Doctor Who – The Time Museum

‘The Time Museum’

DrWho_BF_TheTimeMuseumWritten by James Goss, directed by Lisa Bowerman
Released July, 2012

Ian Chesterton has been taken out of time and finds himself on a strange planet as a part of an exhibit devoted to time travelers. The one time companion of the Doctor, Ian’s life of adventure is in his distant past. A retired school teacher, he is confused to once more find himself in a dangerous situation where dangerous creatures hunt himself and the curator Pendolin.

As Ian recounts his series of thrilling times past to Pendolin, monsters are on their heels, devouring his memories and getting ever closer. Desperate to escape, Pendolin is trying to reach a time scoop to another time and place, but Ian’s heroic nature has been roused and he is determined to stand his ground and fight.

The Time Museum is a lovely celebratory adventure that takes the listener back through all of Ian’s stories both on screen and in audio format. It was so much fun to hear Ian recall both the TV serial The Crusades as well as the Big Finish gem The Rocketmen and a few of the missing stories, placing all of them into continuity.

Like many fans of Doctor Who, I first viewed the Tom Baker stories and only saw the Hartnell tales when the local PBS station decided to run the entire catalog from start to finish. I was immediately taken in by Ian and think of him as one of the greatest of companions. Both emotionally diverse and clever, Ian is also a damned brave hero who always makes the more difficult choice in any situation to retain his moral values.

On first listen I have to confess that I was disinterested in what felt like a string of callbacks and references to previous stories, but after giving it a closer listen I was touched by the sophistication of the script, even as it touched on the most controversial moment in Doctor Who’s long history (later payed homage to, in a way, in The Twin Dilemma) when the Doctor nearly killed a wounded cave man in order to make an easier retreat, unhindered by the task of supporting and protecting the native. Ian realizes that both he and Barbara had changed the Doctor just by being there to stop his hand and that was the first step into a rounding off of the time travelers rougher edges.

88 year-old actor William Russell is truly a monument to Doctor Who and we are lucky each time he rejoins the team for another foray. His imitation of Hartnell’s Doctor is hear-warming and also incredibly accurate, making it seem like old Billy was still with us!  The former star of The Adventures of Sir Lancelot brought so much dignity and presence to Doctor Who and continues to add that extra layer of nobility and class, perhaps hearkening back to a time when the TV program strove to overcome its many limitations and take viewers on a grand adventure through time and space.

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Doctor Who – U.N.I.T.: Dominion

U.N.I.T.: Dominion

drWho_BF_Unit_dominion_CoverWriten by Nicholas Briggs and Jason Arnopp, directed by Nicholas Briggs
Released October 2012

The Doctor and Raine receive a distress call from an alien world. They are also contacted by Ace in Gallifrey of some enormous danger. When the TARDIS lands, the Doctor meets a future incarnation of himself, a rather rude bald man who also insists that the Doctor not get involved in the distress call. The beings on the planet are dying, their life force drained away by a device that is sucking up their energy. In a fit of pique, the Doctor refuses to follow anyone’s advice and insists that he must stay true to his nature. Harnessing forbidden Time Lord dimensioneering knowledge, the Doctor reverses the node’s function and saves the lives of the aliens, but also creates a cataclysm of a higher order than he has ever known.

Meanwhile on contemporary Earth, Elizabeth Klein is operating as the scientific adviser to U.N.I.T. She is attempting to unravel the mystery surrounding an incursion of weird unidentifiable creatures only to find herself face to face with an old friend with a new face, The Other Doctor. Klein had encountered the Doctor several times before, in an alternate future where the Nazis won WWII and later when she used the alternate Eighth Doctor’s TARDIS to travel back to the past where she met the Seventh Doctor and Ace in Colditz castle.

A complicated fan favorite character, Elizabeth Klein went on to feature in an absolutely superb trilogy of stories with the Seventh Doctor. Klein was determined to bring about her world of the Third Reich at any cost, leading the Doctor to wipe her memory, giving her a chance at a new life. Uneasy about the situation, he visited her on several instances to make sure she did not revert to her previous nature. Unfortunately, the Doctor was not as subtle as he had thought in his visitations, leading to Klein developing a persecution complex over the ‘umbrella man.’

U.N.I.T. deals with the arrival of massive cherubic heads from another dimension with its usual show of force, leading to a massive misunderstanding until the Other Doctor takes control and uses mesmerism to calm the ‘skyheads’ into cooperation. In sharp contrast to this behavior, he also welcomes the slaughter of mind leeches that are similarly displaced from the other dimensions. Each arrival of other dimensional creatures proves more disastrous than the last yet the Other Doctor and Klein manage to stay on top of the situation. He seems eager to help, but The Other Doctor continually insists on the return of his TARDIS and access to the node that had opened the portal in the first place. He seems to have abilities far in advance to any version of the Doctor we have seen (or heard) previously and Klein has her doubts about his motives.

