Big Finish: The Tenth Doctor Adventures, vol 2

KYLE BARGHOUT: This was one boxset I really wasn’t looking forward to.

NIC FORD: Good start…


KB: As much as I love Big Finish’s output and the tweaks they have made to other parts of the Doctor Who range to improve it, anything New Who was always going to be unwelcoming for me. The RTD era was one of the weakest series of the shows entire history in my opinion. It set a trend of smugness and an air of self satisfaction that I feel has only grown under Moffat. It sacrificed plot and logical story telling for dramatic yet nonsensical, emotional scenes. Worse, the 40 minute format utterly ruined any chance of detailed character development.

NF: Well, Kyle and I have famously always disagreed here. For me, Who post-2005 has been an absolutely triumph, building on a brand of story telling that was always strong and refashioning it for a modern audience. As with every wannabe Who writer, I’d change almost everything if given the chance, of course; but that’s more testament to how inspiring I’ve found the modern show than criticism of it. And for me, Russell Tiberius Davies is the master crafstman of TV drama. (more…)

Big Finish DW4D6.04 The Skin of the Sleek

The planet Funderell is an unusual place. With oceans you can walk on and a single village for the entire planet, it’s not your run of the mill alien world. The locals, Wavewalkers who hunt on the semi solid oceans, seem simple but have unexpected depths – but that’s not the only surprise in store for the Doctor and Romana. After the TARDIS is lost beneath the waves, help appears from that most unexpected of sources, a fellow Time Lord: and not just any fellow Time Lord, but an old friend of Romana’s. But why is she here and what is she looking for? On this planet of secrets beware exploring too deeply: you may just drown!

It’s an interesting tale, this one. It starts feeling like a fishing tale from a few hundred years go and then swerves into a deep mystery with a lot of players; each with their own agenda. Every twist and change of gear managed to very effectively ratchet up my interest. While at first thinking this felt a lot like a historical, the story threw in a lot of interesting sci fi ideas; a lot of mysteries and some twists and made me double take. It all leads up to a nice cliff hanger that makes you long for the next part.

Tom Baker and Lalla Ward are on fine form and it’s a solid cast. Joannah Tincey is especially good as Romana’s long time friend from the academy and their verbal sparring (with each being cordial but keeping a lot back) is a joy to listen to and it’s nice to see it’s so central to the story.

While all two-parters need the second part to fully judge I’m looking forward to seeing how this one plays out.

Written By: Marc Platt
Directed By: Ken Bentley


Tom Baker (The Doctor), Lalla Ward (Romana), Joannah Tincey (Sartia), Alan Cox(Eamonn Orensky), Kieran Hodgson (Klick Chervain), Des McAleer (Blujaw Skaldson), Alex Wyndham (Linnis Skaldson), Jamie Newall (Greygul), Jane Slavin(Frithra), John Banks (The Sleek)

Other parts played by members of the cast.

Producer David Richardson
Script Editor John Dorney
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

Big Finish DWMR228: The Blood Furnace

The Merseyside docs are famous for the ships they’ve built – but the Doctor, Mel and Ace are about to discover the newly reopened yards are not building the kind of ship you might expect. A mysterious customer, a no questions asked (or at least answered) approach from the new owner and a near magical Dark Alloy building material are going to ensure the latest vessel launched from these docks is like nothing else on Earth. The workers pour their blood, sweat and tears into their work. But this time the blood is going to be much more literal.


I do like the team of up the 7th Doctor, Ace and Mel. It’s a good dynamic and all three of them bring an energy and enthusiasm to the roles that makes the ears perk up and takes the story up a notch. While it’s a fun story, with an 80s Who vibe, it’s more a romp than complex mystery. But that’s not a bad thing and the tale isn’t without a job lot of nice twists and, for 80s Who, some very gruesome moments.
The aliens have a nice twist that fits well with the 7th Doctors period enemies: while very different, their mystical elements fit in well with Fenric or the Destroyer, given the villains’ mix of magic and technology.
The plot point of Mel meeting up with an old friend never really gets developed, and that’s perhaps one minor regret from this tale. That felt like it could lead to something more and while Todd Heppenstall interacts well with Bonnie Langford it did seem there should have been a bit more to that plot. Some of the story’s other parts make up for this though, with the spies, portals to other worlds and sacrificial nature of the craft the docks adding some interesting elements.
If you like the 7th Doctor stories then this is a solid and enjoyable tale.

Written By: Eddie Robson
Directed By: Ken Bentley


Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Bonnie Langford (Mel Bush), Julie Graham (Carolyn), Jade Anouka (Danuta), Todd Heppenstall (Stuart Dale), Clare Calbraith (Orla), Louis Tamone (Vinny), Ignatius Anthony (Lee).

Other parts played by members of the cast.

Producer David Richardson
Script Editor Alan Barnes
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

It’s not so grim up north?



The BBC will deliver an early Christmas present to the North of England this December with free screenings of its most eagerly-awaited festive TV shows.

