The Harvest

Doctor Who: The HarvestThe Doctor and Ace have insinuated themselves into the staff of a London hospital in 2021, trying to discover what they can about a top secret project called “C Program,” which the Doctor suspects is using alien technology. The Doctor’s nasty suspicions about the origins of that technology come into sharp focus when Ace befriends a young medic nicknamed Hex in an effort to find out more about C Program, and a hulking humanoid tries to kill both of them shortly afterward. Ace lets Hex into the TARDIS, and he quickly becomes involved in the time travelers’ plans to find out what’s going on. He might even join Ace and the Doctor for more of their travels, if any of them survive the harvesting of the human race for the organs needed by an invasion force that could overrun Earth in mere weeks.

Order this CDwritten by Dan Abnett
directed by Gary Russell
music by David Darlington

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), William Boyde (Subject One), Richard Derrington (Dr. Farrer), David Warwick (Garnier), Paul Lacoux (Dr. Mathias), Janie Booth (System), Mark Donovan (Polk)

Timeline: after The Rapture and before Dreamtime

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Dreamtime

Doctor Who: DreamtimeThe TARDIS arrives on what appears to be an asteroid with a city on it, a city where the cars, the people and even the buildings have turned to stone. Some of the human colonists on the asteroid have escaped that fate – some of them steeped in Australian Aboriginal lore, and others much more determined to return the colony to normality, by brute force if necessary. The strange situation is not helped by the arrival of a Galyari ship, its crew determined to salvage something from the asteroid before they leave. When the Doctor vanishes into something called the Dreaming, and Ace is knocked out cold, Hex finds himself on his own in a situation he can barely even begin to fathom.

Order this CDwritten by Simon Forward
directed by Gary Russell
music by Steve Foxon

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Tamzin Griffin (Trade Negotiator Vresha), Jef Higgins (Coordinator Whitten), Brigid Lohrey (Dream Commando Wahn), Josephine Mackerras (Toomey), Andrew Peisley (Dream Commando Mulyan), Steffan Rhodri (Commander Korshal), John Scholes (Baiame)

Timeline: after The Harvest and before Live 34

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green

Review: Well…I guess it looked like a good idea on paper. For the first time in quite a while, a Doctor Who audio has left me not elated, not annoyed, but just simply nonplussed. There are some interesting ideas in Dreamtime, including references to “cultural terraforming,” and perhaps a message about preserving cultures even in the face of progress and industrialization, among other things, but somehow the cumulative effect of the four episodes were to leave me…well, a bit uninterested. Actually, a straightforward discussion on the latter issue would likely prove to be more interesting than this story’s subtle-as-a-sledgehammer attempt at topical storytelling.

DreamtimeUnless it was of Hex’s scenes, that is. Philip Olivier continues to make his new TARDIS traveler likeable, and when he’s thrust into danger that’s beyond what he can grasp, his part of the story quickly becomes the most compelling thing to follow. Ace has to deal with an uncooperative brute determined to gain control of the situation by any means necessary – hardly a situation she hasn’t been in before – while the Doctor finds himself in bizarrely unfamiliar circumstances to which he reacts with what almost seems like calm familiarity. Sophie Aldred and Sylvester McCoy turn in fine performances, and the first episode is gripping stuff, but it gets a bit muddled after that, leaving the cast to do the best they can with what the script gives them. There are even tantalizing hints that we’ll follow up on the Galyari’s relationship with the Doctor – something explored much more deeply in The Sandman – but even that doesn’t materialize.

Somewhere in Dreamtime, there are fascinating ideas and an interesting story to be told – but it could be that both of those things were crowding each other out here, and not leaving adequate room to full explore either. Sadly, the weakest Doctor Who audio release in quite some time.

Live 34

Doctor Who: Live 34A radio broadcast unfolds live on the disant Colony 34, recounting the day’s events, including another in a string of terrorist bombings. The incumbent leader, Premier Leo Jaeger, denounces the violence, promises further crackdowns in the name of security, and openly accuses his opponents, the Freedom & Democracy Party, of being behind the attacks. The FDP’s new leader, known only as the Doctor, has a different story to tell: he criticizes the bombings, but also claims that Jaeger is trying to divert attention away from the upcoming elections that the FDP has forced through legal channels – elections that have been delayed for five years. Other news broadcasts profile the “Rebel Queen,” a young woman calling herself Ace who says she’s leading the resistance, and a bewildered paramedic named Hex who stumbles onto a secret during a live broadcast – a secret which could get Live 34 shut down by the government.

