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 Silver Turk

Doctor WhoThe Doctor brings Mary Shelley to the great exhibition at Vienna in 1873, where he learns that the legendary chess-playing Mechanical Turk is still operating. When he and Mary go to see it, however, the Doctor is appalled to discover that the Turk is actually a severely damaged Mondasian Cyberman. Its “inventor”, a man who performed a repair job that makes Mondasian spare part surgery look elegant by comparison, meets any challenge to the “Turk”‘s legitimacy with extreme hostility, and naturally he and the Doctor quickly find themselves at odds with each other. The Doctor also correctly deduces that a second Cyberman is present on Earth, and Mary finds that a rival inventor has that Cyberman in his possession. If even one of the injured Cybermen can recharge enough to regain full strength, the future of all life on Earth is in jeopardy… so naturally, the Cyberman is lucky enough to speak to a writer of fanciful stories whose imagination can conjure up such ideas as reviving a dead man with lightning.

Order this CD written by Marc Platt
directed by Barnaby Edwards
music by Jamie Robertson

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Julie Cox (Mary Shelley), Gareth Armstrong (Dr. Johan Drossel), Christian Brassington (Alfred Stahlbaum), David Schneider (Ernst Bratfisch), Gwilym Lee (Count Rolf Wittenmeier), Claire Wyatt (Countess Mitzi Wittenmeier), Nicholas Briggs (Cybermen)

Notes: The Cybermen in The Silver Turk are apparently the first Mondasians to discover Earth since Cyber-conversion changed life on Mondas forever. However, the Doctor stops them from transmitting their findings back to Mondas, presumably delaying their discovery and any potential invasion plans until 1986 (The Tenth Planet). This is only the second time that Mondasian Cybermen have featured in a Big Finish Doctor Who story; the first was in Spare Parts, also written by Marc Platt.

Timeline: after Mary’s Story (part 4 of Company Of Friends) and before Storm Warning

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The Witch From The Well

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS brings the Doctor and Mary to an English village where it is said that a witch haunts the unwary. Skeptical of this story, the Doctor investigates and discovers that an alien being has inhabited the body of an elderly woman – the one now regarded as a witch – and holds the village in her thrall. And if that’s not bad enough, the presence of the “witch” has given rise to religious zealotry that is as much of a threat to the people of the village (and the time travelers) as the alien being. The Doctor and Mary have to deal with threats from beyond Earth and with more Earthbound superstition.

Order this CD written by Rick Briggs
directed by Barnaby Edwards
music by Steve Foxon

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Julie Cox (Mary Shelley), Simon Rouse (Master John Kincaid), Andrew Havill (Aleister Portillon / Squire Claude Portillon), Serena Evans (Agnes Bates), Lisa Kay (Beatrix), Alix Wilton Regan (Finicia), Kevin Trainor (Lucern / Cornet Swallow)

Timeline: after The Silver Turk and before Army Of Death and Storm Warning

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Army Of Death

Doctor WhoThe Doctor takes Mary to the serene planet Draxine, discovering that the planet’s pleasant reputation doesn’t apply to its entire history. The dead walk Draxine again, and one of the planet’s fabled major cities has fallen to the might of the armed skeletons. The Doctor and Mary encounter two escaped prisoners, only to be pursued by both the skeletons and flying security robots, one of which captures the Doctor and whisks him away to be interrogated by the planet’s president. The Doctor learns that the dead are walking the surface of Draxine and have recently taken over the planet’s other most populous city, which lies in ruins in the aftermath of what is said to be a thermonuclear explosion. Mary, cooperating with her captors, continues toward that city, which is also a place the Doctor wants to explore. But this place is the city of the dead, and at the heart of that city is the horrifying living secret of what happened there.

Order this CD written by Jason Arnopp
directed by Barnaby Edwards
music by Fool Circle Productions

Cast: Paul McGann (The Doctor), Julie Cox (Mary Shelley), David Harewood (President Vallan), Carolyn Pickles (Lady Meera), Eva Pope (Nia Brusk), Mitch Benn (Commander Raynar / Karnex), Joanna Christie (Sherla / Baden / Tox), Trevor Cooper (Captain Maddox / Stennan / Sentries)

Notes: The Doctor mentions that he was once falsely accused of a presidential assassination; the incident in question involved the leader of the Time Lords, as chronicled in the Tom Baker TV story The Deadly Assassin (1976). The Doctor also reminisces about having had a “flying car with a great number plate” (obviously his third incarnation’s Whomobile, though it was never referred to that on screen).

Timeline: after The Witch From The Well and before Storm Warning

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