The Wishing Beast and The Vanity Box
Audio / June 9, 2016

Released July 2007 ‘The Wishing Beast’ is another three-part story from Big Finish, pitting the Sixth Doctor and Mel against a living fairy tale as they land on an asteroid soaked in radiation to search for the source of a mysterious welcoming message. The issue with ‘The Wishing Beast’ is that it never decides if it wants to be a lighter or grimmer fairy tale, and the dissonance in tone can sometimes be rather jarring as the rather intriguing tale unfolds. The Doctor and Mel work their way through a dark forest to find a cottage inhabited by the very welcoming Applewhite sisters who have been awaiting the travelers’ appearance for a very long time. But as the Doctor and Mel soon learn, there is a creature far in the forest beyond the ghosts who can grant an individual’s wish, a creature who has inexplicably been longing to grant Mel’s wish in particular. The Applewhite sisters come off as far too over the top to be believable, venturing into annoying parody territory rather than as a sinister threat. Jean Marsh and Geraldine Newman are both strong actresses, but whether making the sisters sillier rather than scarier was the performers’ choice…

The Dark Flame
Audio / March 27, 2016

Released March 2003 ‘The Dark Flame’ is Big Finish’s second plunge into the universe of The New Adventures, the range of novels meant to continue the adventures of the Seventh Doctor following the programme’s cancellation in 1989. While the first, ‘The Shadow of the Scourge’ was generally well-received, it was perhaps a bit jarring for those listeners unfamiliar with the novels to suddenly see a colder Doctor more willing to sacrifice whoever and whatever he needed to achieve his aims alongside a more battle-hardened Ace. ‘The Dark Flame’ softens these traits, creating a more accessible and friendly entry point for strict Big Finish fans; while any exposure to Lisa Bowerman’s Professor Bernice (Benny) Summerfield is a definite treat, the story itself unfortunately lives up to the potential that all of its strong component pieces hold. While traveling to pick up Bernice from the Orbos research facility, the TARDIS is bombarded by a cry from help from the Doctor’s old scientist colleague on the facility, Remnex. Remnex has been experimenting with the incredibly dangerous black light that relates to fluctuations in the space-time continuum, and it appears as though he has met his death Only he hasn’t, and the experiments he…

Colditz
Audio / March 10, 2016

Released October 2001 At its heart, ‘Colditz’ is a story about the relationships that develop between prisoners and and guards within a prison, but that core is surrounded by an astoundingly good historical science fiction tale as well. Having established that the Seventh Doctor and Ace are prisoners within Colditz Castle, writer Steven Lyons then introduces Klein, a woman working for the Gestapo who has intimate knowledge of the Doctor and his TARDIS. Suddenly everything changes as it is revealed that Klein actually arrived in 1944 in the TARDIS itself, coming from an alternate timeline in which the Nazis won World War II and attained control of the TARDIS after the Doctor was shot. Nazis, and even a victorious Third Reich, are nothing new to Doctor Who, but Lyons proves to be adept at playing with assumptions and at keeping the plot twists coming. While it would have been easy to write that the TARDIS gave the Nazis the winning edge, it instead ends up being Ace’s CD Walkman that proved so vital to their war efforts. Likewise, Klein’s journey back in time actually ends up being the result of the machinations of a future Doctor from that alternate timeline…