Order this CDwritten by James Parsons & Andrew Stirling-Brown
directed by Gary Russell
music by David Darlington

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Andrew Collins (Drew Shahan), William Hoyland (Premier Jaeger), Zehra Naqvi (Charlotte Singh), Duncan Wiseby (Ryan Wareing), Ann Bryson (Gina Grewal), Joy Elias-Rilwan (Lula)

Timeline: between Dreamtime and Night Thoughts

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

Night Thoughts

Doctor Who: Night ThoughtsThe TARDIS brings the Doctor, Ace and Hex to a stormy island, where Hex admits to experiencing strange visions of an incident in an operating room that he’s never personally witnessed, and Ace has a vision of her own near a body of water, and falls in. Spotting a nearby house, the Doctor decides they should seek shelter there, but the handful of people in the house are as unsettling as any of the strange things they’ve seen so far. Everyone there seems to be trying to keep some kind of a secret under wraps, but when one of them turns up dead, they’re all suspects…and so are the time travelers. It turns out that the TARDIS may not be the only time machine on the island, and that none of the residents of the house may have chosen to be here – and every layer of the secret that is revealed seems to cost another life.

Order this CDwritten by Edward Young
directed by Gary Russell
music by ERS

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Bernard Kay (Major Dickens), Joanna McCallum (The Bursar), Andrew Forbes (Dr. O’Neil), Lizzie Hopley (Sue), Ann Beach (The Deacon), Duncan Duff (Joe Hartley)

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

The Veiled Leopard

Doctor Who - The Veiled LeopardIt’s Monte Carlo, 1966, and Peri and Erimem are on an assignment: the Doctor has sent them to steal the Veiled Leopard, a spectacular diamond with unusual markings at its center. But this time, the TARDIS travelers are on their own, and the Doctor isn’t there to help them deal with someone else who’s there for the same reason, to say nothing of the other shady characters populating the casino. Two of the other guests in particular stick out like a sore thumb, which is an odd coincidence, because their names are Hex and Ace – and they’ve been sent by the Doctor to make sure that nobody steals the Veiled Leopard.

written by Iain McLaughlin & Claire Bartlett
directed by Gary Russell
music by David Darlington

Cast: Nicola Bryant (Peri), Caroline Morris (Erimem), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Lizzie Hopley (Lady Lillian Hawthorne), Alan Ruscoe (Peter Mathis), Steven Wickham (Gavin Walker), Stephen Mansfield (Jean, the Commisionaire)

Notes: Alan Ruscoe appeared in almost half of the episodes of the first season of the revived Doctor Who, playing heavily-costumed parts such as Autons, Slitheen and assorted androids; he also appeared in the first two movies of the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Steven Wickham was Lister’s blushing GELF bride in the Red Dwarf episode Emohawk: Polymorph II. If you’re trying to fit written and audio Doctor Who into the same continuity, the fifth and seventh incarnations of the Doctor met up again both before and after this story; the Missing Adventures novel “Cold Fusion” takes place further back in the fifth Doctor’s life (when he’s traveling with Tegan, Nyssa and Adric), and much later in the seventh Doctor’s (when he’s no longer traveling with Ace or Hex, but instead shares the TARDIS with Chris Cwej and Roz Forrester).

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

The Settling

Doctor Who: The SettlingThe Doctor, Ace and Hex arrive in Ireland, 1649, to the sound of thunder…only it’s not thunder. The TARDIS has brought the time travelers to Drogheda, just before Oliver Cromwell and his New Model Army raze the town to the ground, and there are almost no survivors. The Doctor befriends a pregnant widow named Mary, after sternly telling Ace and Hex not to get involved in historical events. But when the moment comes, Hex and Ace take up arms alongside the Irish. Ace is injured in battle, and Hex is captured by Cromwell’s forces. Hoping he can change history and prevent another massacre like Drogheda, Hex becomes Cromwell’s personal advisor, trying to steer him toward more humane treatment of prisoners, civilian and otherwise. Hex tries to get Cromwell to be more concerned with how history will see him. As the Doctor tries to help Mary bring a new life into the world, Hex is helpless to watch as his best efforts only ensure that Cromwell will continue carving a bloody path through history at Wexford.

