Immortal Beloved

Doctor Who: Immortal BelovedThe Doctor and Lucie find themselves literally among the gods, as they land on a planet apparently ruled by Zeus, Hera and a host of other gods. But how did they get there? And given the fact that they clearly age, how do they maintain their immortality? When Zeus’ son Kalkin falls inlove with a young girl named Ararti, it sets in motion a chain of events that will alter the landscape forever.

Order this CDwritten by Jonathan Clements
directed by Jason Haigh-Ellery
music by ERS

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Ian McNeice (Zeus), Elspet Gray (Hera), Jennifer Higham (Sararti), Anthony Spargo (Kalkin), David Dobson (Tayden), Jake McGann (Ganymede)

Notes: Elspet Gray portrayed Chancellor Thalia in the original Doctor Who story Arc Of Infinity. Jake McGann is Paul McGann’s son. Ian McNiece would go on to play William Churchill in Doctor Who television episodes starring Matt Smith, and would return to audio in Big Finish’s fourth Doctor range in Renaissance Man.

Timeline: after Horror Of Glam Rock and before Phobos

LogBook entry & review by Philip R. Frey Read More

Phobos

Doctor Who: PhobosOn Phobos, one of the moons of Mars, tourists engage in a wide variety of extreme sports. Key to the thrillseekers is bungie-jumping into a wormhole found on the surface. But there’s a problem: tourists keep disappearing or winding up dead. Kai, who runs the place with his longtime girlfried Eris, says it’s all caused by monsters from the wormhole and tries to warn everyone away, to no avail. But tensions among the guests begin to run high and even Kai himself seems somehow tied in to the danger. When the Doctor and Lucie show up, things begin to come to a boil and it’s anyone’s guess who’ll come out alive.

Order this CDwritten by Eddie Robson
directed by Barnaby Edwards
music by ERS

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Katarina Olsson (Amy / Headhunter), Timothy West (Kai), Nerys Hughes (Eris), Ben Silverstone (Drew), John Schwab (Hayd), Tim Sutton (Farl)

Notes: Nerys Hughes previously appeared in the Doctor Who adventure Kinda.

Timeline: after Immortal Beloved and before No More Lies

LogBook entry & review by Philip R. Frey Read More

No More Lies

Doctor Who: No More LiesThe Doctor and Lucie are entangled with a rogue time traveller named Zimmerman who escapes, leaving them at the mercy of an group of angry aliens, bent on finding the cause of the time trouble, no matter the cost. But when the Doctor and Lucie finally catch up to Zimmerman, they find him happily married and enjoying a garden party that seems to go on forever. Only Zimmerman can end the time loop and thereby save the space/time continuum. But even though he has denounced his former life, he is disinclined to help, as ending the time loop would cause the death of his beloved wife, leading to a standstill between the Doctor, Zimmerman and the Tar-Modowk, who get ever closer.

Order this CDwritten by Paul Sutton
directed by Barnaby Edwards
music by Tim Sutton

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Nigel Havers (Nick), Julia McKenzie (Rachel), Tom Chadbon (Gordon), Tim Hudson (Tar-Modowk Leader), Katarina Olsson (Headhunter)

Notes: Tom Chadbon previously appeared in the Doctor Who stories City Of Death and The Mysterious Planet, as well as playing a major role in the second “season” of Sarah Jane Smith audios, also produced by Big Finish Productions.

Timeline: after Phobos and before Human Resources Part 1

LogBook entry & review by Philip R. Frey Read More

Human Resources – Part 1

Doctor Who: Human Resources Part 1The Headhunter has finally gotten Lucie and puts her to work…in an office. Of course, it’s in Telford and she thought she was going to work in London, but it’s a nice enough place and she settles in quickly, having easily gotten over her dreams of travelling through time. Meanwhile, the Doctor finds that his TARDIS won’t work without Lucie (handiwork of the Time Lords) and accepts a time ring as a means to locating her. But Lucie is already finding trouble and even once she gets her memory back via the Doctor, she can’t keep from getting fired. As this involves her finding herself in the middle of an alien jungle during major hostilities, its hardly back to the dole queue on Monday. When the Doctor learns the sinister truth behind the “company” for whom Lucie was working, he tries to throw a spanner in the works only to be thrown himself by who is trying to do business with them. They’re a group with whom the Doctor has had plenty of experience and they give new meaning to the term “hostile takeover”.

Order this CDwritten by Eddie Robson
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by ERS

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Katarina Olsson (Headhunter), Roy Marsden (Hulbert), Nickolas Grace (Straxus), Owen Brenman (Jerry), Louise Fullerton (Karen), Andrew Wisher (Malcolm), Nicholas Briggs (Cybermen)

Notes: Roy Marsden later appeared in the 2007 TV story Smith And Jones.

Timeline: after No More Lies and before Human Resources Part 2

LogBook entry & review by Philip R. Frey Read More

Human Resources – Part 2

Doctor Who: Human Resources Part 2With the Doctor and Lucie embroiled in a conflict with warmongers on one side and the inhuman Cybermen on the other, the Doctor isn’t sure who he should back. But even as he noodles his way through that question, many more are raised. Who is responsible for this war being fought? Why is it being run in such a peculiar fashion? And what was so important about Lucie that so many people were making so much fuss about her? The answers lead all the way back to the Doctor’s home planet of Gallifrey and, as usual, he’s not going to like them…

Order this CDwritten by Eddie Robson
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by ERS

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Katarina Olsson (Headhunter), Roy Marsden (Hulbert), Nickolas Grace (Straxus), Owen Brenman (Jerry), Louise Fullerton (Karen), Andrew Wisher (Malcolm), Nicholas Briggs (Cybermen)

