Hornets’ Nest Part 1: The Stuff Of Nightmares

Doctor Who and the Stuff Of NightmaresChristmas, 2009: retired UNIT Captain Mike Yates spots a classified ad seeking a retired Army captain with experience in dealing with alien threats. With an uneasy feeling that the ad was written specifically to catch his attention, Mike responds, visiting an isolated country cottage called the Nest. Here he finds a stern housekeeper, Mrs. Wibbsey, and the Doctor. The house is filled to the brim with examples of the art of taxidermy, but Mike is startled to learn that the dead animals return to life at night, ready to kill. Demanding an explanation from the Doctor, he learns that some force has reanimated the creatures to use them as pawns for a sinister plan. The Doctor, at great personal risk, has isolated all of the dead creatures in his cottage, using the TARDIS’ dimensional stabilizer to surround the house with a force field and using his own psychic abilities to keep the undead animals docile. But this has also trapped the mind behind the evil plan – a hive-mind swarm of alien hornets – near the house with him. And now Yates is trapped there as well…

Order this CDwritten by Paul Magrs
directed by Kate Thomas
music by Simon Power

Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Richard Franklin (Mike Yates), Susan Jameson (Mrs. Wibbsey), Daniel Hill (Percy Noggins)

Notes: Early plans for the Hornets’ Nest stories apparently called for the team of the fourth Doctor and the retired Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, a part that Nicholas Courtney had reprised just a year prior to this story’s release in The Sarah Jane Adventures and in a short bonus featurette, “Liberty Hall”, filmed for the 2009 DVD release of Mawdryn Undead. Before production began, however, Courtney suffered a mild stroke in early 2009, and though he made a recovery, he was unavailable to reprise the role of the Brigadier for either Hornets’ Nest or for Sarah Jane Adventures (in which there were plans for him to become a recurring guest character). He died in February 2011.

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Hornets’ Nest Part 2: The Dead Shoes

Doctor Who and the Dead ShoesThe Doctor tells Mike Yates that his encounter with possessed taxidermist Percy Noggins wasn’t his final encounter with the Noggins family tree; after some investigation, the Doctor discovered that Noggins’ grandmother, dancer Ernestina Stott, has herself suffered unusual effects after being stung by a hornet in 1932. Traveling to meet her in the TARDIS, the Doctor witnesses Ernestina’s unusual behavior, including the smash-and-grab theft of a mysterious pair of ballet slippers in broad daylight and an astounding one-woman presentation of The Nutcracker ballet, wearing the aforementioned slippers. But it soon becomes apparent that the slippers are another means for the alien hornets to possess a human host. The Doctor confronts the hornets again in his attempt to free Ernestina from their grasp, and discovers that he and the hornets are moving in opposite directions through time… something which may work to the Doctor’s advantage when the hornets reveal something that he will do in the future.

Order this CDwritten by Paul Magrs
directed by Kate Thomas
music by Simon Power

Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Richard Franklin (Mike Yates), Susan Jameson (Mrs. Wibbsey), Clare Corbett (Ernestina), Christian Rodska (Reverend Small)

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Hornets’ Nest Part 4: A Sting In The Tale

Doctor Who: A Sting In The TaleMike Yates listens on as the Doctor tells him about his next encounter with the swarm of alien hornets, at an abbey in the middle ages. The nuns of the abbey tell the Doctor that they welcomed a new Mother Superior only a few months ago, at roughly the same time that wild wolves began to besiege their abbey. Despite the nuns’ protectiveness of their new leader, the Doctor demands an audience with her, confident that she is the current host of the hornets. He’s stunned to find that she’s not even human, but a hornet-infested pig. The hornets leave their host and infest one of the wolves, which then pursues the Doctor and gains entry to the TARDIS. The hornets now have their prize: with the Time Lord under their control, that can set into motion the events that he has been trying to prevent since his first encounter with them. His story told in full, the Doctor prepares to fight the hornets one last time, and Mike Yates wonders if it’s a fight they can both survive.

Order this CDwritten by Paul Magrs
directed by Kate Thomas
music by Simon Power

Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Richard Franklin (Mike Yates), Clare Corbett (Nun), Rula Lenska (The Swarm), Susan Jameson (Mrs. Wibbsey)

Notes: The Doctor reminisces about some of the enemies he has defeated in the past, from the Nestenes and Axons of the Jon Pertwee era to the Kraals, the Mandragora Helix and Sutekh from Baker’s era in the role on TV. But a curious addition to that list is Vogons – quite clearly pronounced differently from Revenge Of The Cybermen‘s Vogans. Has the Doctor hitchhiked through the galaxy with Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect? The story also includes scenes set in Venice – a venue visited by writer Paul Magrs in a Big Finish Doctor Who adventure starring Paul McGann, The Stones Of Venice.