When the Seventh Doctor and Raine manage to crawl through an interdimensional tunnel into contemporary reality, they meet the Other Doctor once more, happily riding a skyhead as a cowboy would ride a horse. The two do not get on, but they must work together to defeat the several concurrent invasions of the Earth. Unfortunately, U.N.I.T. refuses to deal with the cause of the problem which would involve giving over access to the TARDIS to the Doctors and instead insists on handling the symptoms by combating the exiled creatures.


Briggs and Arnopp have crafted one of the most amazing audio adventures I have ever heard. The ideas are out of this world and addressed as truly alien rather than monstrous. Both Doctors realize that creatures may not be malevolent at all, but are more likely scared and confused. Nonetheless U.N.I.T. is true to form by reacting as one would to a pest in one’s house; with more force than is needed and out of sheer panic. The death and destruction heightens and soon the noose tightens around the Seventh Doctor’s neck as it becomes clear none of this would have happened if he had just listened to the council of himself and the Time Lords and left the situation alone.

The relationship between the Seventh Doctor and Klein is especially compelling here as the Doctor so deeply believes in her better nature yet is unwilling to trust her absolutely. The differences between him and this Other Doctor are also key to the story as they deal with their challenges in different ways that betray their true characters. Klein is in the middle about who she can trust, if either of them, while U.N.I.T. scrambles to understand and defend the planet from creatures that are so incredibly different that they defy the physical laws of accepted reality.

Sylvester McCoy squeezed this set in to his busy schedule filming the Hobbit and is in fine form. Set in the waning years of this incarnation, there are many concepts that are tied together, such as the timing of the Klein trilogy, the return of Raine and of course the placement of Ace on Gallifrey where she apparently is studying to be a Time Lord. I am quite taken with Beth Chalmers as the delectable Raine Creevey, the posh crook. I look forward to hearing more from her as this is likely the bridge to another set of Seventh Doctor/Raine adventures. Briggs and Arnopp deal with the large supporting cast masterfully and it never feels like it is detracting from the plot or action (a lesson the new series could learn from).

Dominion is like a year-long story crammed into four bumper-length audio CDs that are full of wild beings, tense drama and side-splitting comedy. The Other Doctor feels a bit forced at first, but I soon warmed to him and became enthralled by him by the end.


There is so much to love about U.N.I.T.: Dominion but personally I found Alex MacQueen to the real gem. His performance as ‘The Other Doctor’ is among one of the best guest appearances in Big Finish’ history. His effervescent personality is almost definitely a dig at the BBC Wales Doctor, a wonderfully bubbly eccentric with a steely determination to fight alien menaces. Raine calls him for what he is on the spot, brilliant but an arrogant ass. For almost the first three installments, the Seventh Doctor and Raine are stuck in a transdimensional tunnel, leaving the bulk of the action to The Other Doctor and Klein. Dealing with U.N.I.T. forces, the Doctor is eager to chastise the military for their ineptness, ‘Well done, Colonel Lafayette. Good job escalating the situation.’

It is difficult to discuss much of MacQueen’s performance without revealing a key plot element, but I will say that if the BBC Wales team does not run with this, they are incredibly foolish. I will say that even after having the revelation ‘ruined’ part way through, I was even more entertained by his performance and found it to outright iconic.


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Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Adventure from Big Finish

The longest running science fiction program on television, Doctor Who is possibly the most influential and ground-breaking series of its kind. Making advances in storytelling, electronic music and special effects on a budget best suited for a comic drama such as All in the Family or Party of Five, it forever changed what was possible with TV serial sci-fi. With stories set in the past, future, parallel dimensions and other worlds and realities, viewers watched the strange nameless adventurer known as the Doctor along with him triumph against any number of menaces that spat green goo from their rubber mouths.

Doctor Who_Frontios

The Doctor converses with the Gravis

Today, Doctor Who is still a cult series but it is enjoying an unparalleled popularity since its triumphant return in 2005.

But back in the day, it was this lot who pulled in the viewers and put down the paving stones that the BBC Wales Matt Smith series prances across (and knowingly so, if the inclusion of several references to the program’s past is any indication).

