Zaltys
Audio / March 29, 2017

Released March 2017 SOME SPOILERS FOLLOW The Peter Davison era of Doctor Who saw a subtle shift in the types of stories told to ones featuring slightly higher-concept notions and more cerebral plots than in the past as the programme tried to redefine itself while aiming for a more mature audience that had grown up alongside it. Fitting perfectly into that mould, ‘Zaltys’ concludes the 2017 Big Finish Fifth Doctor trilogy, culminating a successful run of adventures revisiting the early Fifth Doctor TARDIS crew of Adric, Nyssa, and Tegan. Writer Matthew J Elliott proves that he is unafraid to drench his story with continuity, but he manages to do so without his references ever feeling intrusive or cumbersome while adding depth to the story in the process. Accordingly, the intimate discussions regarding Tegan’s aunt and Adric’s brother make perfect sense as, much to Adric’s amazement given the powers of the TARDIS and what it allows, Tegan continues with her quest to return to Heathrow. These opening scenes recapture the relationship between the two perfectly, and Tegan’s taunting of Adric while having him recall how much happier he was before Nyssa and Tegan joined adequately sets up the complex story as…

State of Decay
Episode / February 12, 2017

Aired 22 November – 13 December 1980 Terrance Dicks initially wrote ‘State of Decay’ to feature in producer Philip Hinchcliffe’s final year, seeing the BBC pass on it due to its own Dracula adaptation airing near that time. Fittingly, its airing during Tom Baker’s final season gives one final glorious throwback to the gothic horror traditions that proved to be so popular in his early years, dialing back the overall humour that had started to pervade Doctor Who during Graham Williams’s tenure and offering a remarkably satisfying peek into the Time Lords’ violent past. Baker himself seems to be much more vigorous and enthusiastic here than during much of his final season so far, the threat of the Time Lords’ ages-old vampiric foes demanding his full intensity after showcasing a wearier Fourth Doctor nearing the end of his time to this point. His character is still as flippant as ever, but he’s incredibly serious and dramatic when needed and shows an immense pride in Romana that highlights just how superb this pairing is. Indeed, the idea of these three vampires ruling through fear and intimidation to control the evolution of the society and keep it in a perpetual medieval state…

Project: Twilight
Audio / March 7, 2016

Released August 2001 ‘Project: Twilight’ again features the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn Smythe, continuing the run of high quality that these two have enjoyed under Big Finish’s stewardship. Prior to Big Finish, several novelizations featuring the Sixth Doctor put him into a contemporary setting, an approach that consistently yielded good results, and ‘Project: Twilight’ again exploits this trend to great effect. A series of animal carcasses that have seemingly been eaten disrupts the Doctor and Evelyn’s trip to the Slow Boat Chines Restaurant in South London, and the two soon find themselves involved in the investigation. It’s not long before vampires are reintroduced, albeit with a fresh interpretation that doesn’t just follow the portrayals of previous televised and written adventures. More importantly, though, the plot is structured in such a way that the Doctor has to battle with his own instincts regarding vampires to consider the bigger picture, and this turmoil leads to some of the most emotionally effective scenes. It almost goes without saying, but Colin Baker is again on top form here. His Doctor is again afforded a script that allows him to show his intelligence and tenacity, and writers Cavan Scott and Mark Wright also do a…