Terror of the Vervoids (Trial of a Time Lord, parts 9-12)

Doctor WhoThe Doctor finally gets his chance to present his defense in his trial. He presents an adventure from his own future, in which he and new companion Melanie are summoned to a posh space luxury liner by an anonymous distress call. While the ship’s captain – who has met the Doctor on a previous occasion – and the incompetent chief of security initially regard the Doctor and Mel as stowaways, they find themselves with other problems when murders begin to occur aboard the ship, and three scientists are being very secretive about their hydroponics experiment in the ship’s cargo deck. As more passengers die mysteriously, the ship’s captain asks the Doctor to help – but, according to the evidence, the Doctor isn’t really all that helpful…which isn’t how he remembers the story.

Order the DVDwritten by Pip Baker & Jane Baker
directed by Chris Clough
music by Malcolm Clarke

Guest Cast: Honor Blackman (Professor Lasky), Michael Craig (Commodore Travers), Denys Hawthorne (Rudge), Yolande Palfrey (Janet), Tony Scoggo (Enzu/Grenville), Malcolm Tierney (Doland), David Allister (Bruchner), Arthur Hewlett (Kimber), Simon Slaters (Edwardes), Barbara Ward (Mutant), Sam Howard (Atza), Leon Davis (Ortezo), Hugh Beverton (Guard), Mike Mungarvan (Duty Officer), Peppi Borza (First Vervoid), Bob Appleby (Second Vervoid), Barbara Ward (Ruth Baxter)

Broadcast from November 1 through 22, 1986

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

The Ultimate Foe (Trial Of A Time Lord, Parts 13-14)

Doctor WhoThe Doctor is still on trial for his life, facing a new charge – genocide – levelled at him by the prosecuting Valeyard. The Doctor counters that the Valeyard has tampered with the evidence through the immense Gallifreyan information storage system known as the Matrix – but a Time Lord whose job is to tend the Matrix refutes this charge. Then, mysterious things begin happening. Two friendly witnesses arrive in the form of criminal Sabalon Glitz and future companion Melanie – with whom the Doctor has yet to travel at this point in his history. And then the Master appears from within the Matrix, admitting to providing these witnesses as part of his plan to help the Doctor and topple the High Council of the Time Lords at the same time. The Master also reveals that the Valeyard is, in fact, a future incarnation of the Doctor – a future incarnation gone mad and turned to evil. With this revelation the Doctor and the Valeyard plunge into the Matrix, aided and abetted by Glitz, Mel, and the Master, ready to fight the most dangerous battle between good and evil that any Time Lord has ever fought, where his mortal adversary is himself.

Order the DVDpart 13 written by Robert Holmes
part 14 written by Pip Baker & Jane Baker
directed by Chris Clough
music by Dominic Glynn

Guest Cast: Anthony Ainley (The Master), Tony Selby (Glitz), Geoffrey Hughes (Mr. Popplewick), James Bree (Keeper of the Matrix)

Broadcast from November 29 through December 6, 1986

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

Time And The Rani

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS crash-lands on Lakertya with such force that the Doctor is forced to regenerate. He is promptly removed from the TARDIS by the evil female Time Lord biochemist known as the Rani, who is behind his rough landing. Melanie, also knocked out by the landing, is kidnapped by Ikona, a birdlike Lakertyan whose people are behind forced to cooperate with the Rani’s scheme. In the meantime, the Rani gives the newly-regenerated Doctor a drug-induced bout of amnesia, trying to use him to help her complete her latest experiment – but she doesn’t count on the rebellious nature that the Doctor carries through all of his incarnations.

Season 24 Regular Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Bonnie Langford (Melanie)

Order the DVDwritten by Pip Baker & Jane Baker
directed by Andrew Morgan
music by Keff McCulloch

Guest Cast: Kate O’ Mara (The Rani), Mark Greenstreet (Ikona), Donald Pickering (Beyus), Richard Gauntlett (Urak), Wanda Ventham (Faroon), John Segal (Lanisha), Karen Clegg (Sarn), Peter Tuddenham, Jacki Webb (Voices)