Order this CDwritten by Simon Guerrier
directed by Gary Russell
music by David Darlington

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Clive Mantle (Oliver Cromwell), Roger Parrott (Doctor Goddard), Hugh Lee (Fitzgerald), Clare Cathcart (Mary), Ian Brooker (Colonel Sinnott)

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

No Man’s Land

Doctor Who: No Man's LandThe TARDIS deposits the Doctor, Ace and Hex in harm’s way on the front lines of World War I. After a close call with a German shell, they wind up in a makeshift military hospital, and as soon as the Doctor is fully recovered, he’s startled to find that there are orders awaiting him: they ask the British commanding officer to accord the Doctor and his associates full access to the hospital in order to investigate a murder that has yet to happen. Completely mystified, the Doctor begins investigating, but not before Hex warns him of one disturbing possibility: the future murder victim could be one of the time travelers. Hex discovers first-hand that horrifying experiments in mind control are taking place at this hospital, far ahead of their time, and crude – but effective. The Doctor and Ace find themselves on the receiving end of a none-too-subtle warning about poking around where they’re not welcome. They find an ally in a man who’s being kept off the front lines for fear that his pacifistic views will send him running into the arms of the enemy, but with the rest of the soldiers turned against him, he can’t offer the Doctor much help. When the murder finally takes place, however, it seems that the base commander has his own ideas as to who should face the music for the killing, whether his suspicions are founded in truth or not. But who knew about the murder ahead of time?

Order this CDwritten by Martin Day
directed by John Ainsworth
music by Simon Robinson

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Michael Cochrane (Lt. Col. Brook), Rob Dixon (Sgt. Wood), Rupert Wickham (Captain Dudgeon), Oliver Mellor (Private Taylor), Ian Hayles (Lance Corporal Burridge), Michael Adams (Private Dixon)

Timeline: between The Settling and Nocturne

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green

Review: A dark historical story with nary an alien influence anywhere, perhaps the only weakness of No Man’s Land is that – if you’re listening to the seventh Doctor audio adventures in their intended order – it follows on from another dark historical story with nary an alien influence anywhere (The Settling). The reality is that there were a few months between the two releases, but even the characters comment on the slight similarity – Ace warns Hex against causing another debacle like the one he precipitated in The Settling. Read More

Nocturne

Doctor Who: NocturneThe Doctor brings Ace and Hex to Glast City on the planet Nocturne, home of the Artists’ Enclave, a community of poets, musicians, writers and other creative types, which happens to be one of the Doctor’s favorite places in the universe. But death seems to arrive on the Doctor’s heels: one of the community’s prominent artists is murdered and his home is set ablaze. Hex arrives to try to help, but he’s found by the authorities and arrested on suspicion of murder. The Doctor arrives to vouch for him, but that only brings the Time Lord – and his history of unauthorized visits to Nocturne – to the attention of the city’s security forces. He discovers that someone has been conducting experiments in bioharmonics, the science of living sound, and may have summoned a dark force to Nocture. But by the time there are more deaths for the security forces to investigate, they’ve already decided that the Doctor is their prime suspect.

Order this CDwritten by Dan Abnett
directed by John Ainsworth
music by Steve Foxon

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Trevor Bannister (Korbin Thessinger), Paul David-Gough (Will Alloran), Eric Potts (Lothar Ragpole), Ann Rye (Lilian Dillane), Helen Kay (Cate Reeney)

Notes: Nocturne was the final Doctor Who audio to use the centered-logo cover template established in the earliest Big Finish releases. The following release, Renaissance Of The Daleks, began using a new cover template inspired by the covers of Virgin Publishing’s Doctor Who Missing Adventures novels, although that cover design had already appeared on the first Companion Chronicles CD releases.

