Big Finish: UNIT – Assembled

Summer is always a good time for a blockbuster – if the promise of warmth comes good then it is a great way to relax, and if rain should encroach then it provides entertainment as respite.

Now it’s time for Big Finish to join the party, with another bombastic entry for Kate Stewart and Osgood taking aim at the holidays in UNIT: Assembled. For the fourth boxset featuring the latest UNIT lineup, Big Finish goes all the way back the 70s (or was it the 80s?) and a Silurian menace threatening humankind.

BF UNIT Assembled

Good job they’ve got some old friends to call up – but the Silurians aren’t on their own either…

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Bafflegab: The Scarifyers – The Gnomes of Death

It is a beautiful but rare thing, the thud of a new Scarifyers audio on the metaphorical doormat – but we live in miraculous times, for such a thud has just been heard. Yes, for the first time since 2014’s The King of Winter, Messrs Crow and Dunning of MI13 are back in The Gnomes of Death. This time the pair are having to deal with the mysterious appearance of depeditated corpses (that’s having had their feet cut off), followed by Morris dancing, the odd Indian god or two and copious amounts of real ale. Just another weekend in 1930s Britain, then.

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Although the culprits are telegraphed a little before the story has even begun – not least by the title and cover illustration – as with all Scarifyers stories it’s really the rollercoaster of the narrative, rather than the abrupt halt of the denouement, that’s the joy of the thing. And a veritable rollercoaster it is, too: in the grand tradition of scripts from writers Simon Barnard and Paul Morris, it’s a mix of adventure and comedy that never compromises the one for the other, but simultaneously seems to go overboard in providing each. Achieving that balance is quite the feat, and I only wish I could do it myself. (I can. Please pay me. You know you want to.) (more…)

Former Brand Manager In Big Star Snub

In a remarkable series of ever hostile tweets, Edward Russell, Senior Brand Executive (formerly Brand Manager) of Doctor Who, took to social media tonight to belittle the very stars who queue up to star in the hit BBC One television series, all for the sake of gaining column inches.

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The Day of the Master

Next week is the start of the two part  series 10 finale, which sees Missy (Michelle Gomez) and the Master (John Simm) together for the first time. The pair are seen either side of the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) as they put their own chilling spin on the iconic poster image that previously accompanied Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor.  Will Missy stay good? Is it an act? Just who is the Master wanting to kill? (taking love yourself a bit too far?)

Day of the Master

Simm will return to Doctor Who as the Master for the first time since New Year’s Day 2010, when he was responsible for the regeneration of the Tenth Doctor. This time the Master will come face-to-face with Missy, his later regeneration, and battle the Doctor during the series’ two part finale which begins next weekend.

The episodes will also feature the return of the Cybermen – including the original Mondasian Cybermen, for the first time in over 50 years – plus Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie) and Nardole (Matt Lucas) in an epic adventure that will change Doctor Who forever.

Give me a M!

Doctor Who’s series finale begins with episode 11, World Enough and Time, at 6:45pm on Saturday 24 June on BBC One. It concludes on Saturday 1 July with episode 12, The Doctor Falls – an extended, 60 minute episode.

Big Finish: Torchwood 15 – Corpse Day

Once a year, Torchwood Cardiff does a different kind of public service – it helps the local police with long-idle cold cases.

Naturally, PC Andy jumps for this opportunity to follow in Gwen’s footsteps, though she isn’t to be his liaison – for what better member of Torchwood for Corpse Day than the currently-rather-dead Owen?

BF TW 15 Corpse Day

Together, Andy and Owen investigate a trend of missing girls, and soon end up far deeper than they expected. It’s not just The Rift that spirits people away, and sometimes humans can be more vicious and disturbing than anything beyond this planet…

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Is Doctor Who moving day?

Since the series came back in 2005 the one constant, for regular episodes, has been a prime time slot on Saturdays.  While the time of  year and the time of day have jumped about frequently each season has sat proudly in the Saturday schedules.  But could this end next year?

What puzzles await?

A source close to production has told us that Series 11 will air on Sundays.  When asked if this was in response to the drop in ratings no answer either way was forthcoming.

Will the Bells of St John now be ringing after Songs of Praise?  Or will the BBC hold it’s nerve and keep Doctor Who as a flagship Saturday TV special?

We may have S11 for sure, but will when we get it turn out to be more of a surprise than the contents of the vault?

Big Finish Fourth Doctor 6.04: Dethras

Adrian Poynton’s Dethras is an interesting addition to the Fourth Doctor range. Its plot is something of a staple of Who – and I won’t go into much more detail for fear of giving too much away – but Poynton’s execution is full of, well, the bonkers. And I do love a nice bit of bonkers in my Who.

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Bonkers, you ask? Well, yes. A WWII (or thereabouts) submarine that’s literally out of this world leads quickly to a talking chimp and marauding space cockroaches (well, that was my take) – and things don’t get all that much saner from thereon in. But the mark of a well-written play is in the resultant insanity’s consistency, and it has to be said that Poynton’s story really does continue to hang together. The bonkersness is only a backdrop to an exploration of things that, well, it has to be said have been well explored before in Who, but are none the worse for being explored again. A complete bastard who has a reason for being so. A guilty party who feels the guilt 110%. A talking chimp.

Nick Briggs directs, Lalla Ward and Tom Baker star, Jamie Robertson does the sound design and music, and David Banks goes “eek” a fair bit. And they all do it with the customary aplomb. It’s pretty-much flawless, and – apart from the lack of K9, who really should be contractually obliged to be in every Big Finish production (whether Tom Baker’s there or not) – it’s a great addition to the range. More from Poynton soon, please.

 

Dethras is available from Big Finish

Written By: Adrian Poynton
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs

Tom Baker (The Doctor), Lalla Ward (Romana), Alistair Petrie (John), Shelia Ruskin (Flague), Josh Bolt (Philip), Brian Vernel (Robert), John Banks (Franklin), Jane Slavin (Xankari/ Teacher).

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

Big Finish Main Range 224: Alien Heart/Dalek Soul

Occasionally, the Big Finish Main Range monthly release is a little different. A four-parter of some ilk, perhaps including work from writers new to the range. Or, as in this month’s release, a two-parter. Alien Heart and Dalek Soul.

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And I have to say, it’s not a bad idea. It allows a story – two stories, in fact – to be told at a somewhat sharper pace than most of the monthly releases. Less padding, more action. Now, that will only work if the stories in question benefit from that pace – and, to be fair, many wouldn’t. Or at least, many of the main range work well spread over four episodes. But for the two here, I would say that the decisions to keep them to two episodes each were decisions well made.

Although not necessarily well made for the same reasons… (more…)

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