Broadcast from September 7 through 28, 1987

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

Paradise Towers

Doctor WhoThe Doctor and Mel arrive to do a little vacationing in the lush artificial paradise known as Paradise Towers, only to find that the huge structure has fallen into disrepair – and furthermore, its inhabitants have descended into savagery. The Kangs, warring factions of girl gangs, struggle for survival among the rule-bound Caretakers, the cannibalistic Rezzies, and another force which lurks in the shadows, using the mechanical cleaning robots to murder members of all of these groups. The Doctor is captured by the Caretakers, who believe him to be the Great Architect of Paradise Towers and sentence him to death, while Mel befriends Pex, mighty in his own mind and weak of stomach. The Doctor discovers that the Great Architect is indeed still lurking in his masterpiece of construction, killing off its residents before they foul Paradise Towers by living in it.

Order the DVDwritten by Stephen Wyatt
directed by Nicholas Mallett
music by Keff McCulloch

Guest Cast: Howard Cooke (Pex), Richard Briers (Chief Caretaker), Clive Merrison (Deputy Chief Caretaker), Joseph Young (Young Caretaker), Annabel Yuresha (Bin Liner), Julie Brennon (Fire Escape), Catherine Cusack (Blue Kang Leader), Astra Sheridan (Yellow Kang), Brenda Bruce (Tilda), Elizabeth Spriggs (Tabby), Judy Cornwell (Maddy), Simon Coady (Video commentary)

Broadcast from October 5 through 26, 1987

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

Delta And The Bannermen

Doctor WhoThe Doctor and Melanie land at a kind of toll booth in space, but instead of exact change, they wind up winning a trip to Earth in 1959 for being the ten billionth visitors to the station. Joining the chartered trip is Delta, queen of the Chimeron, and the last of her race who hasn’t been hunted down by genocidal Gavrok and his army of Bannermen. Gavrok’s forces trail the tourists to Wales, intent on killing Delta, who carries with her an egg that will soon hatch the first child in a new generation of Chimerons. Billy, a local boy with rock ‘n’ roll aspirations, falls in love with Delta, while the Doctor tries to prepare the Welsh locals for a mercenary attack from space.

Order the DVDwritten by Malcolm Kohll
directed by Chris Clough
music by Keff McCulloch

Guest Cast: Don Henderson (Gavrok), Belinda Mayne (Delta), David Kinder (Billy), Sara Griffiths (Ray), Richard Davies (Burton), Stubby Kaye (Weismuller), Morgan Deare (Hawk), Hugh Lloyd (Goronwy), Johnny Dennis (Murray), Anita Graham (Bollit), Ken Dodd (Tollmaster), Leslie Meadows (Adlon), Brian Hibbard (Keillor), Martyn Geraint (Vinny), Clive Condon (Callon), Richard Mitchley (Arrex), Robin Aspland, Keff McCulloch, Justin Myers, Ralph Salmins (The Lorells), Jessica McGough, Amy Osborn (Young Chimeron), Laura Collins, Carley Joseph (Chimeron Princess), Tracy Wilson, Jodie Wilson (Vocalists)

Broadcast from November 2 through 16, 1987

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

Dragonfire

Doctor WhoThe Doctor and Mel pay a visit to Svartos, an ice planet with an enormous habitation complex which extends far above the surface. Though it seems innocuous enough on the surface – the TARDIS materializes in a frozen goods store – a chance encounter with Sabalon Glitz, bumbling intergalactic treasure-seeker not-so-extraordinaire quickly leads the Doctor into trouble, and introduces him to Ace, a sarcastic teenager from Earth who inexplicably found herself on Svartos and now works as a waitress. Glitz has obtained a map of the caverns beneath the planet’s surface, where a dragon is rumored to lurk, guarding a priceless treasure. The Doctor agrees to accompany Glitz on his search, more curious about the dragon itself than what it may be guarding. Mel, left behind with Ace, finds herself in very deep trouble when the younger girl runs afoul of the authorities and brings herself to the attention of Kane, an alien who cannot leave the sub-freezing portions of the complex. Little do the Doctor and Glitz realize that the dragon is all that stands between the people of Svartos and Kane’s plans for a bloody reign of terror.