Timeline: between No Man’s Land and The Dark Husband

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green

Review: The Doctor, Hex and Ace finally get back to the future, so to speak, and it’s a welcome departure after a string of trips into Earth history. Since the earliest days of Big Finish’s Doctor Who license, all the way back to Whispers Of Terror, there’s been a conscious effort to do stories that would work well in audio form but not necessarily on television, and the various stories that have tried to accomplish that have either been very good or very bad, but very seldom “eh, that’s okay.” Nocturne is one of the better attempts. Read More

The Dark Husband

Doctor Who: The Dark HusbandAfter a particularly harrowing adventure, the Doctor promises to take Ace and Hex somewhere where they can all relax, and by virtue of having both a spa and a beer tent, the Festival of the Twin Moons of Tuin wins the toss. But of course, the Doctor hasn’t shared everything he knows about Tuin: the societies of its twin moons, despite being very closely related biologically, are locked in a seemingly endless war, from which the Festival is the only break in hostilities. Furthermore, the Doctor takes it upon himself to bring that war to an end, having read some local lore. He declares himself the suitor to an unknown bride, the marriage of whom will bring peace to Tuin at last. But instead of being one step ahead of the game, this time the Doctor’s information is woefully incomplete, as he has no idea who he’ll be marrying. And even when the bride is revealed, the Doctor discovers that the peace their wedding vows will bring will not be the peace of a war ended, but the peace of a dead world.

Order this CDwritten by David Quantick
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by Steve Foxon

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Danny Webb (Ori), Andy B Newb (Irit), Benny Dawb (Tuin), Katarina Olsson (Bard), Sean Connolly (Bard)

Timeline: between Nocturne and Forty-Five

LogBook entry and TheatEar entry by Earl Green

Review: A bizarrely dark metaphysical comedy, The Dark Husband is a bit misleading at several points in the story, but it certainly keeps you on your toes. It’s not like anything that’s been done in Doctor Who before, audio or television, though some longtime fans might find some similarities to the logic trap posed in the classic series phrase “Who who loses shall win, and he who wins shall lose” – it’s that kind of crafty misdirection. Read More

Forty-Five

Doctor Who: Forty-FiveThe Doctor, Ace and Hex arrive just in time to see famed archaeologist Howard Carter unearth one of the more interesting Egyptian tombs he would excavate prior to discovering the tomb of Tutankhamun. But what Carter finds here startles the TARDIS crew: evidence that another time traveler may be nearby, altering the course of human history. A distress call then leads the Doctor and his friends to a remote laboratory where Dr. Verryman is trying to crack a genetic code that could lead to the mental improvement of the human race – whether the human race wants it or not. The code turns out to be a mathematical virus which infects the Doctor’s mind: kill and cure could be the same thing. The TARDIS next lands in England on V-E day, where a man from 1945 has procured alien technology allowing him to control others’ minds. The device has attracted the attention of not only the Doctor, but of the Forge as well, and the consequences hit close to home for both Ace and Hex. At a top secret base in Antarctica in 2012, the time travelers arrive just after a murder that should never have happened with the base’s tight security measures…and of course, this means the Doctor and his companions are now the prime suspects.

Order this CDwritten by Mark Morris (False Gods), Nick Scovell (Order Of Simplicity), Mark Michalowski (Casualties Of War), Steven Hall (The Word Lord)
directed by Ken Bentley
music by Richard Fox and Lauren Yason, Matthew Cochrane, and Steve Foxon

False Gods: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Benedict Cumberbatch (Howard Carter), Lucy Adams (Jane Templeton), Paul Lincoln (Robert Charles), Jon Glover (Creodont), Paul Lincoln (Robot)

Order of Simplicity: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Jon Glover (Dr. Verryman), Lucy Adams (Mrs Crisp), Benedict Cumberbatch (Thing 2), Paul Lincoln (Thing 1)

Casualties of War: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Paul Reynolds (Joey Carlisle), Linda Marlowe (May), Beth Chalmers (Audrey), Beth Chalmers (Miss Merchant), Andrew Dickens (PC Miller)

The Word Lord: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Linda Marlowe (Commander Claire Spencer), Paul Reynolds (Nobody No-One), Andrew Dickens (Captain James Hurst), Paul Lincoln (Private Fenton), Beth Chalmers (System)

Timeline: between The Dark Husband and The Magic Mousetrap

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

The Magic Mousetrap

Doctor Who: The Magic MousetrapA strange gathering takes place in a sanitorium in the Swiss Alps in 1926. Among the strangest patients there is a man known only as the Doctor, who seems not to have the slightest idea who he is – and anytime he seems to stray anywhere near finding out the truth, there always seems to be something handy to prevent him from remembering too much: chloroform here, a powerful electric shock there. Other patients go through the motions of playing an endless series of games, and being subjected to similar memory-erasing tactics by the shadowy couple calling the shots from the sanitorium’s attic. These two mysterious people are named Ace and Hex, and they’re keeping the patients – and their Doctor – imprisoned for a reason: to rid the universe of a malevolent presence. But it turns out that the Doctor, even without his memory, doesn’t take kindly to being imprisoned.