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Hornets’ Nest Part 5: Hive Of Horror

Doctor Who and the Hive of HorrorWith a war-weary Mike Yates and nervous housemaid Mrs. Wibbsey in tow, the Doctor takes the fight to his nemesis, using the TARDIS’ dimensional stabilizer to reduce himself to the size of the hornets and confront them on their own turf. They quickly win an audience with the Queen of the alien hornets, and the Doctor resists her will, but she finds an more receptive ear in Yates, preying upon the same fears that led him astray at the end of his career with UNIT. The Doctor and Mrs. Wibbsey are locked up while the Queen continues trying to persuade Yates to join her, and the Doctor uses this time to hatch a scheme for thwarting the hornets’ invasion of Earth… assuming that Yates is still on his side.

Order this CDwritten by Paul Magrs
directed by Kate Thomas
music by Simon Power

Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Richard Franklin (Mike Yates), Susan Jameson (Mrs. Wibbsey), Rula Lenska (The Queen)

Notes: Hive Of Horror follows up on the events of two Pertwee-era stories, Invasion Of The Dinosaurs (which depicted Yates turning against the Brigadier and UNIT) and Planet Of The Spiders (which showed Yates’ attempts to redeem himself through meditation after being discharged from the military). Again, there is a mention that Yates has met the fourth Doctor before, clearly taking place after Planet Of The Spiders, which concluded with the third Doctor regenerating into the fourth. Like The End Of Time and Death In Blackpool, the two-part TV story and the Big Finish audio, respectively, released at roughly the same time, Hive Of Horror takes place at Christmas. With all of this yuletide drama, one wonders why the Doctor doesn’t just skip straight to the new year…

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Demon Quest Part 1: The Relics Of Time

Doctor Who: The Relics Of TimeThe Doctor returns to Nest Cottage for a break from his travels, but when he’s ready to set off into time and space once more, he’s horrified to discover that his housekeeper, Mrs. Wibbsey, has sold a component of the TARDIS at a local charity sale. And there’s another mystery: a photograph of a first-century tile mosaic clearly depicting the Doctor’s face. Free to travel in time but relatively fixed in space because of the missing spatial geometer, the Doctor and Mrs. Wibbsey travel back to the first century where they are mistaken for Druids with supernatural powers – and during an attempt to pass herself off as a seer, Mrs. Wibbsey says some unusual things about a wizard with a demonic pet. Under threat of their own deaths, the Doctor and Mrs. Wibbsey are sent to slay the wizard and his beast. Instead, they find a strangely genial Roman Emperor from the wrong period of history who knows far more about the future than he should.

Order this CDwritten by Paul Magrs
directed by Kate Thomas
music by Simon Power

Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Susan Jameson (Mrs. Wibbsey), Nigel Anthony (Claudius), Kate Sachs (Female Warrior), Rupert Holliday Evans (Male Warrior), Richard Franklin (Mike Yates)

Timeline: after Hive Of Horror and before The Demon Of Paris, and probably still before The Ribos Operation

Notes: Nest Cottage, in the village of Hexford, seems to be the fourth Doctor’s retreat from his time travels, but since his third incarnation, the Doctor has also maintained a (usually unoccupied) residence on Allen Road in Kent, a story development that gave the Doctor a base of operations in several pieces of ’90s Doctor Who novels and comics.

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Demon Quest Part 2: The Demon Of Paris

Doctor WhoThe Doctor and Mrs. Wibbsey travel to 19th century Paris in search of the other missing pieces of the TARDIS’ spatial geometer. The time travelers quickly learn that they’ve arrived during a series of grisly murders, and the word on the street is that artist Toulouse-Latrec is the killer. Not believing that one of history’s greatest artists has blood on his hands, the Doctor tries to find the real killer, unaware that he is being deliberately led astray. Mrs. Wibbsey, on the other hand, becomes Toulouse-Latrec’s new model – a new career choice that puts her in mortal danger, for the being that she and the Doctor have been pursuing is nearby, and it plans to make her the latest in a long line of its victims as it paints the streets of Paris red with human blood.