Order the DVDwritten by Ian Briggs
directed by Chris Clough
music by Dominic Glynn

Guest Cast: Sophie Aldred (Ace), Tony Selby (Glitz), Edward Peel (Kane), Patricia Quinn (Belazs), Tony Osoba (Kracauer), Stephanie Fayerman (McLuhan), Sean Blowers (Zed), Stuart Organ (Bazin), Nigel Miles-Thomas (Pudovkin), Shirin Taylor (Customer), Miranda Borman (Stellar), Ian Mackenzie (Anderson), Chris MacDonnell (Arnheim), Leslie Meadows (Creature), Daphne Oxenford (Archivist), Lynn Gardner (Announcer)

Broadcast from November 23 through December 7, 1987

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

Dimensions In Time

Doctor WhoThe Doctor and Ace find themselves in London’s East End (instead of their intended destination, the Great Wall of China). Soon they find themselves switching identities, as the Doctor flits from one incarnation to another and his companions constantly change. Behind it all is The Rani, who hopes to trap the Doctor so he can never interfere in her plans again…

written by John Nathan-Turner & David Roden
directed by Stuart McDonald
music by Keff McCulloch

Cast: Jon Pertwee (The Doctor), Tom Baker (The Doctor), Peter Davison (The Doctor), Colin Baker (The Doctor), Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Kate O’Mara (The Rani), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Nicola Bryant (Peri), Nicholas Courtney (The Brigadier), Carole Ann Ford (Susan), Richard Franklin (Captain Yates), Louise Jameson (Leela), Caroline John (Liz Shaw), Ross Kemp (Grant Mitchell), Bonnie Langford (Mel), John Leeson (K-9), Steve McFadden (Phil Mitchell), Philip Newman (Kiv), Mike Reid (Frank), Wendy Richard (Pauline Fowler), Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Pam St. Clement (Pat Butcher), Nicola Stapleton (Mandy), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Gillian Taylforth (Kathy Beale), Deepak Verma (Sanjay), Lalla Ward (Romana II), Deborah Watling (Victoria Waterfield), Adam Woodyatt (Ian Beale)

Broadcast November 26 & 27, 1993

LogBook entry & review by Philip R. Frey Read More

The Fires Of Vulcan

Doctor Who: Night ThoughtsPompeii, Italy, 1980 A.D.: A UNIT operative hastily takes charge of an archaeological dig at Pompeii when, in the ruins of the city that died in the eruption of Vesuvius, an inexplicable anachronism is unearthed – a British police telephone box, preserved in the ancient ash. The oddity is removed from the site and put in top security storage by UNIT. The Doctor is summoned to investigate, but – in his fifth incarnation – he chooses not to enter the police box.

Pompeii, Italy, 79 A.D.: The Doctor, now in his seventh incarnation, is disturbed when the TARDIS brings him and Melanie to Pompeii a mere day before the eruption of Vesuvius. But despite his misgivings, he and Mel mingle with the locals and explore the doomed city. Earthquakes wrack Pompeii, but the local simply see it as a sign from the gods – and the Doctor and Melanie’s arrival out of thin air is seen as another sign. But the tremors have had a more troubling effect for the time travlers: the TARDIS has been buried beneath tons of rubble. With less than a day to retrieve the TARDIS and escape Pompeii, the Doctor and Melanie become embroiled in local politics…but the Doctor, with his foreknowledge that the TARDIS will someday be found in the ruins of Pompeii, doesn’t seem to be fighting very hard to save himself or his companion.

Order this CDwritten by Steve Lyons
directed by Gary Russell
music by Alistair Lock

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Bonnie Langford (Melanie), Robert Curbishley (Tibernus), Andy Coleman (Popidius Celsinus), Nicky Goldie (Valeria Hedone), Steven Wickham (Murranus), Lisa Hollander (Eumachia), Gemma Bissix (Aglae), Toby Longworth (Priest), Robert Curbishley (Roman Legionary), Anthony Keetch (Professor Scalini), Karen Henson (Captain Muriel Frost)

Timeline: between Delta And The Bannermen and Dragonfire

Logbook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

The One Doctor

Doctor Who: The One DoctorThe Doctor reluctantly answers a distress call from the planet Generios (in the Generios system, which is nestled away quietly in the constellation of Generios). When he arrives, though, he finds he’s surplus to requirements – the people of Generios are celebrating their victory over the evil Skelloids, a victory they say was engineered by that legendary time traveler known as the Doctor! Mel chalks it up to one of the Doctor’s other incarnations, but the Doctor isn’t so sure. When he runs into the man the people of Generios have hailed as a hero, the Doctor is even more certain that this man isn’t one of his future selves – this “Doctor” travels around the universe in what is essentially a transmat disguised as a Porta-Loo, and generally being far too chummy with his buxom sidekick Sally Anne. But when a new alien menace threatens to destroy Generios – this time decidedly more real than the fake Doctor’s equally fake holographically-projected Skelloid invasion – the planet must look to the Doctor (the real Doctor) for help.