Timeline: after Human Resources Part 1 and before Dead London

LogBook entry & review by Philip R. Frey Read More

Absolution

Doctor Who: AbsolutionAs the TARDIS is in mid-flight, Charley watches as C’rizz goes through his personal effects from the Divergent Universe, including an odd glowing vessel, which Charley insists on peering into – and something is released, at about the same time the time machine comes grinding to a halt. C’rizz and Charley rush to the console room, just in time to help the Doctor bring the TARDIS in for a rough landing – after which the ship seems to split apart, with C’rizz disappearing into the void. C’rizz finds himself in the company of a man called Aboresh, who begins to unlock abilities that he didn’t realize he had. The Doctor and Charley, in the meantime, find themselves among a superstitious people, though there seem to be hints of more advanced knowledge among some of the people there. Walled up in a compound surrounded by an energy barrier, this small society defies a creature called the Borarus, which constantly tries to break into the compound. The barrier stops it, but Aboresh – who lives on the outside with those cast out from the compound – now has a powerful new weapon at his disposal: C’rizz. As C’rizz’ powers increase exponentially, he may now be the greatest threat to the Doctor and Charley’s survival.

Order this CD written by Scott Alan Woodard
directed by Barnaby Edwards
music by Simon Robinson

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), India Fisher (Charley Pollard), Conrad Westmaas (C’rizz), Robert Glenister (Aboresh), Christopher Villiers (Cacothis), Natalie Mendoza (Lolanthia), Tony Barton (Straith), Geoff Breton (Phelgreth)

Timeline: after Memory Lane and before The Girl Who Never Was

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

The Girl Who Never Was

Doctor Who: The Girl Who Never WasDevastated after C’rizz makes his exit from the TARDIS crew, and outraged over the Doctor’s apparent lack of emotion about it, Charley decides she’s had enough time travel and wants to return home – even though history records her death aboard the doomed airship R-101. The Doctor tries to surprise her by taking her to her intended destination, Singapore in 1930, but the TARDIS is drawn off course in time, depositing the Doctor and Charley in Singapore in 2008. Now more disgruntled than ever, Charley tries to leave as the Doctor tends to the TARDIS controls to see what caused the time change, instead running into a man named Byron who not only seems to know who she is, but has a gun drawn on her the whole time. The Doctor arrives to foil whatever it is that Byron’s planning, and talks Charley into one last adventure – a trip back in time to the 1940s, and the source of the temporal event that redirected the TARDIS. The trail leads them to a docked sea freighter, but even there something is making a mess of the flow of time. Charley is stuck in the 1940s with a man who looks and sounds exactly like Byron – not a day older or younger – while the Doctor winds up back in 2008, only to find that Byron has staked a claim to this ship. An elderly woman accompanies Byron, and though he initially introduces her as his mother, the Doctor learns that her name is Charlotte Pollard, age 85, and she doesn’t remember anything about traveling in time – and she certainly doesn’t remember the alien invasion force stored in the ship’s hold…at least not until they stand before her, and then she remembers a single word: Cybermen.

Order this CD written by Alan Barnes
directed by Barnaby Edwards
music by ERS

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), India Fisher (Charley Pollard), Danny Webb (Byron), Anna Massey (Miss Pollard), Amanda Root (Madeleine Fairweather), David Yip (Curly), Robert Duncan (Borthwick), Natalie Mendoza (Receptionist), Tim Sutton (Colville), Jake McGann (Young Man), Nicholas Briggs (Soldier)

Timeline: after Absolution and before Blood Of The Daleks Part 1 (for the Doctor), after Absolution and before The Condemned (for Charley)

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Dead London

Doctor Who: Dead LondonThe Doctor and Lucie travel to 21st century London so Lucie can conquer her most dangerous foe yet: her urge to go shopping. But when London changes around them, both of the time travelers are in danger. Lucie finds herself in London at the height of World War I, with zeppelin bombing runs an imminent danger, while the Doctor’s court appearance for a TARDIS parking violation becomes a more deadly affair when he winds up in an 18th century court. What’s even stranger than the time shifts is the fact that the residents of London are not only aware of them, but take them in their stride. With the Doctor sentenced to be hanged, time is running out to find out what’s happened to London, in the past and the present.

Order this CDwritten by Pat Mills
directed by Barnaby Edwards
music by Simon Robinson

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Rupert Vansittart (Sepulchre), Clare Buckfield (Spring-Heeled Sophie), Richard Laing (Clerk), Katarina Olsson (Yellow Beryl)

Timeline: after Human Resources Part 2 and before Max Warp

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Max Warp

Doctor Who: Max WarpThe Doctor and Lucie arrive at a live taping of the hit spacecraft hot-rodding show, Max Warp… just in time to see the show’s seasoned test driver plunge to his apparent death when he loses control of a Kith ship and it slams into a nearby moon. Immediately the Doctor is convinced that the ship was sabotaged, and its pilot murdered. He and Lucie split up to try to narrow down the list of suspects – and Lucie ends up with the unenviable task of going undercover as a new host of Max Warp, and while the regular hosts think she’s just providing something for the dads to watch, she’s trying to figure out of either of them is a killer. The Doctor focuses on the intrigue between the humans and the Kith, who exist in an uneasy truce, with some on both sides ready to resume a state of war. An assassination attempt on the contentious Kith ambassador may be the last straw before shots are fired… until the Doctor realizes that something else has been happening all along.