Order this CDwritten by Paul Magrs
directed by Kate Thomas
music by Simon Power

Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Susan Jameson (Mrs. Wibbsey), Finty Williams (La Charlotte), Rupert Holliday Evans (Artist), Mark Meadows (Henri de Toulouse-Latrec), Rowena Cooper (La Concierge), Richard Franklin (Mike Yates)

Timeline: after The Relics Of Time and before A Shard Of Ice, and probably still before The Ribos Operation

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Demon Quest Part 3: A Shard Of Ice

Doctor WhoThe Doctor and Mike Yates land the TARDIS on an icy, snowy, dead-man’s-curve pass, blocking the way of Albert Tiermann, hand-picked storyteller of the King. But Tiermann is troubled – he’s running short on inspiration and the punishment for failing to amuse the royalty with a new story is death. The Doctor tries to bolster Tiermann’s confidence, brandishing a volume of stories that he has yet to write to prove the storyteller’s future success. Tiermann becomes obsessed with this relic of the future: it could be a shortcut to his survival and prosperity. When a demonic presence arrives to stalk the Doctor yet again, Tiermann’s obsession with the Doctor’s book of his stories leaves him dangerously vulnerable to persuasion: if he does the demon’s bidding, he may be able to claim his prize.

Order this CDwritten by Paul Magrs
directed by Kate Thomas
music by Simon Power

Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Richard Franklin (Mike Yates), Samuel West (Albert Tiermann), Carole Boyd (Frau Herz), Jan Francis (Ice Queen), Tom Lawrence (Hans), Susan Jameson (Mrs. Wibbsey)

Timeline: after The Demon Of Paris and before Starfall, and probably still before The Ribos Operation

Notes: The Doctor asks Mike if he was present for UNIT’s battles with the Yeti (The Web Of Fear); Mike responds that he hasn’t met them yet, “at least… not yeti…”

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Demon Quest Part 4: Starfall

Doctor WhoThe TARDIS brings the Doctor, Mrs. Wibbsey and Mike Yates to New York City in the bicentennial summer of 1976, where they encounter a young couple: a man worrying about his girlfriend, who touched a recently-fallen meteorite. When the young woman regains consciousness, she has something that can only be described as super powers, though this development irritates her employer, a past-her-prime movie star who needs help organizing her memoirs. As “Miss Starfall”‘s powers increase, a cult dressed like the Doctor – floppy hats, scarves and all – begin to exert their own influence, apparently using the final missing piece of the spatial geometer from the Doctor’s TARDIS as their sacred totem. The Demon that the Doctor has been chasing through time shows its hand at last – but only just before it claims a hostage from the TARDIS and escapes through time again.

Order this CDwritten by Paul Magrs
directed by Kate Thomas
music by Simon Power

Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Susan Jameson (Mrs. Wibbsey), Richard Franklin (Mike Yates), Trevor White (Buddy), Laurel Lefkow (Alice), Lorelei King (Mimsy Loyne), Rupert Holliday Evans (Cop), John Chancer (Cultist)

Timeline: after A Shard Of Ice and before Sepulchre, and probably still before The Ribos Operation

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Demon Quest Part 5: Sepulchre

Doctor WhoThe Doctor and Mike Yates follow the Demon back to its home planet in an attempt to rescue the kidnapped Mrs. Wibbsey. Once there, they discover in whose stead the Demon has been acting all along: the alien swarm of hornets that the Doctor defeated a year ago has rebuilt itself, and wants its queen freed. To find where the Doctor stranded the Queen, the hornets – through the Demon and the possessed Mrs. Wibbsey – have created a sepulchre, loaded with neural interfaces, into which the Doctor will be placed to create an Atlas of All Time from his memories. Since he is considered helpless, Mike Yates is left unguarded, but how can he save both of his friends and defeat what seems to be an enemy who has anticipated every move?