Order this CDwritten by Gareth Roberts and Clayton Hickman
directed by Gary Russell
music by Alistair Lock

Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Bonnie Langford (Melanie), Christopher Biggins (Banto Zame), Claire Buckfield (Sally-Ann Stubbins), Stephen Fewell (Councillor Potikol / Assembler 2), Nicholas Pegg (Citizen Sokkery / Mentos), Jane Goddard (The Questioner), Adam Buxton (Assembler 1), Matt Lucas (Jelloid), Mark Wright (Guard)

Timeline: after The Trial Of A Time Lord and before The Juggernauts

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Bang-Bang-A-Boom!

Doctor Who: Bang-Bang-A-Boom!The Doctor and Melanie arrive at a most inopportune time aboard space station Dark Space 8, and the Doctor is mistaken for the replacement for the station’s recently-deceased commander – a role into which the Time Lord steps eagerly, to Mel’s dismay. Dark Space 8 is playing host to an intergalactic pop song contest in a matter of days, and station security is stepped up accordingly – but apparently not enough, as one of the contestants turns up dead. As more murders occur, the station’s crew is helpless (and clueless), and when one of the suspects seems to have an unnatural hold over the Doctor, Mel worries that she is on her own in solving the mystery…

written by Gareth Roberts and Clayton Hickman
directed by Nicholas Pegg
music by Andy Hardwick

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Bonnie Langford (Melanie), Sabina Franklyn (Doctor Eleanor Harcourt), Graeme Garden (Professor Ivor Fassbender), Jane Goddard (Geri Pakhar), Nickolas Grace (Mister Loozly), Vidar Magnussen (Lieutenant Strindberg), Patricia Quinn (Queen Angvia), Anthony Spargo (Nicky Newman), David Tughan (Commentator Logan), Barnaby Edwards (Waiter)

Timeline: between Paradise Towers and Delta And The Bannermen

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Flip-Flop

Doctor Who: Flip-Flop…just then, the “other” Doctor and Melanie arrive on the human colony planet Puxatornee, discovering that the alien Slithergees have all but taken over, using humans are seeing-eye dogs and servants, and even edging human traditions, history and beliefs out of the humans’ own teachings by way of claiming rampant anti-Slithergee discrimination. Two terrorists, Stewart and Reed, are out to restore the balance and put the humans in charge again, and when they discover that the Doctor and Mel are time travelers, they force the TARDIS crew at gunpoint to take them back in time to change history. But the history they bring about is one where the Slithergees were refused permission to settle in the Puxatornee system, resulting in a war that left the planet permanently contaminated. Stewart and Reed are killed, and the Doctor makes a hasty exit, worried about encountering his and Mel’s counterparts from the divergent timeline that has been created. Just then, the “other” Doctor and Melanie arrive on the doomed planet Puxatornee, where two soldiers, Stewart and Reed, wish to change history so the human-Slithergee war never fatally polluted Puxatornee. When they discover that the Doctor and Mel are time travelers, they force the TARDIS crew at gunpoint to take them back in time to prevent these events. But the history they bring about is one where the Slithergees were granted permission to settle and slowly took over. Stewart and Reed are killed, and the Doctor makes a hasty exit, worried about encountering his and Mel’s counterparts from the divergent timeline that has been created…

written by Jonathan Morris
directed by Gary Russell
music by David Darlington

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Bonnie Langford (Melanie), Richard Gibson (Mitchell(, Daniel Hogarth (Slithergee voices), Trevor Littledale (Potter), Francis Magee (Stewart), Trevor Martin (Professor Capra), Pamela Miles (Bailey), Audrey Schoellhammer (Reed)