Order this CDwritten by Jonathan Morris
directed by Barnaby Edwards
music by ERS

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Graeme Garden (Geoffrey Vantage), James Fleet (O’Reilley), Duncan James (Timbo), Nick Brimble (The Kith), Samantha Hughes (President Varlon), Katarina Olsson (Judd Gilbride)

Timeline: after Dead London and before Brave New Town

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Brave New Town

Doctor Who: Brave NEw TownSeptember, 1991: the TARDIS brings the Doctor and Lucie to a town which seems to be frozen in time. With no electricity, nothing here has been cleaned for years, and the friendly locals have no problem with the idea that yesterday’s date was the same as today’s – just like tomorrow’s will be. Surrounding the town is a bleak desert, though everyone living there swears that the tide is out. One thing disrupts the calm here: armored vehicles routinely patrol the area, crossing the desert that shouldn’t be there, and all the locals have to do to avoid detection is stand still. Lucie is captured by one of the patrols, and discovers that their occupants seem fairly certain that it’s 2008. The Doctor, trying to track down a missing local girl, discovers that the town – and the desert – are actually deep inside the borders of Uzbekistan, and that the locals are anything but. They’re Autons who, without control from the Nestene Consciousness, have blended in to the point that they think they’re human. But somewhere in the desert, a Nestene control unit is trying to re-establish contact with its Auton army, and the innocuous townsfolk may justify the armed presence patrolling their home.

Order this CDwritten by Jonathan Clements
directed by Jason Haigh-Ellery
music by ERS

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Derek Griffiths (Jason Taylor), Adrian Dunbar (McCarthy), Lorna Want (Sally Taylor), Nick Wilton (PC Sharp / Karimov), Katarina Olsson (Margaret / Vitas)

Notes: This marks the Autons’ first appearance in a Big Finish audio production; they had already appeared as both the first villain and the first classic villain in 2005’s Rose, the first episode of the new TV series. The Autons also inspired a trilogy of fan-made video productions in the 1990s, though the interpretation of them seen there is very different from either Rose or Brave New Town.

Timeline: after Max Warp and before The Skull Of Sobek

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

The Skull Of Sobek

Doctor Who: The Skull Of SobekOn the very blue planet Indigo 3, the Doctor and Lucie find a monastery in the midst of the planetary desert – and they find themselves beseiged within its wills when someone starts shooting at them. The monks and nuns there, however, are too busy trying to cover up a grisly murder – possibly more than one – to really extend any hospitality to the time travelers. When reptilian warriors begin to manifest themselves in the lower levels of the monastery, the Doctor deduces that they are the killers – and that they’re just warming up to doing something really nasty. It turns out that the warriors represent two factions who have been at each other’s throats for hundreds of years, dating back to the beginnings of their hostilities on the feudal planet Sobek. One of the alien combatants decides that the Doctor will be his chosen champion, whether he wants to be or not. The other picks an even more unlikely champion – Lucie – and pits the two against each other in a ritual fight to the death.

Order this CDwritten by Marc Platt
directed by Barnaby Edwards
music by ERS

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Art Malik (Abbot Absolute), Barbara Flynn (Sister Chalice), Giles Watling (The Old Prince); Sean Biggerstaff (Snabb), Mikey O’Connor (Dannahill), Katarina Olsson (Sister Thrift)

Timeline: after Brave New Town and before Grand Theft Cosmos

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Grand Theft Cosmos

Doctor Who: Grand Theft CosmosThe Doctor and Lucie are aboard a train bound for Sweden in the 1800s; also on the train are priceless artifacts by an artist named Tardelli. This piques the Doctor’s interest: he has followed Tardelli through time and space, removing his artwork, which has a psychically active component that tends to manifest itself as a malign influence wherever it takes root. But two other old acquaintances are aboard the train as well: the Headhunter and Karen, Lucie’s former co-worker who seems to have been liberated from a dark destiny to serve as the Headhunter’s sidekick. They’re also there to pilfer Tardelli’s latest masterpiece, a hefty black diamond, until the Doctor and Lucie intervene in their plans. The two sets of time travelers are in a race to see who can steal the diamond first: the Doctor wants to prevent it from depositing an evil psychic influence on Earth, and the Headhunter’s motive is pure profit… but she hasn’t even told Karen what the real job is, or who they’re really working for.

Order this CDwritten by Eddie Robson
directed by Barnaby Edwards
music by ERS

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Michael Maloney (Simonson), Christopher Benjamin (Tardelli), Colin Spaull (Henrik), Sebastian Armesto (Anders), Katarina Olsson (The Headhunter), Louise Fullerton (Karen)

Timeline: after The Skull Of Sobek and before The Zygon Who Fell To Earth

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green

Review: Doctor Who is infinitely adaptable, capable of stretching to encompass nearly any story format. But Grand Theft Cosmos may well be a Doctor Who first: I don’t think anyone’s ever tried to do an Ocean’s Eleven-style caper story (albeit scaled down to TARDIS’ Two) with the Doctor and company. Read More

The Zygon Who Fell To Earth

Doctor Who: The Zygon Who Fell To EarthThe Doctor and Lucie travel to 1984 to pay another visit to Lucie’s Aunty Pat, and Lucie discovers that Pat’s married to a former folk singer and running a secluded hotel – a marriage that Lucie’s never heard of before. Two other visitors to the hotel also catch the Doctor’s eye; Lucie tries to spy on them, and discovers that they’re Zygons – aliens who can shapeshift to resemble any human that they kidnap and put into their equipment… a fate that Pat’s husband Trevor has suffered, and a fate that now awaits Lucie. The duplicated Lucie tries to throw the Doctor off-course, but even with her interference, he soon discovers that Lucie’s Uncle Trevor is a Zygon warlord who has defected to Earth, taking with him the secrets needed to launch a terrifying new Zygon invasion. Trevor’s fellow Zygons want those secrets, and they’ll do anything, from exposing Trevor’s true identity to killing the human woman he has fallen in love with, to get them.