Order this CDwritten by Paul Magrs
directed by Kate Thomas
music by Simon Power

Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Susan Jameson (Mrs. Wibbsey), Richard Franklin (Mike Yates), Nigel Anthony (The Host), Carole Boyd (The Old Friend)

Timeline: after Starfall and moments before Tsar Wars; prior to The Ribos Operation

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Serpent Crest Part 1: Tsar Wars

Doctor WhoThe Doctor and Mrs. Wibbsey are abducted from Nest Cottage by robots and transported via wormhole to another world. Stuck without the TARDIS, the Doctor and Mrs. Wibbsey are surrounded by robots who outwardly resemble humans, the remnants of the Robotov Empire. They want the Doctor’s help with their future leader, a cyborg child named Alexander. There’s other intrigue as well: the robots are former slaves of a human colony whose leader fancies himself the descendant of Russian Tsars, and worse yet, he’s convinced that the Doctor is a rebel leader named Father Gregory. One of the robots whisks Mrs. Wibbsey away through another wormhole to meet Father Gregory personally (and he is, indeed, the spitting image of the Doctor, give or take a beard). When the Doctor learns that Father Gregory has made a deal with an immensely dangerous race known as the Skishtari, and has an egg containing the gene banks of the Skishtari, he decides to solve two problems at once: Alexander and his ward, Boolin, will be sent back to Earth to take shelter in Nest Cottage, where the Skishtari egg can also be placed in statis and prevented from hatching. Of course, this entire plan hinges on the Robotovs’ wormholes being more accurate than the TARDIS…

Order this CDwritten by Paul Magrs
directed by Kate Thomas
music by Simon Power

Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Susan Jameson (Mrs. Wibbsey), Michael Jayston (The Tsar), Suzy Aitchison (The Tsarina), Simon Shepherd (Boolin), Sam Hoare (Lucius), Paul Chequer (Servo Robot), Grant Gillespie (Servo Robot), Gabriel Vick (Servo Robot)

Notes: Guest star Michael Jayston appears in a role unrelated to his infamous recurring Doctor Who character, the Valeyard (from the 1986 Trial Of A Time Lord season). Sam Hoare went on to appear as Doctor Who floor manager (and future director) Douglas Camfield in the 2013 docudrama An Adventure In Space And Time. The Doctor says he appeared in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.

Timeline: moments after Sepulchre and before The Broken Crown; prior to The Ribos Operation

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Serpent Crest Part 2: The Broken Crown

Doctor WhoThe Doctor and Mrs. Wibbsey, with the Skishtari egg in hand, escape back to Earth through a wormhole, and they arrive in the village of Hexford… over a century early. Nest Cottage, and the Doctor’s equipment there, do not exist. Worse yet, Alexander, Booln and the egg have vanished without a trace. Something is causing the residents of 19th century Hexford to vanish, and naturally the newly arrived time travelers quickly rise to the top of the list of suspected causes for the disappearances. When she meets Mr. Bewley and his young charge, a boy named Andrew who never takes off his mask, Mrs. Wibbsey realizes that both Boolin and Alexander did arrive, and their memories of their true identities have been lost as a result of crashing down to Earth. Worse yet, “Andrew” is harnessing the power of the Skishtari egg to bring his imagination to life, often for unsavory reasons. Has the Robotov Empire’s future ruler developed a murderously cruel streak in exile?

Order this CDwritten by Paul Magrs
directed by Kate Thomas
music by Simon Power

Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Susan Jameson (Mrs. Wibbsey), Terrence Hardiman (Reverend Dobbs), Joanna David (Mrs. Audley), Guy Harvey (Andrew), Simon Shepherd (Mr. Bewley), Charlie Mitchell (Jake), Elinor Coleman (Sally), Geoff Leesley (Harold), Su Douglas (The Cook)

Notes: Guest star Michael Jayston appears in a role unrelated to his infamous recurring Doctor Who character, the Valeyard (from the 1986 Trial Of A Time Lord season). Sam Hoare went on to appear as Doctor Who floor manager (and future director) Douglas Camfield in the 2013 docudrama An Adventure In Space And Time. The Doctor says he appeared in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.

Timeline: moments after Sepulchre and before The Broken Crown; prior to The Ribos Operation

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Serpent Crest Part 3: Aladdin Time

Doctor WhoThe Doctor and Mrs. Wibbsey find themselves locked into a room with vast amounts of treasure, and not nearly enough air to breathe – a tomb fit for a king. A young boy, who identifies himself as Aladdin, manages to find a way into the room and leads his two new friends out of the tomb to safety. The Doctor and Mrs. Wibbsey know “Aladdin” as Alexander, heir to the throne of the Robotov Empire, but the Doctor thinks it best not to reveal the boy’s true identity to him. As the time travelers follow their guide through an increasingly improbable series of adventures, including an encounter with a serpentine creature which is actually his scarf, the Doctor realizes that this isn’t reality, but is instead the illusory world inside the Skishtari egg. He sets about trying to deconstruct that illusion, but he must ensure that he, Alexander and Mrs. Wibbsey can escape it before it collapses.