Timeline: between Bang-Bang-A-Boom! and Dragonfire

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

He Jests At Scars…

Doctor Who Unbound: He Jests At Scars...During his trial, the Doctor struggles with the Valeyard and becomes trapped in the Matrix as Melanie watches in horror – and the other Time Lords, including a newly elected Lord President, watch with distant interest and no desire to interfere. Mel insists on trying to rescue the Doctor, but finds no interest from the Time Lords, who plan to watch the unfurling of the Doctor’s history with detached curiosity should the Valeyard win. And indeed the Valeyard does win, but he doesn’t limit himself to the Matrix – and he doesn’t stop with killing the Doctor. The Valeyard interferes with time and destroys Gallifrey itself, and even goes back and kills the fourth Doctor en route to Logopolis. That act begins to unravel the Valeyard’s own history, however – and in trying to go back and restore his past timeline as the Doctor, he may destroy the web of time itself.

Order this CDwritten by Gary Russell
directed by Gary Russell
music by Jim Mortimore

Cast: Michael Jayston (The Valeyard), Bonnie Langford (Mel), Anthony Keetch (Vansell), Juliet Warner (Ellie Martin), Tim Preece (The President), Jane MacFarlane (Nula), Mark Donovan (Gerrof)

Timeline: during/after part 14 of The Trial Of A Time Lord

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

The Juggernauts

Doctor Who: The JuggernautsAn attack on a space cruiser they’re visiting forces the Doctor and Melanie to evacuate by any means necessary. Mel manages to make her way to an escape pod, which takes her to a research colony on the planet Lethe. The Doctor and the TARDIS, however, are captured by the Daleks, who offer to send the Doctor to Lethe too…so long as he reports back on what their creator, Davros, is doing there. When the Doctor arrives, he finds that Davros has managed to conceal his appearance and is calling himself Professor Vaso – and worse yet, he has unearthed specimens of one of the Daleks’ worst enemies, the Mechonoids. Davros has quietly set up self-replication facilities for the Mechonoids, aware of their potential for battling the Daleks, claiming that he hopes to atone for his past by ridding the universe of his creations. But even with this claim of a noble mission, the Doctor sees Davros up to his old tricks, leaving a trail of death in his wake. But when the Doctor fulfills his end of the bargain and alerts the Daleks, who still want to capture Davros and try him for crimes against them, things only get worse, with an entire colony of innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire of a new Dalek-Mechonoid war.

Order this CDwritten by Scott Alan Woodard
directed by Gary Russell
music by Steve Foxon

Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Bonnie Langford (Melanie), Terry Molloy (Davros), Bindya Solanki (Sonali), Klaus White (Geoff), Peter Forbe (Kryson), Paul Grunert (Brauer), Julia Houghton (Loewen), Nicholas Briggs (Dalek and Mechonoid voices)

Timeline: after The Trial Of A Time Lord and before Catch-1782

Notes: The Doctor mentions Evelyn in the past tense here. If one follows the generally accepted view from the novels that the Doctor dropped Melanie – a future companion he hadn’t met yet – off in her own post-seventh-Doctor timeline after The Trial Of A Time Lord, only to encounter her and begin their travels together at a later date, it’s reasonable to assume that the stories with Evelyn Smythe take place in the interim.

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Catch-1782

Doctor Who: Catch-1782The Doctor and Melanie arrive at the National Foundation for Scientific Research just prior to a public ceremony marking the Foundation’s 100th anniversary. Mel’s eccentric uncle, John Hallam, is not just a member of the Foundation but actually lives on the grounds. During the ceremony, involving the burial of a time capsule, it is discovered that something else has already been buried there. When the Doctor and Hallam examine the object, it causes an explosion in another one of the Foundation’s laboratories – one where a rather bored Melanie is reading through Hallam’s records of their family history. Melanie is missing when the Doctor and Hallam try to come to her aid, and the Doctor strongly suspects that the mysterious object has catapulted her back in time. He also thinks that her time journey may have been directed by her thoughts at the time, so the TARDIS homes in on the sprawling Hallam estate in 1782. That leaves only a few rather significant problems: in Melanie’s timeline, six months have passed since her arrival, and in that time, she has been heavily drugged by a family doctor who feels that her ramblings about being from the future are a sign of dementia. Worse yet, with no sign of rescue from that future, Mel has started to believe that she is who her ancestor, Henry Hallam, tells her she is: his future wife, and therefore her own ancestor.