Order this CDwritten by Paul Magrs
directed by Barnaby Edwards
music by ERS

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Steven Pacey (Trevor), Malcolm Stoddard (Urtak), Tim Brooke-Taylor (Mims), Lynsey Hardwick (Aunty Pat), Katarina Olsson (Grakus)

Notes: This is the first Big Finish audio appearance for the Zygons, who made their TV debut in the Tom Baker four-parter Terror Of The Zygons (which established the ground rules involving Zygon shape-shifting and the Zygon’s monstrous pet Skarasen creatures). Guest star Steven Pacey has had a long career on the musical stage in Britain, but he also has a science fiction pedigree as well, having starred as the impetuous Del Tarrant in the third and fourth seasons of the BBC space opera Blake’s 7.

Timeline: after Grand Theft Cosmos and before Sisters Of The Flame

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green

Review: Doctor Who doesn’t do too many stories of doomed love, but The Zygon Who Fell To Earth is a good one, with one of the best casts Big Finish has assembled for an eighth Doctor / Lucie story and an exciting pace that doesn’t let down the emotional turning points of the story. There’s also a humdinger of a twist at the end. Read More

Sisters Of The Flame

Doctor Who: Sisters Of The FlameAfter a near-miss with the TIme Lords’ time scoop in the vortex, the TARDIS materializes in the cargo hold of a space freighter. The Doctor and Lucie are immediately ambushed the moment they set foot on the ship; Lucie awakens in a prison cell, with no idea who took the Doctor or where he was taken, and is questioned by a large, centipede-like police officer named Rosto, who doesn’t seem inclined to believe a word she says. Straxus appears, asks Lucie about the Doctor’s whereabouts, and then infuriates her by leaving her stranded in Rosto’s custody. A woman appears and attempts to kidnap Lucie, but when her cover story slips, Rosto comes to the rescue. Lucie’s would-be kidnapper vanishes into thin air, but not before Rosto identifies her as the leader of the raiding party that took the Doctor. Rosto and Lucie follow the clues and discover that the woman was a member of an obscure mystic sect called the Sisterhood of Karn. Rosto and Lucie travel to Karn, hoping that they’ll find the Doctor there, unaware that a much larger crisis looms, endangering the whole universe.

Order this CDwritten by Nicholas Briggs
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by ERS

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Kenneth Colley (Zarodnix), Alexander Siddig (Rosto), Nickolas Grace (Straxus), Barry McCarthy (Bulek / Eurelz Captain), Nicola Weeks (Haspira / Trell), Katarina Olsson (Orthena / Trell), Barnaby Edwards (Galactinet)

Notes: The Sisterhood of Karn was last encountered in 1976’s The Brain Of Morbius, where they helped and hindered the Doctor in his fourth incarnation as he battled the revived Time Lord dictator, Morbius. Guest star Alexander Siddig is practically a household name among science fiction fans, having co-starred as Dr. Julian Bashir in all seven seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; after returning to Britain from America, Siddig (the stage name of Siddig El Fadil) has returned to theater and TV work.

Timeline: after The Zygon Who Fell To Earth and before The Vengeance Of Morbius

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green

Review: In the tradition of the new TV series, the eighth Doctor / Lucie audio adventures here begin the build-up to an epic end-of-season adventure. With this second “season” having been released directly to CD before being licensed to BBC7 for radio broadcast, Big Finish had a somewhat freer hand in deciding which classic series villains to revive (the first “season” commissioned by BBC Radio stuck with the somewhat obvious Daleks and Cybermen). Read More

The Vengeance Of Morbius

Doctor Who: The Vengeance Of MorbiusThe Doctor and Lucie are reunited by the Sisterhood of Karn, but the Sisters plan to summarily execute them both, eliminating the Doctor as a potential subject for gene-splicing experiments to revive Morbius. However, the Sisters have miscalculated: the Doctor isn’t the only Time Lord available to become an unwitting DNA donor to revive Morbius. Forced down on Karn, Straxus becomes the donor and Rosto is enslaved. The new reign of Morbius begins. The Doctor and Lucie are whisked away to Gallifrey, already under siege from Morbius’ forces. Unsurprisingly, the Time Lords respond to the crisis by going into hiding, while the Doctor and Lucie use the TARDIS to go to Karn. With the Time Lords cowering, the Doctor is ready to take Lucie’s advice: he plans to cross his own timeline and prevent Morbius’ rebirth from taking place. But with Gallifrey’s Eye of Harmony faltering under attack from Morbius, the Doctor’s TARDIS misses the intended temporal destination and arrives ten years into Morbius’ new reign of terror.

Order this CDwritten by Nicholas Briggs
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by ERS

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Samuel West (Revenant), Kenneth Colley (Zarodnix), Alexander Siddig (Rosto), Nickolas Grace (Straxus), Barry McCarthy (Bulek / Eurelz Captain), Nicola Weeks (Haspira / Trell), Katarina Olsson (Orthena / Trell), Barnaby Edwards (Galactinet)

Timeline: after Sisters Of The Flame and before Orbis

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green

Review: The idea of a rematch with Morbius, possibly the most unhinged member of the rather crowded pantheon of unhinged Time Lords, was a promising one; the fourth Doctor, after all, had only survived a previous battle with Morbius by the skin of his teeth. Add Gallifrey-under-siege to the mix, and surely The Vengeance Of Morbius couldn’t disappoint. Read More

Orbis

Doctor Who: OrbisLucie has resumed her boring, pre-time-travel life in Blackpool; after all, there’s no way anyone the Doctor could’ve survived his battle with Morbius on Karn. But the Headhunter seems to disagree, strongly enough that she appears at Lucie’s door and shoots her. The Headhunter also has the TARDIS in her possession, and with Lucie aboard, sets the timeship on a course for the planet Orbis – a world where she says the Doctor is very much alive. Lucie finds the Doctor living among the Celtans, a jellyfish-like-race which exists in an uneasy truce with the warlike Molluscari…and she also finds that the Doctor has spent six centuries here and has completely forgotten her. Despite this, Lucie tries to help him save the Celtans from a new Molluscari attack. And in the background, the Headhunter is playing all sides against the middle, regardless of how many lives will be lost as a result.

