is once more regressing, and Susan boldly takes it…

Shada
Audio / May 17, 2017

Original Webcast 2 May – 6 June 2003 Audio CD Released December 2003 There have been countless lost Doctor Who stories through the years, ranging from stories that are just a fragment of an idea to ones with completed scripts simply waiting to be filmed. However, ‘Shada’ is something wholly unique, a partially-filmed Fourth Doctor serial written by the indomitable Douglas Adams that offers a fascinating collision of contemporary Earth and Time Lord history that unfortunately fell victim to an industrial strike. While ‘Shada’ has certainly remained in the public consciousness through the release of the filmed material with linking narration as well as a novelization, Big Finish has crafted an alternative, full-cast production featuring Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor alongside Lalla Ward’s Lord President Romana and John Leeson’s K-9 to finally bring ‘Shada’ fully to life. Obviously a television production and audio production follow wholly different models, but the audio fully captures the whimsical imagination so ingrained into Adams’s original work in a way that simple narration could never manage. Still, with all of the wonderful work Big Finish has done in fleshing out the character of the Eighth Doctor, it is still very evident that this is a script…

Doom Coalition 4
Audio / March 10, 2017

Released March 2017 SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW Doom Coalition burst onto the scene in October 2015, instantly setting an incredible precedent with the introduction of the mesmerising Time Lord villain the Eleven and never looking back as subsequent stories introduced new companion Helen Sinclair and new villains the Sonomancer and the Clocksmith, re-introduced the ever-beguiling River Song, and slowly built up one of the greatest threats the universe has ever faced. With the Doctor betrayed by a man he once called friend and seemingly doomed along with his companions as the universe’s end approaches, Doom Coalition 4 arrives amidst exceedingly high expectations to finally conclude this sixteen-part epic. John Dorney’s ‘Ship in a Bottle’ opens this concluding set, taking a cue from the third set’s opening tale, ‘Absent Friends’ and offering a much more intimate and introspective story than is usual, albeit one with the impending inevitability of death and resultant destruction of the universe as its backdrop. With no villain or, indeed, any characters other than the three leads present, the focus is squarely on exploring the mindset of the Doctor, Liv, and Helen as they find themselves facing the very real prospect of having to live out the rest…

Army of Death
Audio / October 24, 2016

Released December 2011 The trilogy featuring the Eighth Doctor and Mary Shelley closes with ‘Army of Death,’ a story that at last takes this erstwhile companion to the far future while raising questions outside of the release of just how this could occur given that Shelley would come to write about a very different future in The Last Man. ‘Army of Death’ continues the undercurrent of horror that has been present through the previous two releases, but writer Jason Anopp’s tale deals more directly with the overtly scary side of horror rather than the romanticism and sympathy that have been focal points until now. This leads to some truly good scenes, but the end result falls far short of its predecessors. Seemingly out of nowhere, it is revealed that Mary has begun developing romantic feelings for the Doctor. This is in itself not an unreasonable assertion and this plotline has worked incredibly well both for audio companions and modern television companions, but the throwaway line that the two have shared many further adventures together since ‘The Witch from the Well’ during which time these feelings are supposed to have manifested feels disingenuous and robs the sentiment of true emotional buildup…