Order this CDwritten by Alison Lawson
directed by Gary Russell
music by Russell Stone

Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Bonnie Langford (Melanie), Derek Benfield (John Hallam), Keith Drinkel (Henry Hallam), Jillie Meers (Mrs. McGregor), Michael Chance (Dr. Wallace), Ian Fairbairn (Professor David Munro), Rhiannon Meades (Rachel)

Timeline: after The Juggernauts and before Time And The Rani

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Unregenerate!

Doctor Who: Unregenerate!Mel is alarmed when the TARDIS materializes without the Doctor at the controls. After leaving her on Earth briefly to take care of unspecified business, he has vanished without a trace, leaving her a holographic message in the TARDIS instructing her to follow his trail to the Klyst Institute, a grim-looking mental hospital. Rather than risk trying to fly the TARDIS herself, Mel enlists the reluctant help of a rough-and-tumble cabbie who helps her as she breaks into the Institute. There, she finds the Doctor – but his mind is gone, and he speaks in almost nonsensical phrases. Mel and her new friend try to escape with the Doctor, but they find that the Institute is no longer on Earth, having transported itself to an asteroid in an instant. The Institute also seems to be bigger inside than out, and other aliens (and humans) have been captured for horrific mind-transfer experiments. Are Time Lords operating in secret on Earth? And if so, are they renegades like the Doctor…or something darker interference in human history going on with the Time Lords’ full knowledge?

Order this CDwritten by David A. McIntee
directed by John Ainsworth
music by Ian Potter

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Bonnie Langford (Mel), Jennie Linden (Professor Klyst), Hugh Hemmings (Johannes Rausch), Gail Clayton (Rigan), Jamie Sandford (Louis), John Aston (Louis #2), Sean Peter Jackson (Shokhra), Toby Longworth (The Cabbie)

Timeline: between Time And The Rani and Paradise Towers

Notes: “Lindos” is mentioned here, despite being a term never heard in the original television series. It was a hormone vital to the regeneration process first mentioned in Eric Saward’s novelization of The Twin Dilemma. Jennie Linden’s last appearance in a Doctor Who story was in 1965, when she co-starred as a very different version of Barbara in the Peter Cushing film Doctor Who And The Daleks.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

Thicker Than Water

Doctor Who: Thicker Than WaterCurious about the Doctor’s frequent mentions of how traveling with Evelyn Smythe calmed him down, Melanie talks him into paying her a visit. Three years after the invasion of Vilag, Evelyn – who left the Doctor’s company some time ago – is now married to Rossiter, who heads up the new global government. But all is not well even in the wake of the invasion of which the Doctor and Evelyn tried to warn everyone on their earlier visit; the leftover alien technology has become a subject of intense controversy, with Evelyn heading up an effort to have it studied and exploited for the benefits it could bring. The most vocal opponent of this viewpoint is Rossiter’s daughter, Sophia, who leads a faction that wants the alien technology destroyed. But mere moments after the Doctor and Melanie appear at a ceremony marking the anniversary of the attack, it appears that some of Sophia’s opponents are more prepared to take action than others. When the first shots ring out, the Doctor and Evelyn both think it’s an attempt on Rossiter’s life, but when the Doctor rushes to help Rossiter, Evelyn and Melanie are kidnapped. The Doctor and Rossiter set out to track them down and rescue them, and find that the Doctor’s companions, past and present, aren’t the only ones who need help.

Order this CDwritten by Paul Sutton
directed by Edward Salt
music by ERS

Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Maggie Stables (Evelyn), Bonnie Langford (Melanie), Gabriel Woolf (Principal Triumvir Rossiter), Rachel Pickup (Dr. Sofia Rossiter), Patrick Romer (Dr. Andrew Szabo), Simon Watts (Dr. Sebastian Lawrence), Matt Dineen (Jenner), James Parsons (TV Interviewer), Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor)

Timeline: for the Doctor and Mel, after Catch-1782 and before Time And The Rani; for Evelyn, after Arrangements For War and before A Death In The Family