Order this CDwritten by Alan Barnes and Nicholas Briggs
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by Andy Hardwick

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Andrew Sachs (Crassostrea), Laura Solon (Selta), Katarina Olsson (Headhunter), Beth Chalmers (Saccostrea), Barry McCarthy (Yanos)

Notes: The “time bullets” used by the Headhunter seem to have a similar effect to the slow-motion gunshot wound suffered by Gwen in the Torchwood episode They Keep Killing Suzie. The Doctor admits here that he’s lost track of his own age, and in any case he’s guilty of rounding it up or down to account for relativistic time, which is a handy throwaway explanation for why the tenth Doctor is only 900 years old, while the seventh Doctor – in his first adventure – was 953 years old, and the third Doctor was “over a thousand years old”.

Timeline: after The Vengeance Of Morbius and before Hothouse

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Hothouse

Doctor Who: HothouseThe Doctor and Lucie are undercover, having arrived on a drought-stricken future Earth where former music star Alex Marlowe is using his wealth and influence to lead a radical environmentalist movement that has increasingly become associated with violent protests and acts. Lucie has wormed her way into Marlowe’s organization, while the Doctor poses as a member of the World Ecology Bureau for a surprise inspection. What the Doctor discovers at Marlowe’s facility is horrifying: Krynoid seed pods have been acquired and genetically re-engineered. Marlowe is aware of the Krynoid’s killer instincts to consume all nearby life, and hopes that the Doctor will help him continue his experiments to create, among other things, a rainforest that can “fight back.” To ensure the Doctor’s cooperation, Marlowe decides that Lucie should be the next human to “volunteer” to be infected by one of his genetically altered Krynoid seed pods. Unfortunately for Earth, however, Marlowe’s attempts to change the Krynoids becomes a battle against nature that he can’t win.

Order this CDwritten by Jonathan Morris
directed by Barnaby Edwards
music by Martin Johnson

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Nigel Planer (Alex Marlowe), Lysette Anthony (Hazel Bright), Adna Sablyich (Christina Ondrak), Stuart Crossman (Stefan Radek), Barnaby Edwards (Newsreader)

Notes: The Krynoids were last encountered in The Seeds Of Doom (1976), which is where the Doctor – in his fourth incarnation – encountered both the World Ecology Bureau and Sir Colin Thackeray, both of whom get a mention in Hothouse.

Timeline: after Orbis and before The Beast Of Orlok

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

The Beast Of Orlok

Doctor Who: The Beast Of OrlokThe Doctor and Lucie arrive in Germany in 1827, just in time to find the wreckage of a coach, its passengers wounded or dead and its horses literally torn to pieces. One of the passengers is dazed, but not actually hurt; this man is introduced as Baron Teufel, obviously a lucky survivor of whatever happened. Naturally, the local constabulary believes that the Doctor and Lucie are the most likely suspects, though the Baron blames the incident on the legendary beast of Orlok, a piece of local folklore. As the Doctor tries to get to the bottom of the attack, which clearly shows signs of a power beyond current human technology, Lucie teams up with a particularly bright philosophy student and does some investigating of her own. The Doctor finds a lab loaded with technology beyond the 19th century, and discovers the Baron is behind it… and the Baron also somehow knows that the Doctor is a Time Lord.

Order this CDwritten by Barnaby Edwards
directed by Barnaby Edwards
music by Andy Hardwick

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Miriam Margolyes (Frau Tod), Samuel Barnett (Hans), Peter Guinness (Baron Teufel), Nick Wilton (Otto Pausbacken), Trevor Cooper (Judah), Alison Thea-Skot (Greta), Nicholas Briggs (Lugner)

Timeline: after Hothouse and before Wirrn Dawn

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Wirrn Dawn

Doctor Who: Wirrn DawnThe Doctor and Lucie find themselves in immediate danger when the TARDIS lands aboard a human warship in the distant future; not only does the bedraggled crew find the newcomers supicious, but the ship is under attack by Wirrn. Having encountered them before, the Doctor is able to lend a hand, but it’s too late: the ship is critically damaged, and the time travelers have to don space suits to abandon ship – and hope that the TARDIS will make its way to the planet below with the wreckage of the ship. On the planet, a thriving Wirrn colony awaits its new prey, but the Doctor suspects that there’s more to this conflict than meets the eye. Left on her own with a wounded admiral and a paranoid, trigger-happy soldier, Lucie is about to discover if she’s learned enough from the Doctor to keep herself alive.

Order this CDwritten by Nicholas Briggs
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by Jamie Robertson

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Colin Salmon (Trooper Salway), Daniel Anthony (DeLong), Liz Sutherland (Farroll), Ian Brooker (Winslet), Beth Chalmers (Queen)

Notes: Wirrn Dawn is the first Big Finish appearance of the parasitic, insectoid Wirrn, whose only TV appearance to date was in Tom Baker’s second story, the all-time Doctor Who classic The Ark In Space. The Wirrn have already appeared in spinoff audio dramas produced by BBV. Also making his Big Finish debut here is Daniel Anthony, the actor who fans of the Sarah Jane Adventures will recognize as gung-ho series regular Clyde Langer; with David Tennant’s appearance in that show’s third season, Anthony has now worked alongside two Doctors.

