The Carrionite Curse
Audio / July 30, 2017

Released July 2017 SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW The Sixth Doctor is unabashedly the most grandiloquent and loquacious of the Doctor’s incarnations, reveling in his knowledge and command of the English language as he continually confronts danger and attempts to put right the wrongs plaguing the universe. Accordingly, pairing him up with the very language-centric Carrionites of the Tenth Doctor story ‘The Shakespeare Code’ seems an obvious choice, allowing the moments of ostentation from both hero and villains to play off each other naturally while revealing a surprisingly serious tale. With terrifying forces on the loose and even more dangerous secrets being kept hidden, witch trials return to the Midlands in the 1980s. The juxtaposition of a traditional witch trial in such a contemporary setting is a fantastic conceit, and the prospect of ordinary people coming to terms with the witchcraft around them while their locale’s history collides with the present creates a strong backbone for the story to build upon as the Carrionites reveal themselves and the Doctor becomes increasingly involved. ‘The Shakespeare Code’ managed to imbue quite a lot of history about this witchlike race for their introduction, establishing the fourteen-star system from which they originated as well as their…

The First Sontarans
Audio / July 23, 2017

Released July 2012 Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor is undoubtedly the classic series incarnation who has benefitted most from Big Finish’s endeavours, creating a much more amiable and less brusque version than often showed up on screen. However, for exactly that reason, The Lost Stories range has rightfully focused more heavily on the Sixth Doctor than any other, offering a fascinating insight into what could have been and allowing direct comparison between the character that once was and now is. As the Doctor and Peri travel to 1872 England to trace the source of strange transmissions, they quickly find that alien beings have already arrived as battle lines are being drawn and the mystery of the Sontarans’ creation comes into focus. Despite the title of ‘The First Sontarans’ clearly indicating that the Sontarans will feature, writer and adapter Andrew Smith of ‘Full Circle’ fame follows in the grand tradition of classic Doctor Who tales by withholding their revelation until the first cliffhanger. This allows the more intimate setting of the English village to breathe and develop naturally once the Doctor and Peri trace the origin of the signals found on the Moon. In so doing, Smith sets the precedent for a…

Power Play
Audio / July 22, 2017

Released June 2012 The classic era of Doctor Who tended to leave past companions alone once they departed the company of the Doctor and the TARDIS, a few flashbacks and cameos in special episodes notwithstanding. Accordingly, ‘Power Play’- or what was once titled ‘Meltdown’ before real-world scares intervened- feels like something of a precursor to the modern era of the franchise where past companions return with much more frequency and continue to carry narrative weight. As trucks carrying nuclear waste begin to disappear and a nuclear power plant nears meltdown while people are kidnapped by an alien police force, Victoria Waterfield stumbles upon a familiar blue police box as her past and present brutally collide. ‘Power Play’ is certainly a story teeming with interesting ideas, and the opening notion of an intergalactic police force coming after the Doctor is a strong one that surprisingly has not previously been used. But as transuranic elements enter the nuclear equation and long-extinct organisms turn up 500,000 years later in the present, it’s clear that the mysterious Dominic has far more nefarious plans than his benevolent claims of disposing nuclear waste so far in the past that it will have no effect on the…

The Guardians of Prophecy
Audio / July 21, 2017

Released May 2012 After successfully ushering in The Lost Stories with a collection of Sixth Doctor stories comprising a potential missing season twenty-three, Big Finish returns to the dynamic pairing of Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant to headline three further releases that delve into the annals of unproduced Doctor Who lore. As a sequel to ‘The Keeper of Traken,’ ‘The Guardians of Prophecy’ takes the Doctor and Peri to the last surviving planet of the Traken Union, Serenity, where they soon find that the birthplace of the evil Melkur houses a far greater and more dangerous secret. The world of Serenity was the only world to survive the Master’s conquest and comprises the heart of a new Union under the rule of the Elect. But as it becomes clear that darker themes underlie the peaceful façade as Council members quarrel and the secrets of the Reliquary are revealed, the threat of a return to the times of evil before Prophecy begins to come to fruition as Mallador awakens. An immortal being of unsullied evil, Mallador’s repute has become legend even among the Time Lords, and his escape from the imprisoning stasis field as Prophecy is turned off quickly threatens the…

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…