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green Read More

Red

Doctor Who: RedThe Doctor follows a psychic attack on the TARDIS’ telepathic circuits to a living city called the Needle, but the moment that he and Melanie step out of the TARDIS, they realize that their problems are just beginning – they stumble onto the scene of a grisly murder. The two time travelers are separated, Melanie barely surviving being ejected from the city’s walls, and the Doctor is brought before Chief Blue and the Needle’s central computer, White Noise. White Noise’s function involves the careful control of both the Needle and its residents, via chips implanted in their brains which allow the computer to prevent violent impulses from becoming violent actions. Rescued by a resident of the undercity beneath the Needle – people whose chips have been deactivated and whose crave the exciting sensation of violence with little thought given to its consequences – Melanie finds that she’s quite a sensation, as her rescuers believe she’s capable of anything, even extreme acts of violence…and her insistence that she isn’t likely to do any such thing seems to fall on deaf ears. White Noise is rapidly losing control of the Needle’s even more docile populace, with murders continuing to occur…only now, via his chip implant, the Doctor can see, hear and feel the thoughts and actions of the killers as they go into “red condition.” But with White Noise attempting to control him, is the Doctor capable of fighting whatever evil is stalking the city at random?

Order this CDwritten by Stewart Sheargold
directed by Gary Russell
music by ERS

Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Bonnie Langford (Mel), Denise Hoey (Nuane), Sean Oliver (Chief Blue), Peter Rae (Draun), Kellie Ryan (Celia Fortunaté), Sandi Toksvig (Vi Yulquen), John Stahl (Whitenoise), Steven Wickham (Uviol)

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

The Wrong Doctors

Doctor Who: The Wrong DoctorsAfter: Prematurely introduced to Melanie during the course of his trial, the Doctor returns her to Pease Pottage. He hasn’t met her or begun his travels with her yet, and keeping her around is begging for a paradox to be created.

Before: The Doctor has parted ways with Evelyn Smythe, and resigns himself to the future that he already knows is coming: traveling with Melanie toward the end of his sixth incarnation. He sets the TARDIS on a course for Pease Pottage, and meets Mel right on schedule. But there’s one than one Mel there at the same time, and it’s not because the TARDIS has come to the right place at the wrong time. Someone else is tinkering with time, and it will take two Doctors and two Melanies to stop them.

Order this CDwritten by Matt Fitton
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by Simon Robinson

Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Bonnie Langford (Mel), Tony Gardner (Stapleton Petherbridge), James Joyce (Jedediah Thurwell), Patricia Leventon (Mrs. Wilberforce), Beth Chalmers (Vaneesh), John Banks (Ksllak)

Notes: This story attempts to resolve one of Doctor Who’s longest-standing paradoxes: how the sixth Doctor, on trial, could present a future adventure with Melanie (whom he has yet to meet) as evidence, only to have a future Melanie brought to the trial by the Time Lords to testify, and then leave with her at the end of the story. Even the Target novelization of that story strongly implied that the Doctor drops Melanie off in her timeline and then goes about his business, not meeting her “properly” until later. Another chronicle of Melanie’s first meeting with the sixth Doctor – from her perspective – occurs in Gary Russell’s novel Business Unusual, which this story does not necessarily contradict.

Timeline: For the sixth Doctor and Melanie, after part 14 of Trial Of A Time Lord. For the sixth Doctor and Melanie, on the other hand, before part 9 of Trial Of A Time Lord.

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Spaceport Fear

Doctor WhoThe Doctor and Mel arrive at Spaceport Tantane, which appears at first to be abandoned. They quickly find that it’s anything but: the space station is now occupied by descendants of its original crew and passengers, now divided into tribes based on starliner seating classes. The Business and Economy tribes are locked in a barely-civilized conflict, but for the moment a common enemy has them distracted, a deadly beast lurking within the bowels of the station. Both tribes are led by the gentle guidance of Elder Bones, who claims to be over 400 years old; each tribe is oblivious to the fact that their leader is also their enemies’ leader. But of course, the new arrivals from the TARDIS provide a convenient new focus for everyone’s suspicions, and suddenly the Doctor and Mel are public enemies number one and two.