Order this CDwritten by Paul Magrs
directed by Kate Thomas
music by Simon Power

Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Susan Jameson (Mrs. Wibbsey), Guy Harvey (Aladdin), Sophie Ward (Storyteller), Terrence Hardiman (Gryphon), Andrew Sachs (Scarf), Simon Shepherd (Magician), Su Douglas (Toad)

Timeline: after The Broken Crown and before The Hexford Invasion; prior to The Ribos Operation

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Serpent Crest Part 4: The Hexford Invasion

Doctor WhoMrs. Wibbsey has returned to her relatively humdrum life caring for Nest Cottage and its grounds, and it has been months since the Doctor left in the TARDIS to return Alexander and Boolin to their home planet to fulfill their destinites. So it comes as something of a shock when Mike Yates – back in uniform – and UNIT come knocking on the door, insisting upon setting up shop at Nest Cottage. Mike says that the Doctor will explain everything, but the short, whimsical, recorder-playing man who shows up is as far from the Doctor as anyone Mrs. Wibbsey could imagine. Furthermore, she’s convinced that this new Doctor is up to no good, and is unable to convince anyone of this. But things change when an enormous alien spacecraft appears in the sky, and then the TARDIS materializes and “her” Doctor steps out of it. Unable to remember some of his second incarnation’s exploits, for once, the Doctor isn’t sure if his earlier self is on the side of right or not. But when the entire village of Hexford is ripped out of the ground and taken away from Earth, the Doctor realizes that he may have to fight his younger self to get it back.

Order this CDwritten by Paul Magrs
directed by Kate Thomas
music by Simon Power

Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Susan Jameson (Mrs. Wibbsey), David Troughton (The Visitor), Richard Franklin (Mike Yates), Cornelius Garrett (Reverend Tonge), Nerys Hughes (Deirdre), Joanna Tope (Tish)

Notes: David Troughton is one of the late Patrick Troughton’s sons, and has appeared in television Doctor Who before (The Curse Of Peladon, Midnight). The second Doctor makes references to the Yeti and the Great Intelligence (The Web Of Fear) and the Cybermen in the London sewer system (The Invasion).

Timeline: several months after Aladdin Time and before Survivors In Space; prior to The Ribos Operation

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More

Serpent Crest Part 5: Survivors In Space

Doctor WhoThe entire village of Hexford, buildings and all including Nest Cottage, has been ripped out of the Earth and transported to the rebel moon by a huge Skishtari spacecraft. For three months, Mike Yates has been struggling to keep the peace among the residents of Hexford as their food supply dwindles and they have to make do without electricity or any other artificial energy source. The second Doctor continues to make attempts to signal the outside universe for help – or so he says. The fourth Doctor and Mrs. Wibbsey arrive in the TARDIS, but the Doctor insists that it isn’t as simple as just taking the residents of Hexford back to Earth in his time machine. He wants to know what his younger self’s part is in these events, and he already has a hunch that it hasn’t been trying to send distress signals for months. But when robots converge on the dome protecting Hexford from an uninhabitable moon begin to take over the village, help will still have to come from outside, perhaps from a source whose life the Doctor has saved in the past.

Order this CDwritten by Paul Magrs
directed by Kate Thomas
music by Simon Power

Cast: Tom Baker (The Doctor), Susan Jameson (Mrs. Wibbsey), David Troughton (The Visitor), Richard Franklin (Mike Yates), Cornelius Garrett (Reverend Tonge), Nerys Hughes (Deirdre), Joanna Tope (Tish), Sam Hoare (Lucius), Paddy Wallace (The Tsar)

Notes: Mrs. Wibbsey says that months of adventures in the TARDIS occurred between the taking of Hexford and the Doctor’s arrival there (possibly leaving the door open to further fourth Doctor/Wibbsey adventures from either the BBC or perhaps Big Finish). The cover art gracing both this release and The Hexford Invasion is based on the visual style of British comic illustrator Frank Bellamy, whose dynamic illustrations graced Doctor Who listings in the Radio Times in the early 1970s and were later collected in the art book “Timeview: The Complete Doctor Who Illustrations Of Frank Bellamy”. This was the final AudioGo fourth Doctor adventure before Tom Baker’s first “season” of Big Finish adventures began early in 2012.

Timeline: after The Hexford Invasion and prior to The Ribos Operation

LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green Read More