The Shadow Of The Scourge

Doctor Who: The Shadow Of The ScourgeThe Doctor, Ace and Bernice arrive at a hotel in Kent which is playing host to three simultaneous conventions: one for a cross-stitch club, another for a con artist holding a seance, and the third for the demonstration of a physics experiment that could lead to time travel. But the seance actually does make contact with something otherworldly – an alien group consciousness hell-bent on emerging into Earth’s dimension to feed upon the despair and guilt of the human race. The time travel experiments provide a convenient interdimensional conduit through which the Scourge travel. The Doctor, of course, has orchestrated all of this very carefully…but this time, whether he’s planned it or not, whether he wants it or not, the Scourge have him, and can consume his mind on their whim. With the Doctor out of the way, only Ace and Benny stand in the way of the Scourge…but they, like everyone else on the doomed Earth, have their own personal demons which will render them helpless to the power of the Scourge.

Order this CDwritten by Paul Cornell
directed by Gary Russell
music by Alistair Lock

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Lisa Bowerman (Bernice), Michael Piccarilli (Doctor Michael Pembroke), Holly King (Annie Carpenter), Nigel Fairs (Gary Williams), Lennox Greaves (Michael Hughes), Caroline Burns-Cook (Mary Hughes), Peter Trapani (Scourge Leader)

Timeline: between the New Adventures novels “The All-Consuming Fire” and “Blood Harvest”

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green […]

The Dark Flame

Doctor Who: The Dark FlameHaving left Bernice on a research facility on Orbos to visit a colleague of hers, the Doctor and Ace are on their way back to Orbos when an unusually powerful distress call washes over the TARDIS’ telepathic circuits – powerful enough that even Ace picks up on it. The message, which the Doctor believes to come from his old friend Remnex, warns of the Dark Flame…and ends abruptly in a scream of agony. As it happens, Professor Remnex is also conducting research on Orbos, and the Doctor is relieved to find him in perfect health. Bernice, on the other hand, has waited two weeks for her colleague to arrive, to no avail, and no one can account for his whereabouts. The Doctor discovers that a pair of scientists on Orbos are planning to trigger a black light explosion in a nearby star, an ill-advised experiment that could have far-reaching consequences if not properly contained. Soon after his warnings about the impending experiment fall on deaf ears, the Doctor discovers that Remnex has been murdered, having sent his warning through time to the Doctor at the time of his death. The Doctor and Bernice recognize the hallmarks of the Cult of the Dark Flame, a group (thought to be extinct) which worships an energy being from a parallel, but dark, dimension. And if that cult gains control of Orbos and its black light experiment, the universe is in imminent danger. What the Doctor and his friends don’t know is that the cult is already in control.

written by Trevox Baxendale
directed by Jason Haigh-Ellery
music by Andy Hardwick

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Lisa Bowerman (Bernice), Michael Praed (Slyde), Steven Wickham (Victor / Joseph), Andrew Westfield (Remnex), Hannah Smith (Lomar), Toby Longworth (Broke)

Timeline: between the novels “The All-Consuming Fire” and “Blood Harvest”

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green […]

Professor Bernice Summerfield and the Silver Lining

Professor Bernice Summerfield and the Silver LiningProfessor Bernice Summerfield is contracted by a man named Lynton, claiming to be a representative of a mining consortium whose operations on Tysir IV have been brought to a screeching halt by an underground discovery that could be of great archaeological importance. That, and the fact that he’s a fan of Benny’s books, is what prompted him to secure her services to investigate the find. Benny warns Lynton that her appraisal can’t be bought for any price, but when she sees it for herself – with Lynton insisting that he must accompany her – she is stunned: a huge metallic structure with doors has been uncovered. Once she and Lynton figure out how to open the doors – which can only be unlocked by solving a logic puzzle – Benny realizes that the enormous chambers are a sleeping tomb of Cybermen. And only then does she realize that Lynton knew this all along. But why would he want to unleash the Cybermen?

written by Colin Brake
directed by Gary Russell
music by David Darlington

Cast: Lisa Bowerman (Professor Bernice Summerfield), Nicholas Briggs (Lynton/Cyberman), Gary Russell (Computer voice)

Notes: Silver Lining isn’t connected to Big Finish’s wider Cyberman saga, which is based on the situation and characters of the second Paul McGann audio play, Sword Of Orion. This story was included on a free CD given away with Doctor Who Magazine with the UNIT prelude story, The Coup.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

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.

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green […]

Love And War

Doctor Who: Love And WarThe Doctor, having taken Ace to a funeral for one of her Perivale friends, takes her to the planet Heaven to recuperate as he goes on an abrupt quest to retrieve the Papers of Felsecar. Ace encounters a band of gypsy-like Travelers, some of whom hide extremely dark secrets; she begins to fall in love with Jan, their ringleader. During a group linkup to a virtual reality mechanism, Christopher, the most mysterious of the Travelers, is apparently killed as his comrades see their first glimpse of an enemy who is closer than they think. The Doctor, growing increasingly aware of a grave threat to Heaven and everyone on it, meets archaeologist Bernice Summerfield, who currently holds the Papers of Felsecar. At the center of the growing danger is Ace, confused by her love for Jan and her intense loyalty to the Doctor, and determined to bring the two together. But by the time the Hoothi – an enormous, self-contained necrosphere consciousness who reanimate and absorb the dead – are finished with Heaven, Ace will have lost both.

Order this CDadapted by Jacqueline Rayner
from the novel by Paul Cornell
directed by Gary Russell
music by Steve Foxon

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Lisa Bowerman (Bernice Summerfield), James Redmond (Jan Rydd), Riona O Connor (Máire Mab Finn), Aysha Kala (Roisa McIlnery), Ela Gaworzewska (Christopher), Bernard Holley (Brother Phaedrus), Maggie Ollerenshaw (Audrey McShane), Christopher Allen (Clive Aubrey), James Unsworth (Julian Milton), Scott Handcock (Piers Gavenal), Charlie Hayes (Death), Peter Sheward (Eros)

Timeline: placement among other Big Finish audio stories uncertain; after the New Adventures novel “Nightshade” and before “Transit”

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green […]