Order this CDwritten by William Gallagher
directed by Barnaby Edwards
music by Richard Fox & Lauren Yason

Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Bonnie Langford (Mel), Ronald Pickup (Elder Bones), Isabel Fay (Naysmith), Gwilym Lee (Pretty Swanson), Beth Chalmers (Galpan / Beauty Swanson), Adrian MacKinder (Rogers / Game Voice), John Banks (Wailers / Announcement / Mad Passenger)

Timeline: after The Vanity Box and before The Seeds Of War

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

The Seeds Of War

Doctor WhoThe Doctor promises to take Melanie to the grand opening of the opulent Tower of Kalsos, but while the TARDIS does bring the time travelers to the Tower, it arrives moments before the Tower’s demolition. As the last refuge of the noncorporeal entity known as the Eminence, the controller of a zombie-lark armiy of possessed victims known as the Infinite, the Tower is a strategic target of the Earth Alliance military, and the Doctor and Mel barely survive its destruction. Flown back into Earth space without the TARDIS, the time travelers witness what has become of humanity after its lengthy war with the infinite: with resources spread thin, the human civilian population is starving and barely surviving, descending into anarchy. As an alien, and one who records show has a connection to the Eminence and the Infinite, the Doctor is locked up as a suspicious entity, but he and Mel manage to escape and begin making their way to Earth aboard a civilian ship. But Earth Alliance intelligence is right about one thing: the Doctor was once possessed by the Eminence, and after coming into close proximity to it on Kalsos, he may be under its control again.

Order this CDwritten by Matt Fitton and Barnaby Edwards
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by Andy Hardwick

Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Bonnie Langford (Melanie Bush), Ray Fearon (Barlow Teveler), Ony Uhiara (Sisrella Tevier), Stuart Organ (Helgert Teveler), Lucy Russell (Trellak), John Banks (Elkinar), Beth Chalmers (Announcer), David Sibley (The Eminence)

Notes: This is not the Doctor’s first brush with the Eminence, though in release order it is; the Doctor’s first encounter with the Eminence occurs in the 2014 fourth Doctor story Destroy The Infinite, and the Eminence returns later in the Doctor’s timeline in the Dark Eyes 2 box set, also released in 2014. Professor Teveler name-checks a series of scientists, including Professor Lasky. Since he’s already met Lasky before, the Doctor encourages Teveler not to put much stock in her research.- it was almost the death of him (The Trial Of A Time Lord parts 9-12).

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

The Last Adventure: The Brink Of Death

Doctor WhoIn the blink of an eye, the familiar, curly-haired, colorfully-clothed form of the Doctor’s sixth incarnation vanishes, replaced by the gaunt face of the Valeyard. The TARDIS travels onward, and Mel notices nothing.

The Doctor finds himself trapped in the Matrix, the repository of all Time Lord knowledge, as a fading echo of his own consciousness – the fate of all Time Lords when they meet their final death. A young Time Lady, Genesta, has found him in the Matrix and is able to reinstate his corporeal form, but he has very little time until even that is erased. The Valeyard has found a way to do what he hoped to do at the Doctor’s trial: to eliminate the Doctor and his future incarnations, and take the Doctor’s place. The Doctor can prevent this from happening with the time he has left, but only at the cost of bringing about events that will cause his next regeneration.

Order this CDwritten by Nicholas Briggs
directed by Nicholas Briggs
music by Howard Carter

Cast: Colin Baker (The Doctor), Bonnie Langford (Melanie Bush), Michael Jayston (The Valeyard), Liz White (Genesta), Robbie Stevens (Coordinator Storin / Nathemus 1), Susan Earnshaw (Lorelas / Nathemus 2), Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor)

Notes: Past Big Finish adventures have shown the Valeyard to have a near-obsession with rewriting the Doctor’s past, including (also in The Last Adventure box set) Stage Fright and the Doctor Who Unbound story He Jests At Scars… Though billed as the sixth Doctor’s regeneration story for Big Finish’s purposes, there had already been two regeneration stories for the sixth Doctor in print, the BBC Books novel Spiral Scratch, and the posthumously-finished charity novel Time’s Champion, co-written by the late Craig Hinton. All three tell, naturally, completely different stories, and in any case, while this plants an endpoint for the sixth Doctor in the audio world, it’s certainly not an end to Colin Baker playing the Doctor for Big Finish.

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More