Order this CDwritten by Matthew Sweet
directed by Ken Bentley
music by Richard Fox & Lauren Yason

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Paul Anthony-Barber (Ludovic Comfort), Joan Walker (Lola Luna), Nadim Sawalha (Swapnil Khan), Nadine Lewington (Queenie Glasscock), Andrew Fettes (Harry Randall), Andrew Dickens (Herbert Randall)

Timeline: between Forty-Five and Enemy Of The Daleks

Notes: Spoiler-heavy notes are placed below the review.

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Enemy Of The Daleks

Doctor Who: Enemy Of The DaleksOn the planet Bliss, an isolated human research base is besieged by both the local insect life and by an approaching attack force of Daleks. The TARDIS arrives outside the base, and the Doctor, Ace and Hex demand shelter from the deadly insect swarm. Once inside, the time travelers find that the base’s crew is demoralized and on edge. Something is drawing the Daleks’ attention to this otherwise unremarkable outpost – and the Doctor discovers that it could be something even more horrifyingly destructive than the Daleks themselves. Will he actually join forces with his dreaded enemies to keep it contained?

Order this CDwritten by David Bishop
directed by Ken Bentley
music by Steve Foxon

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Kate Ashfield (Lieutenant Beth Stokes), Bindya Solanki (Sergeant Tahira Khan), Eiji Kusuhara (Professor Toshio Shimura), Jeremy James (Sistermatic / Kiseibya / Male Patient / Male Voice), Nicholas Briggs (Daleks)

Timeline: between The Magic Mousetrap and Angel Of Scutari

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

The Angel Of Scutari

Doctor Who: The Angel Of ScutariThe Doctor takes Hex to the Crimean War, in the wake of the costly and ultimately futile charge of the Light Brigade. Ace understands why the Doctor has brought them here all too well: Hex can, at least temporarily, make a difference and regain his confidence about traveling in the TARDIS. But this adventure becomes more than any of them can handle when the three time travelers are separated; Hex takes charge of battlefield medicine at the front of the war, but when the TARDIS is lost at sea, Ace and the Doctor are captured by Russian soldiers. The Doctor is treated like a visiting diplomat, while Ace gets to recover from her injuries in a cell. The three time travelers have to use what they know about this juncture in history to try to reunite with each other without changing recorded events. For Hex, avoiding interference with history becomes doubly difficult when he is introduced to Florence Nightingale herself, and is then accused of collusion with the enemy. Hex’s accuser is eager to see Hex dead for this crime, whether he actually committed it or not, and this time the Doctor isn’t there to help him.

Order this CDwritten by Paul Sutton
directed by Ken Bentley
music by Toby Hrycek-Robinson

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Hugh Bonneville (Sir Sidney Herbert / Tsar Nicholas I), Jeany Spark (Florence Nightingale), John Paul Connolly (William Russell / Russian Dungeon Guard), Alex Lowe (Brigadier-General Bartholomew Kitchen), Sean Brosnan (Sir Hamilton Seymour), John Albasiny (Lev Tolstoy / Preston)

Timeline: between Enemy Of The Daleks and Project: Destiny

Notes: Most of the characters portrayed in The Angel Of Scutari – minus the time travelers and their interference in history, of course – were real people, including Florence Nightingale herself, journalist William Russell, Tsar Nicholas I, Sir George Hamilton Seymour and Sir Sidney Herbert. At the end of the story, the Doctor says he’s taking the wounded Hex to St. Gart’s Hospital, the near-future hospital where Hex was working in his first story, The Harvest.