Timeline: after The Beast Of Orlok and before The Scapegoat

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

The Company Of Friends

Doctor Who: The Company Of FriendsVarious companions of the Doctor recount their adventures with him. Professor Bernice Summerfield recalls her second adventure with the Doctor’s eighth incarnation, while the redoubtable (and irrepressible) Fitz Kreiner looks back on an adventure in which he had to become the hero of the hour. Comic-collecting companion Izzy tries to use time travel to add an elusive back issue to her comic collection, with disastrous results, and finally, much later in his own timeline, a grievously wounded Doctor arrives on the doorstep of an august gathering of 19th century literary luminaries. But since many of them are noted for writing early horror fiction, will they nurse him back to health… or consider him a freak upon whom to run their own macabre experiments?

Order this CDBenny’s Story written by Lance Parkin
Fitz’s Story written by Stephen Cole
Izzy’s Story written by Alan Barnes
Mary’s Story written by Jonathan Morris
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by Matthew Cochrane

Benny’s Story Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Lisa Bowerman (Bernice Summerfield), Richard Earl (Klarner), Su Douglas (Venhella)

Fitz’s Story Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Matt di Angelo (Fitz Kreiner), Fenella Woolgar (Commander Hellan Femor), Paul Thornley (Michael Rond), Su Douglas (Gem Weston)

Izzy’s Story Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Jemima Rooper (Izzy), Steve Hansell (Grubb / The Man), Teddy Kempner (Grakk / Clerkie / Camp Robot), Anthony Glennon (Courtmaster Cruel), Robert Forknall (Foreman), Katrina Cooke (Juror), Robert Forknall (Suit), Ian Hallard (Suit), Ian Hallard (Captain Cannibal)

Mary’s Story Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Julie Cox (Mary Shelley), Anthony Glennon (Percy Shelley), Robert Forknall (Lord Byron), Ian Hallard (John Polidori), Katrina Cooke (Claire Clairmont)

Notes: Company Of Friends is a quartet of individual, self-contained stories, the first three of which feature companions originated in other media. Bernice Summerfield was, of course, the first print-only companion, introduced in Virgin Publishing’s New Adventures novels in 1992; her only prior encounter with the eighth Doctor was in 1997’s novel “The Dying Days”. Fitz Kreiner was the Doctor’s companion for much of the BBC Books eighth Doctor range, while Izzy traveled with the eighth Doctor in Doctor Who Magazine’s monthly comics. References to Mary Shelley have been peppered through numerous eighth Doctor audio stories.

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The Scapegoat

Doctor Who: The ScapegoatThe TARDIS brings the Doctor and Lucie to Paris for a night on the town, but turbulence in the time vortex alters the date of their arrival, and the two time travelers beome separated in Nazi-occupied wartime Paris. The Doctor draws the attention of the Gestapo patrols, while Lucie is forced to begin her career on the theatre stage run by the eccentric – and very, very non-human – family Baroque. These goatlike creatures have the technology to disguise themselves as humans, but why hide at the epicenter of one of human history’s most violent conflicts? And why must their grotesque show go on each night, climaxing with the grisly death of one of their own? In the meantime, the Doctor is accused by the Nazis of being an enemy spy with a top-secret aircraft capable of disguising itself. The Doctor finds this notion amusing, until he realizes that he can’t locate the TARDIS either…

Order this CDwritten by Pat Mills
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by Jamie Robertson

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Samantha Bond (Mother Baroque), Clifford Rose (Major Treptow), Christopher Fairbank (Doc Baroque), Paul Rhys (Max Paul), Thorston Manderlay (Lieutenant), Beth Chalmers (Helene)

Notes: Another Sarah Jane Adventures actor appears here; Samantha Bond has appeared several times as one of Sarah’s arch enemies, Mrs. Wormwood, in the series pilot Invasion Of The Bane and Enemy Of The Bane.

Timeline: after Wirrn Dawn and before The Cannibalists

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The Cannibalists

Doctor Who: The CannibalistsThe TARDIS brings the Doctor and Lucie to a space city which, according to the TARDIS sensors, is devoid of life. That doesn’t mean it’s completely uninhabited, however – the time travelers are quickly cornered by a band of marauding robots. A barrier separates the two, allowing Lucie to escape to safety, while the Doctor has to talk his way out of danger with a little help from his sonic screwdriver and a helpful cleaning robot who hasn’t joined his savage brethren. Lucie finds herself in the company of the Assemblers, a band of elder robots so pacifistic that they’re in constant danger from the Cannibalists, the all-consuming robots who see any other robot or life form as a source of spare parts. In the middle of the seemingly endless conflict between these two groups are Servo, a meek maintenance droid who simply wants to carry on the work of tending to the city’s needs, and Minerva, an access point for the city itself who could grant immense power to anyone, even to the point of resetting the entire system. Soon, the race is on to see who can control Minerva and rule the city… and the Doctor isn’t sure that either group has earned that power.

