Audio Reviews

Big Finish: Doctor Who Main Range – Acquitaine

On board the Aquitaine life follows a familiar pattern for Hargreaves, the computer consciousness that runs the ship and most of its android staff.  Water the plants, run the diagnostics, cook the Captain’s breakfast; then tidy the plates away, rotate the ship, clean the windows of the observation deck. When at last the day’s work is done, Hargreaves will dim the lights in the sleeping quarters.  But no one will eat the meals. Or comment on the strange fauna growing in the halls.  And tonight, like every other night, no one will sleep on the Aquitaine.  The only greater mystery on this strange ship is why poor Hargreaves’s todo list keeps getting longer no matter how hard he works.

Aquitaine (more…)

Big Finish: The 4th Doctor Adventures – The Labyrinth of Buda Castle

The Doctor and Romana’s holiday in Budapest isn’t going quite to plan.  The historic city is great, but the vampires, vampire hunters and ongoing violent attacks don’t lend themselves to a relaxing city break.

The labyrinth of Buda Castle

Will they help Celia find Dracula?  What does the nearby labyrinth of caves hide?  And what is the dastardly scheme of the maniacal Zoltan Frid?

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Big Finish:The 4th Doctor Adventures – Wave of Destruction

Spies, DJs, modulated frequency wave cancellation signals: these are amongst the odder things awaiting the Doctor and Romana in 1960’s London. But perhaps the oddest is the cancellation signal’s inventor lying unconscious next to it…  so what links the Professor, a catchy radio jingle and the British Secret service?  Whatever it is, it’s connected to a risk far greater than they might have imagined, and a clandestine alien invasion. Can the Doctor defeat the Aliens? Can Romana survive a shopping trip? Can K-9 cope with his new job?

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Big Finish – Torchwood 1.6: More Than This

A second outing this season of BF-Torchwood for Gwen beckons, as she’s back in Cardiff (presumably) after the events of Forgotten Lives. Hope her diary is clear though as she’s in for a Manic Morning, not least of which involves arrangements relating to a new Hub. Forget The Committee, Torchwood must now face their greatest threat – a council planning department…BF TW 106 More Than This

Some of Torchwood‘s best TV episodes were when the story scaled right back to just a couple of characters, and More Than This fits right in as Planning Officer Roger Pugh (Richard Nichols) gets to experience first hand a particularly busy day in the life of Gwen Cooper. There will be speeding, decapifenestration (if that isn’t a word it ought to be!), art criticism and a choice of salad ingredient – but will the right health and safety forms be filled in correctly?

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Big Finish: Doctor Who Main Range – The Waters of Amsterdam

A trip to Amsterdam’s famous Rijkmuseum to see a new exhibition of Rembrandt van Rijn’s masterpieces surprises both the Doctor and Tegan with unexpected drawings of ‘Vessels of the Stars’ and old flames respectively.  Will the events of Tegan’s life during her year away from the Doctor prevent them from dealing with the strange creatures in the canals and the mysterious Countess?  Or Tegan’s life catching up with her  no mere coincidence?  Someone is playing a very long game and the world may never be the same again.

Big Finish Doctor Who Main Range 208 (more…)

Big Finish: Doctor Who Main Range – You are the Doctor

4 tales for the price of 1!

You Are the Doctor by John Dorney

The fate of the Doctor is in your hands as the Time Lord’s adventures have morphed into a choose-your-own-adventure encounter.  Chose wisely or choose death (again and again).

Big Finish Main Range 207 (more…)

Big Finish – Torchwood 1.5: Uncanny Valley

Jack’s back! John Barrowman returns to the first series of BF Torchwood in this month’s Uncanny Valley, and expectations are high. We’ve circled Wales and Turkey and taken in the space of a few years, but with Jack back things must be coming to a – ahem – head, right?

BF TW 105 Uncanny Valley

Well, yes and no – in more than one sense. For in this penultimate episode, Jack is investigating an individual, uber-wealthy CEO Neil Redmond (Steven Cree) who has recently been returning to public life after a terrifying accident. But is his level of recovery surprising considering his injuries? While he speaks in St Petersburg, who is Jack watching in his secluded castle near Cardiff? And will we finally start to get answers about The Committee?

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Doctor Who Novel Adaptations 8 – All Consuming Fire

Now, I am famously not a fan of the crossover. I find having characters from multiple different fictional universes interacting in each others’ spaces achieves little more than breaking two fourth walls at once, if I may stretch that metaphor beyond what is fashionable numerically.

Similarly, I’ve said long and often how much I dislike the part-performed, part-narrated sort of audio play that Big Finish typically puts out in its First and Second Doctor ranges. In this case, it’s the jerk of tense-change that breaks the fourth wall for me, pulling me right out of the story.

So it came as something of a surprise that the eighth outing in Big Finish’s Doctor Who Novel Adaptations range – Guy Adam’s part-performed, part-narrated adaptation of Andy Lane’s Who/Holmes crossover All Consuming Fire, with up to three of its fourth walls missing – is so very, very, very bloody good indeed.

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I think partly this works because the (part-)narration style is absolutely correct for one of its canons. Since the original Holmes  stories were narrated by Watson, having Watson do the same here feels perfectly fine; and the addition of a few other voices to the task of narration similarly doesn’t seem at all out of place.

The meeting of two canons, my other bugbear, is also a (surprisingly) effective thing. The mercurial Seventh Doctor is perfect in Holmes’s world, confounding the latter with an equal intellect but far more humour throughout, as is his wont, in a manner that leaves the Great Detective utterly baffled. (more…)

Big Finish – Torchwood 1.4: One Rule

After last month’s trek 5 years beyond Miracle Day, it’s back in time for One Rule and a pre-Battle of Canary Wharf Yvonne Hartman.

BF TW 104 One Rule

Director of Torchwood One in London, we last saw Yvonne in the Army of GhostsDoomsday two-parter, (if you’re not familiar, now’s a good time to check out the two episodes… done? Yes, it is a striking resemblance between Martha and her cousin!) so she’s possibly not be the most expected choice of episode star for this series. It’s also the first time that Yvonne has appeared in a story under the Torchwood banner, so does One Rule manage to keep consistent quality with the previous stories?

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The Sigmund Freud Files

The Sigmund Freud Files

It may be hard to believe sometimes, but there was a time when there were people even more divisive than Steven Moffat – and one of the most divisive in the past century has been Sigmund Freud.The oft-quoted “father of psychoanalysis”, the frequent focus on sexual history in his theories have fallen out of favour (though they give good joke material) but many aspects of the methodology of analysis and therapy remain.

Now, The Sigmund Freud Files gives a new aspect to the Professor – how would he have dealt with personal involvement in cases of crime? Big Finish bring us Bastei’s new English-language adaptations of the successful German series from 2011 – but do they stack up or end up as a Freudian slip?

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