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…

Vengeance on Varos
Website / April 7, 2017

Aired 19 – 26 January 1985 ‘Vengeance on Varos’ is an unreserved highlight of Colin Baker’s first full year as the Sixth Doctor, employing the usual decree for violence and power struggles but managing to explore these issues with a degree of finesse rarely obtained in this era. Indeed, as a satirical indictment against the violent trends of civilization as well as of reality television that has become so popular and pervasive in the decades since its airing, ‘Vengeance on Varos’ remains incredibly relevant and withstands the test of time immeasurably well. Of course, Doctor Who is by no means alone in predicting the rise of so-called reality television, violence and fights for survival played out in front of a watching audience the basis of many works of science fiction at the time and to this day. Nonetheless, it’s intriguing to note that it aired at a time when The House of Lords began making acts of democracy public by broadcasting debates as well as when laws about videos were changing and the BBC was experimenting with interactivity in homes. These elements all focus, and the recordings within Varos’s Punishment Dome are clearly being used as much for profit as…

Antidote to Oblivion
Audio / November 23, 2016

Released January 2015 With the fiftieth anniversary in the past, Big Finish returns to the stories of the Sixth Doctor and new companion, Flip Jackson, with a story that hearkens back to Colin Baker’s televised era. Writer Philip Martin is responsible for two of the most ambitious stories of the Sixth Doctor era, ‘Vengeance on Varos’ that made such good use of biting satire and ‘Mindwarp’ that marked the franchise’s first true attempt at unreliable narration. In ‘Antidote to Oblivion,’ the Universal Monetary Fund and its famed representative Sil return, proposing very strict austerity measures to bail out a bankrupt future Britain. Unfortunately, Philip Martin doesn’t transfer that same sense of ambition to ‘Antidote to Oblivion,’ recycling several narrative threads from his previous stories while making Earth officials seem like fools for so accepting his plan to reduce the population by some ninety percent without protest or even flinching. That said, Sil still proves to be an immensely engaging creation and arguably the most famous of Colin Baker’s tenure, and Nabil Shaban recaptures his villainous role easily as the greedy money-driven being from Thoros Beta always looks out for himself and profits first and foremost. With the script unevenly channeling…

TheTrial of a Time Lord – Mindwarp
Episode / February 3, 2016

Aired 4 – 25 October 1986 After a somewhat flawed but appreciated attempt at returning to the stylings of bygone Doctor Who eras to begin The Trial of a Time Lord, ‘Mindwarp’ firmly returns to the present state of conditions to offer a distinct contrast in its continuing support of and investigation into the dealings and persona of the Sixth Doctor. With several of Colin Baker’s opening stories hardly regarded as classics and the writing for his character in particular often called into question, ‘Mindwarp’- almost by definition- becomes the single most important story in this season-long arc, proving the benefits and dodging the negative pressure that could result from such a drastic tonal change. With that rather hefty burden on its shoulders, ‘Mindwarp’ presents an intriguing story that certainly supports the case that the darker and more violent tone is not intrinsically doomed for failure, but it fails to live up to the overall quality of the previous season’s two classics, ‘Vengeance on Varos’ and ‘Revelation of the Daleks.’ Indeed, the single biggest flaw with the story is that it remains equivocal in its portrayal of the Doctor simply by virtue of being linked to The Trial of a…