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Project: Destiny

Doctor Who: Project: DestinyThe Doctor and Ace rush the critically injured Hex back to his own time, to St. Gart’s, the hospital where the time travelers first met Hex. The TARDIS slips a little too far forward in time, however, and arrives in 2026. St. Gart’s is closed down at the heart of a quarantine zone, and the streets of London are deserted. Using his sonic screwdriver, the Doctor breaks into the hospital and gets ready to operate on Hex himself, only to be interrupted by armored soldiers in the employ of Department C4 – once known as The Forge. Nimrod, now a public figure using his real name or Sir William Abberton, is still in charge, seeking a solution to a widespread mutation of humans into insect-like life forms. In the absence of a cure, Nimrod is happy to treat the outbreak as a pest control situation, and he’s also delighted to learn that the Doctor has never told Hex about how his mother died. When the Doctor himself becomes infected with the mutation, Hex fights to keep the Doctor calm to prevent the mutation from taking hold. Nimrod, on the other hand, wants to see the mutation process first-hand and eliminate his arch-enemy at the same time…

Order this CDwritten by Paul Sutton
directed by Ken Bentley
music by Toby Hrycek-Robinson

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Stephen Chance (Sir William Abberton), Maggie O’Neill (Captain Lysandra Aristedes), Philip Dinsdale (Sergeant Jarrod), Ingrid Oliver (Helen / Oracle)

Timeline: between The Angel Of Scutari and A Death In The Family

Notes: Hex is taken to St. Gart’s Hospital, the near-future hospital where he first met the Doctor and Ace in his first story, The Harvest. Hex’s mother, Cassie Schofield, appeared in the first two Doctor Who audio stories featuring the Forge, Project: Twilight (2001) and Project: Lazarus (2003). The Doctor’s future adventure with Aristedes is chronicled in the 2012 Companion Chronicles release Project: Nirvana.

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Lurkers At Sunlight’s Edge

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS, still apparently bleached white, arrives on the Alaskan coastline in the 1930s, and the Doctor, Hex, and Ace encounter an explorer named Corbin who is in possession of a large crystalline key… and what little remains of his mental faculties. Before long, they encounter another party of explorers – disturbingly well-armed explorers led by Emerson Whitcrag III, who has no qualms about sacrificing Corbin or the time traveling interlopers to gain entry to what he describes as a vault of ancient, forbidden secrets. Ace and the Doctor run afoul of Whitecrag’s vicious temper, and Hex believes he has seen his fellow TARDIS travelers die. Held hostage along with the wounded Corbin, Hex has no choice but to be the “guinea pig” for Whitecrag’s attempts to enter the icy structure – a structure whose built-in defenses have killed several men already. The Doctor and Ace survive Whitecrag’s attempt to kill them, but find a mental institute in close proximity, one where famed horror author C.P. Doveday is kept sequestered away from the rest of the world. Dr. Gabriel, who runs the institute and seems deeply concerned for Doveday’s well being, is very worried that Doveday may be upset by the new arrivals – particularly when Ace escapes the institute with Doveday in tow. The truth is finally revealed to the Doctor: impossibly powerful ancient beings with nearly godlike powers slumber in the icy citadel currently being explored by Whitecrag and a terrified Hex. And the man Ace has just helped escape knows their secrets, making him the most dangerous man alive.

Order this CDadapted by Marty Ross
directed by Ken Bentley
music by Steve Foxon

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Michael Brandon (C.P. Doveday), Kate Terence (Dr. Freya Gabriel), Stuart Milligan (Emerson Whytecrag III), Alex Lowe (Professor August Corbin), Sam Clemens (Slade), Duncan Wisbey (Captain Akins)

Timeline: after A Death In The Family and before Robophobia

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Protect And Survive

Doctor WhoThe Doctor is missing from the TARDIS, which is particularly alarming since the TARDIS is in flight. While Hex takes what seems like the most reasonable course of action – panic – Ace tries to land the TARDIS, bringing the timeship down in England in 1989. Oddly, the TARDIS’ police box exterior has turned white, and Hex and Ace find a couple preparing their cottage for the unthinkable: the world is on the brink of nuclear war, and the government has sent out pamphlets describing how its citizens can build and stock their own fallout shelters within their homes. Ace and Hex discover that history is following a different course than the 1989 they remember, but when they try to go back to the TARDIS and leave, they discover that it has dematerialized on its own, leaving them trapped. Ace decides to “borrow” the couple’s car to drive to London to contact UNIT to help her reach the Doctor, but she’s caught red-handed… just as sirens signal the beginning of World War III. An uneasy alliance becomes a necessity, especially when Hex is blinded by the blast of the bomb, but survival becomes a luxury – one that won’t be afforded to all four of them… unless, of course, they do things differently the next time.

