For what I plan to be my last review for this blog, I thought it would make an interesting change of pace to review a book about audio. This is the first volume of a new guide by Richard Dinnick … Continue reading
Where did the time go? It seems amazing, even impossible, to contemplate but even excluding the Companion Chronicles, the four series of Eighth Doctor and Lucie Miller adventures, the Dalek Empire and Gallifrey spin-offs, this is the 150th monthly release … Continue reading
Pulling Faces by Helen Goldwyn is the second in the new Drama Showcase series from Big Finish. These hour-long audio plays feature actors and production personnel familiar from some of the company’s other ranges but are outside of their usual genre boundaries – these are more like BBC 4 Afternoon Plays, only with stronger language and better production values.
It follows on from Katy Manning’s Not A Well Woman and like that production it also began as a one-woman stage show and takes as its subject someone who, with marriages behind them and grown up children no longer to support, looks back on their lives analysing its highs and lows – all on the eve of undergoing surgery. But whereas Manning’s self-penned work was a virtuoso solo piece, this has been turned by Goldwyn, director Nigel Fairs and star Louise Jameson into a full cast comedy drama. Jameson plays Joanne Taylor, a media celeb who once hosted a TV makeover show but who, many years later, is now working on radio being considered by the powers that be to look too old to front a TV show. Continue reading
Follow that carp!
This two-part, two-disc play by Nev Fountain just might be the best release yet from Big Finish in their Companion Chronicles range of speaking books. By their very nature they privilege narration and narrative point of view as they are Doctor Who adventures told from the perspective of his friends and associates. We are allowed therefore not only a variant perspective on the Time Lord through his several incarnations but also of those around him. What makes this release stand out is the way that it has fully embraced these aspects of the format and then tried to extend them to their limits (and perhaps beyond). Continue reading
“Squirt for your lives”
And so we come to the conclusion of the Sixth Doctor-Evelyn-Brewster trilogy. Following on from the contemporary London of The Crimes of Thomas Brewster and the outer space future of The Feast of Axos, we now find ourselves in the past – mid 19th century Lancashire to be exact. And right from the start we arrive ‘in media res’ in a busy plot that includes luddites, labour agitators, proto-suffragette and interstellar eco warriors, sentient machines and something nasty in the cellar – all elements ably combined in this lightweight but always entertaining audio adventure from Big Finish. Continue reading
If you want something doing, don’t leave it to your former selves to sort out.
At the end of the previous adventure for Evelyn and the Sixth Doctor, The Crimes of Thomas Brewster, the eponymous neer-do-well carjacked the TARDIS at gunpoint and insisted that he be taken back to his own time (one can just see the humiliating headlines on the front page of the Gallifreyan Times). The Doctor rejects this out of hand – and not just because he hasn’t been asked nicely (though the gun isn’t actually loaded) but in fear of what Thomas could do with all his advanced knowledge if sent back to Victorian England. Before the Doctor can decide what to do the trio are taken off course when a vessel from Earth’s future punches a whole into the time loop in which the organic gestalt entity Axos has been imprisoned for the last 100 years. Continue reading
The audio rendition of Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor may well be the great success story of Big Finish. Initially portrayed on screen as irascible and curmudgeonly, Baker has subsequently said that he intended for the role to develop slowly over several seasons. Unfortunately for him, the show hit an all-time low in its popularity within the BBC under the management of Michael Grade – and it has to be said, his stories on screen were also not very well received either. From his first full season, Vengence on Varos and Revelation of the Daleks are the ones usually singled out for praise (and rightly so), with Mark of the Rani by the dreaded Pip and Jane Baker coming in a distant third. His second and final season was the ill-fated Trial of a Time Lord cycle, which despite several good ideas (including an imaginative chase through the Matrix and a standout departure for the doctor’s companion Peri in which she is shaved, de-brained and then violently dispatched by Brian Blessed – well, until Lynda Bellingham takes it all back again in the closing seconds) is let down by tatty design and an unwieldy concept that could have suited perhaps a six-part serial at best. And then Baker was unceremoniously fired.
The Big Finish audios have done something truly inspired and inspiring – rescuing one of the least-loved and, it has to be said, most unlucky of TV Doctor Whos, and making him perhaps the most well-rounded of all the Time Lord audio incarnations. Continue reading
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The Sixth Doctor (the redoubtable Colin Baker) seems officially to have become the Big Finish village bike – first Charley Pollard, hitherto companion to Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor, was paired off with him for an excellent run of stories that saw the self-styled Edwardian adventuress given an exciting and surprisingly hard SF exit; and now Thomas Brewster, the Victorian mudlark and artful dodger wannabe who previously created havoc for Peter Davison’s Fifth Time Lord in a brief run of audio releases in 2008 (The Haunting of Thomas Brewster, The Boy That Time Forgot and Time Reef) has now also joined Baker for a new trilogy. Continue reading