Doctor out for a stroll

Fans of Doctor Who will be able to see the annual Christmas special before anyone else. This year’s episode will feature Peter Capaldi as the Doctor for the last time.


The Essential Doctor Who: Time Travel

Essential DW Time Travel front cover
The Doctor has always challenged the linear conception of time. Since his television voyage began in
1963, the TARDIS has travelled backwards, forwards and even sideways through the mysterious
The latest issue of The Essential Doctor Who traces the development of these time-bending narratives, describing the rules that were laid down – and subsequently revised – by the series’ writers and producers. (more…)

Big Finish Short Trips: The Ingenious Gentleman Adric of Alzarius

If you’ve never listened to any of Big Finish’s Short Trips range, let me advise you to do so. Yes, it’s a series of prose stories rather than full-cast theatrical recordings; but that makes for a very different style of story-telling that is perhaps more slowly paced, and more reflective of the characters’ mores and motivations than full-cast theatrics would allow, and as such well worth a punt or two.

If you’ve never heard a Short Trip written by Julian Richards, I’d advise you to get that changed asap too. His writing is subtle and engaging, and his characterisation pretty-much spot-on. Rarely a dull moment.

And if you’ve never listened to a Julian Richards story narrated by Mathew Waterhouse, Adric off of TV’s the Fifth Doctor Years, then… well, you can see where I’m going with this. Cos TL;DR… he really is very, very good.


Julian Richards’s The Ingenious Gentleman Adric of Alzarius is the second Waterhouse-narrated Short Trip (the previous being the excellent A Full Life, released… has it really been that long? …over a year ago, now) and it proves wholeheartedly that the combination of Waterhouse and narrated prose is meant to be. (more…)

Big Finish Eighth Doctor: The Time War vol 1

At last! The heretofore Whoniversal asymptote that is the Time War has at proper last been reached by Classic Doctors. Yes, Big Finish’s latest Eighth Doctor box set is The Time War I, the first in a series of sets situated within the temporal reaches of the Time War (as opposed to just outside them, as with all Classic Doctor stories up to now).

And a very fine set it is too, with support from Jaqueline Pearce’s marvellous Cardinal Ollistra, two (possibly four) new companions, and scripts from the now ubiquitous manic typing fingers of Messrs Fitton and Dorney, whose metaphorical scriveny inflatable arm bands and day-glo swimming trunks are virtually never out of the BF writing pool.


The set opens with John Dorney’s The Starship of Theseus, which sees the Doctor and companion Sheena (Olivia Vinall) arrive on the luxury space-liner Theseus, only to find shenanigans afoot. Why are passengers disappearing? What waits under the space bridge? And above all, who the hell is Emma? (more…)

Shoulda finished Shada? Well now they have!

BBC Worldwide to release completed 1970s Doctor Who story for the first time ever

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Tom Baker returns as the Fourth Doctor in a previously unbroadcast story, combining original live-action footage with hand-drawn animation. To be released on DVD, Bluray and digital download.


Red Dwarf, Series 12, Episode 1: Cured

It seems rather amazing that a show I first watched nearly 30 years ago is still going.   More amazing still is that despite the age it’s still very much the show it was; despite some very shaky seasons it’s recovered its heart and soul.  It’s unlikely to ever hit the heights of the show at its prime but last season was a lot of fun and this first episode of S12 looks like more of the same.

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Cured feels a little like a homage to some past episodes. It’s not the most original of setups with a research base and an excuse of humanoid characters for the crew to engage with. But the idea is nicely played out and the historical cameos allow some nice set pieces.  Layered onto this light entertainment is a more nuanced subtext about the nature of evil; a bit deeper than most episodes involving the boys from the dwarf.

Possibly the best thing about the episode is a strong Cat episode; with Danny John Jules being allow to steal the show; many, many times.  Anyone who’s ever thought cats were evil will not be surprised by some of the twists in this episode but no matter what your feelings are about feline friends these will make you laugh.



BigFinish: The Third Doctor Box Set vol 3

With a third box set, and the second to comprise entirely full-cast adventures, the Third Doctor, bless his little bouf, is back with us again. As before, Tim Treloar presents his on-the-button interpretation of Jon Pertwee’s eponymous Third Doc, ably assisted by Katy Manning’s Jo Grant, in a duo of stories set late in Ms Grant’s run.


First up is Nick Briggs’s The Conquest of Far, which is less a sequel to and more a direct continuation of TV’s Planet of the Daleks. The planet of Far is home to one of humanity’s greatest feats of spatial engineering – but it has been invaded by the Daleks, and is now a mere chess piece in a deadly intergalactic game. Can the Doctor save Far from complete oblivion?

Andrew Smith’s The Storm of the Horofax completes the set. A mysterious alien, apparently peaceful but with the ability to see the future, has made contact with the crew of Royal Navy destroyer. But who are the Horofax, and what are their true designs for the peoples of Earth?


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