Order this CDwritten by Jonathan Morris
directed by Ken Bentley
music by Wilfredo Acosta

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Ian Hogg (Albert), Elizabeth Bennett (Peggy), Peter Egan (Moloch / Announcer)

Notes: The radio announcements that recur throughout the story are based on real radio scripts and pamphlets that were prepared by the British government as part of the real “Protect & Survive” public information campaign to be deployed ahead of an imminent nuclear attack on British soil. The pamphlets mentioned were actually designed and printed, but not distributed until their existence was revealed by the newspapers, and public outcry forced disclosure of the campaign in 1980. This story shares that title with the first episode of Gerry Anderson’s Space Precinct (a space police series which played on the phrase’s similarity to “protect and serve”).

Timeline: after Lurkers At Sunlight’s Edge and before Black And White; possibly simultaneous with House Of Blue Fire

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Black And White

Doctor WhoNo sooner have Ace and Hex found refuge in the black TARDIS then they realize they’re not alone inside it: Captain Lysandra Aristedes, formerly of the Forge, seems to be in control, along with Private Sally Morgan, a soldier the Doctor once rescued from the Bluefire Project. Aristedes and Morgan claim to have been traveling with the Doctor for some time, hunting down and fighting the same kind of elder gods from which Ace and Hex have only just escaped. The black TARDIS then materializes within the white TARDIS, but neither pair of the Doctor’s companions trusts the other enough to let them take off with a working TARDIS. Aristedes allows Ace to accompany her, while Morgan is assigned to go with Hex. Each TARDIS, black and white, arrives several years apart on seventh century Earth; Ace and Aristedes meet a brash future warrior king named Beowulf, while Hex and Morgan meet Beowulf at the end of his reign (and his life). An alien arms dealer named Garundel is also on Earth in this time period, peddling wares beyond human understanding. With teams from the TARDIS at the beginning and end of his rule, King Beowulf’s life could become a tale beyond belief…

Order this CDwritten by Matt Fitton
directed by Ken Bentley
music by Jamie Robertson

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Maggie O’Neill (Lysandra Aristedes), Amy Pemberton (Sally Morgan), Stuart Milligan (Garundel), Michael Rouse (Young Beowulf), Richard Bremmer (Old Beowulf), John Banks (Weohstan), James Hayward (Wiglaf)

Notes: The white TARDIS first appeared in The Angel Of Scutari, while the black TARDIS first appeared in Robophobia. Garundel recovers from this story and encounters the seventh Doctor much later in Starlight Robbery (2013).

Timeline: after Protect And Survive and before Gods And Monsters

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Afterlife

Doctor WhoTraumatized by Hex’s selfless sacrifice of his own life, Ace is boiling over with rage and grief. She cripples the TARDIS until the Doctor agrees to treat Hex’s death as a tragedy on a human scale, complete with a memorial for the one remaining member of Hex’s family. The Doctor can barely face Hex’s grandmother with the news, and even then he isn’t able to divulge what truly happened to Hex. Ace saves a woman from what seems like a mugging, only to discover that a gang war is overrunning Hex’s home town, and that war is being fought with seemingly supernatural weapons far beyond human technology. She also discovers that the other major rival in this gang war is a man who is, at the very least, Hex’s identical twin: Hector Thomas. At Hex’s memorial, the Doctor is relieved to see Sally Morgan in attendance, and she briefs him on the unnatural warfare threatening to consume the city. As the Doctor steps into the fray, he discovers that he is once again playing games against gods…and the stakes are an old friend’s soul.

Order this CDwritten by Mike Fitton
directed by Ken Bentley
music by Howard Carter

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), Amy Pemberton (Sally Morgan), Jean Boht (Hilda Schofield), Mandi Symonds (Lily Finnegan), Jonathan Forbes (Barry Finnegan), Andrew Dickens (D.I. Derek Mortimer)

Notes: Hex died at the end of Gods And Monsters (2012) saving his friends aboard the TARDIS, though that story’s post-end-credits “coda” made it clear that Hex still existed in some (possibly spiritual) form. Private Sally Morgan was introduced in House Of Blue Fire, returning in Black And White and Gods And Monsters; she also appeared in the Companion Chronicles story Project: Nirvana. Hex’s mother, Cassie, encountered the sixth Doctor twice (Project: Twilight, Project: Lazarus).

Timeline: after Gods And Monsters and before Revenge Of The Swarm

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More