Order this CDwritten by Jonathan Morris
directed by Jason Haigh-Ellery
music by Andy Hardwick

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Phil Davies (Titus), Phill Jupitus (Servo), Nigel Lambert (Domitian/Diode), Teddy Kempner (Macrinus/Crusher), Oliver Senton (Probus/Ripper), Charlotte Fields (Minerva), Beth Chalmers (Elevator Voice)

Timeline: after The Scapegoat and before The Eight Truths

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The Eight Truths

Doctor Who: The Eight TruthsThe Doctor and Lucie visit Earth a few years into Lucie’s future, at a time when a new religion called the Eightfold Truth has gained a foothold in Britain. The Doctor goes to assist scientists with a space probe that has mysteriously gone silent, while Lucie goes shopping and encounters her old nemesis, Karen, last seen with the Headhunter. Karen has joined the Eightfold Truth and says it has turned her life around, and at her urging, Lucie goes along to meet the other members of the Truth… and with the help of a blue crystal, they somehow make Lucie “realize” that her travels with the Doctor have been aimless, without purpose, and perhaps even part of a larger, sinister plan on the Doctor’s part. She turns her back on the Time Lord, though he’s not aware of the Eightfold Truth until he sees a TV interview with a journalist who hopes her new book will expose the movement as a cult built on a fraud. Gradually, the Doctor realizes that there’s a link between the Eightfold Truth and the failed space probe – and it’s only then that he discovers that Lucie has joined the Truth. Within that religious movement, an alien presence is gathering the power it will need to take over Earth… an old enemy who is working for an even older enemy of the Doctor, setting a trap for humanity and its constant defender.

Order this CDwritten by Eddie Robson
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by Martin Johnson

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Stephen Moore (Clark Goodman), Sophie Winkleman (Kelly Westwood), Sanjeev Bhaskar (Dr. Avishka Sangakkara), Katarina Olsson (The Headhunter), Kerry Godliman (Karen), Richard Earl (Rob), Anthony Spargo (David), Beth Chalmers (Queen), Barnaby Edwards (Newsreader)

Notes: Sophie Winkleman also guest starred on Red Dwarf, as the crew’s holographic nemesis in the 2009 revival miniseries Back To Earth. The Doctor mention’s NASA’s Messenger mission to Mercury, which is in fact a real mission to that planet, and one that’s still operating.

Timeline: after The Cannibalists and before Worldwide Web

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Worldwide Web

Doctor Who: Doctor Who: Worldwide WebThe giant spiders of Metebelis 3 have made their presence known as the power behind the Eightfold Truth, and the Queen of the spiders has taken possession of Lucie’s body. Lucie’s mind is still there, though, and she battles the Queen for control. The Doctor gathers an unlikely group of helpers, including Karen and the deposed leader of the Eightfold Truth, to strike back at the spiders and help the hypnotized masses regain their minds. In the process of fighting for control of her mind, Lucie learns key parts of the Queen’s plan to dominate Earth and then the entire universe, and soon she becomes the only weapon the Doctor has in the fight to free humanity.

Order this CDwritten by Eddie Robson
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by Martin Johnson

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Stephen Moore (Clark Goodman), Sophie Winkleman (Kelly Westwood), Sanjeev Bhaskar (Dr. Avishka Sangakkara), Katarina Olsson (The Headhunter), Kerry Godliman (Karen), Richard Earl (Rob), Anthony Spargo (David), Beth Chalmers (Queen), Barnaby Edwards (Newsreader)

Notes: The Doctor last encountered the giant spiders of Metebelis 3 in the last adventure for his third incarnation, Planet Of The Spiders, although mentions of Metebelis 3 had been seeded into prior adventures, as far back as the last story of the previous season, The Green Death, in which the third Doctor acquired a blue crystal like the ones which help the spiders control humans’ minds in Worldwide Web.

Timeline: after The Eight Truths and before Death In Blackpool

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An Earthly Child

Doctor Who: An Earthly Child20 years after the Daleks were driven off of 22nd century Earth, Susan Campbell still lives among humans. Her human husband has long since died, leaving her to raise her son Alex in a world that had grown paranoid, fearful of another alien invasion. Susan is outspoken in her opposition to the anti-alien Earth United movement… of which Alex is a member. The Doctor arrives to check up on his granddaughter, and finds that humanity has reverted to a Luddite mentality, destroying technology and working to avoid any contact with alien life. Susan has called upon an alien race to render aid to humanity, without consulting what passes for the planet’s government. But Earth United’s tendrils reach inside the government, and there are plans afoot to use Alex against his activist mother. The friendly aliens turn out to be the first wave of another invasion, which plays right into Earth United’s hands… but how much credibility will Alex Campbell have among his xenophobic friends when his great-grandfather and his mother are revealed to be from another world?

Order this CDwritten by Marc Platt
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by David Darlington

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Carole Ann Ford (Susan Campbell), Jake McGann (Alex Campbell), Sheryl Gannaway (Holly Barrett), Leslie Ash (Marion Fleming / Hope), Matt Addis (Faisal Jensen / Reporter), Ian Hallard (Duncan), Ian Brooker (President / Policeman / Air Control / Helicopter Pilot / Reporter)

Notes: An Earthly Child follows on years after Susan (still played by Carole Ann Ford) left the TARDIS crew in 1964’s Dalek Invasion Of Earth – the first series regular to do so; as an homage to that episode, this story utilizes the original 1963 version of the Doctor Who theme rather than the heavily remixed version used for the eighth Doctor/Lucie audio stories. Alex’s resemblance to the Doctor is no accident in the real life recording studio, as Jake McGann is Paul McGann’s son. An Earthly Child ignores the continuity of the BBC Books novels, which depicted their own reunion of Susan and the eighth Doctor in Legacy Of The Daleks. This single-CD story was exclusive to Big Finish subscribers, and was included with the December 2009 release, Plague Of The Daleks.

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Death In Blackpool

Doctor Who: Death In BlackpoolHaving survived the adventure with the spiders of Metebelis 3, Lucie is ready for normalcy: Christmas at home with her family in Blackpool, including her Aunty Pat. The Doctor is surprised to see that Aunty Pat – actually the Zygon warlord Hagoth – has aged considerably, the result of a Zygon disease. But something is amiss: the TARDIS has landed in 2008, and Lucie is still at her home, not yet having begun her travels with the Doctor. A mysterious driver in a yellow car stalks the time travelers, and then finally strikes: Lucie ends up the victim of a hit-and-run, hospitalized and in a coma – but someone else is in her head with her, trying to rob her of her will to live… someone who’s there because Hagoth has made a critical error in judgement.

Order this CDwritten by Alan Barnes
directed by Barnaby Edwards
music by Howard Carter

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller), Helen Lederer (Aunty Pat), David Schofield (Billy), Jon Glover (Father Christmas / Security Guard), Harriet Kershaw (Natasha / Marika / Receptionist), Nicholas Briggs (Shopkeeper)

Timeline: after Worldwide Web and before Situation Vacant

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Situation Vacant

Doctor Who: Situation VacantA classified ad is placed, seeking qualified applicants for companions to a traveler in time and space. The Doctor arrives for the final interviews, finding four people with wildly varying personalities and skills. When a crisis unfolds at a gathering of scientists, the Doctor’s potential new companions have their work cut out for them – and so does the Doctor himself, for he wasn’t the one who placed the ad to begin with.

Order this CDwritten by Eddie Robson
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by Jamie Robertson

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), James Bachman (Hugh Bainbridge), Shelley Conn (Asha Qureshi), Joe Thomas (Theo Lawson), Niky Wardley (Juliet Walsh), Sabina Franklyn (Wanda Rothman), Tony Millan (Leonard Pallister), Joanna Kanska (Rachel), Barnaby Edwards (Rafshaw)

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Nevermore

Doctor Who: NevermoreThe TARDIS – with some assistance from a mysterious cat who resets the coordinates – brings the Doctor and his new companion Tamsin to Nevermore, a world of poison mists and robotic ravens with an affinity for the works of Edgar Allan Poe. But the Doctor once knew it as Corinth Minor, and so did the Time Lords, shortly before they took drastic measures to alter the planet’s fate. Now Nevermore is home to a war criminal convicted of genocide, a small group of people tasked with overseeing her imprisonment, and now two time travelers whose arrival coincides with the sudden appearance of a deadly creature. Every event on Nevermore seems to take its cues from the works of Poe, but if the Doctor and Tamsin can’t find and stop whatever is bent on eliminating the planet’s small population, the result will be worse than Poe’s darkest imaginings.

Order this CDwritten by Alan Barnes
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by Jamie Robertson

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Niky Wardley (Tamsin Drew), Fenella Woolgar (Morella Wendigo), Michael J. Shannon (Senior Prosecutor Uglosi), Emilia Fox (Berenice), Eric Loren (Pilot), John Banks (Ravens)

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The Book of Kells

Doctor Who: The Book of KellsThe TARDIS is dragged off course to the year 1006, a year in which no one on Earth should have technology capable of doing so. The Doctor and Tamsin find themselves near the Abbey of Kells, a site from which, according to history, the Book of Kells is about to be stolen. The Doctor and Tamsin immediately find signs that something is amiss: the remains of a vortisaur are found in the abbey, and murderous plots are overheard nearby. Worse yet, technology that shouldn’t exist on Earth for at a millennium is hidden away in the abbey’s secret passages. The Doctor realizes that they’re very near the point at which history records the theft of the Book of Kells, so he’s convinced that another time traveler is here to take the legendary religious artifact. While he does find another time traveler – and a familiar one at that – the true fate of the Book of Kells just isn’t that simple…

Order this CDwritten by Barnaby Edwards
directed by Barnaby Edwards
music by Martin Johnson

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Niky Wardley (Tamsin Drew), Jim Carter (Brother Bernard), Terrence Hardiman (King Sitric), Graeme Garden (Abbot Thelonious), Ryan Sampson (Brother Patrick), Nick Brimble (Olaf Eriksson)

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Deimos

Doctor Who: DeimosThe Doctor and Tamsin arrive in a human-built museum on Deimos, the largest of Mars’ two moons, and the site of a frozen enclave of the now-extinct Ice Warrior species. Only the Ice Warriors aren’t extinct: they’ve reawakened and have begun killing some of the tourists visiting the museum and taking others as hostages. Naturally, the moment that the human administrators on Deimos notice that something is going horribly wrong, it’s easiest to place the blame on the time travelers. The Doctor takes more decisive action, leaving the hapless humans with no choice but to trust him. He allows himself to be captured by the Ice Warriors so he can attempt to negotiate with them directly, but Ice Lord Ssladek is in no mood to talk – and he and his platoon are in a mood to kill indiscriminately. The body count mounts as the Doctor tries to keep either humans or Ice Warriors from being killed, but it all comes down to evacuating every human from Deimos so a last-resort failsafe – a man-made self-destruct mechanism that will destroy the entire moon – can be activated. But then a message is received from Deimos from a human who didn’t evacuate – a human who the Doctor didn’t even know was there. A human named Lucie Miller.

Order this CDwritten by Jonathan Morris
directed by Barnaby Edwards
music by Howard Carter

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Niky Wardley (Tamsin Drew), David Warner (Professor Boston Schooner), Nicky Henson (Gregson Grenville), Susan Brown (Margaret), Tracy-Ann Oberman (Temperance Finch), Nick Wilton (Harold), Nicholas Briggs (The Ice Warriors), Jack Brown (Pilot)

Notes: Phobos is mentioned as a “hippie retreat,” so it would seem that Deimos is set broadly in the same period as the eighth Doctor’s earlier visit to the other moon of Mars, though the two stories don’t necessarily happen in the same year or decade. The Doctor mentions having been present when the Ice Warriors had to abandon Mars; this is a reference to The Judgement Of Isskar, the first story in Big Finish’s Key 2 Time trilogy. There are also references to the Ice Warriors attack on Earth’s moon and takeover of T-Mat (The Seeds Of Death) as being somewhat ancient history.

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