The initial cast from 'An Unearthly Child'

Doctor no. 1 (William Hartnell) with the initial cast from ‘An Unearthly Child’

Doctor No. 2 (Patrick Troughton) surrounded by monsters

Doctor no. 2 (Patrick Troughton) surrounded by monsters

Pertwee with monsters

Doctor no. 3 (Jon Pertwee) faces his foes in this publicity still

Doctor no. 4 (Tom Baker) with Daleks

Doctor no. 4 (Tom Baker) with Daleks


Doctor no. 5 (Peter Davison)

Colin Baker_Nicola Bryant_1984

Doctor no. 6 (Colin Baker) happily lifts companion Peri skyward (Nicola Bryant)


Doctor no. 7 (Sylvester McCoy) and Ace (Sophie Aldred)

Doctor no. 8 (Paul McGann)

Doctor no. 8 (Paul McGann)

Doctor Who has been adapted in comic strips, video games, table top role playing games, bathrobes and underwear (yes, underwear). The neat trick of Doctor Who was that it could appeal to adults and children alike as well as continuing past the loss of the lead actor by replacing him with someone entirely new. In that fashion, Doctor Who stayed fresh and new for decades to come.

While it achieved acclaim in the United Kingdom and abroad, it never really broke through in the Unites States to the same degree. In the late 1970’s, Doctor Who made its appearance in the US through public television affiliates. Fans grew accustomed to Tom Baker’s seven year stint as the duffle-coated time and space traveler but seemed reluctant to follow the series past his tenure when the lead actor was replaced several times over.

Lasting from 1963 straight through to 1989, Doctor Who was off the air for some time but found new life in another format, audio. Big Finish reunited the cast members of the classic series and introduced some new ones in exciting stories that delved into the rich legacy of Doctor Who while paving new ground with the eighth actor (there are some others you can shoe-horn in here such as the great Peter Cushing) to play the Doctor, Paul McGann. The audio series by Big Finish has taken the mantle of Doctor Who and fleshed out a wonderfully impressive realm of adventure, drama and sometimes comedy that brings an entirely new set if facets to the beloved program.

It is still unclear what the plans are for the anniversary year on TV, but for the 50th anniversary, Big Finish is pulling out all the stops. The crew at Big Finish is bringing Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann and several supporting actors and actresses for a celebratory extravaganza.

DrWho_LightattheEndIn November 2013, Big Finish will be releasing Doctor Who: The Light at the End, a very special 100-minute story to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who. Tom Baker (1974-81), Peter Davison (1982-84), Colin Baker (1984-86), Sylvester McCoy (1987-89) and Paul McGann (1996) will all reprise their roles as, respectively, the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors, whose paths suddenly intersect when they face imminent destruction.

“We wanted to do a proper, fully-fledged multi-Doctor story for this very special occasion,” says writer, director and executive producer Nicholas Briggs, “and it’s wonderful that all the surviving Doctors threw themselves behind the project so enthusiastically. That’s not to say the first three Doctors don’t appear – we wanted to pay homage to the whole history of the classic series.”

The Doctors will also be joined by a number of their regular companions: Louise Jameson reprises the role of the savage Leela, Sarah Sutton plays the scientist Nyssa, Nicola Bryant is American botany student Peri, Sophie Aldred is streetwise kid Ace and India Fisher returns as Edwardian adventurer Charley Pollard.

“And that’s not all,” says producer David Richardson, “because Geoffrey Beevers is back to create mayhem as the Master, and there will be a number of appearances from some much-cherished old friends from the TV series…”

Doctor Who: The Light at the End will be released in two different versions. A five-disc limited special edition comes with two hour-long documentaries, plus The Revenants, a Companion Chronicles tale which began life as a free Doctor Who Magazine download. It’s performed by William Russell, who starred in the very first TV story as Ian Chesterton. The special edition comes in beautiful special packaging, and will include a number of exclusive professionally photographed images of the cast.

The standard edition comprises two discs, featuring the two hour-long episodes of the story.

Doctor Who – Upcoming Big Finish Releases

The Fifth Doctor and Nyssa star in another exciting anthology adventure, the Fourth Doctor embarks on his second series of stories with Romana, the Sixth Doctor arrive at Pease Pottage (twice) to meet Mel for the first and last time, and the Seventh Doctor meets the alluring Vienna Salavatori in these forthcoming Big Finish audio releases!

To pre-order, please visit the official Big Finish site.

Companion Chronicles 7.05. RETURN OF THE ROCKET MEN (TBD November 2012)
A sequel to The Rocket Men.

Once before the Doctor battled the sadistic Rocket Men and once before he won. But when the dreaded pirates of the skies raid a remote frontier planet, he’s not the only member of the TARDIS crew for whom they are old enemies.

Steven Taylor knows them well. Back in his days as a pilot, on his twenty first birthday, Steven’s ship was brought down by the malevolent Van Cleef. He barely escaped with his life. And now he’s going to have to go through that again.

But this time round, he knows what happens. And he knows there’s no way out. Steven Taylor has to make a choice. A choice where either way… he loses.

Written By: Matt Fitton
Directed By: Lisa Bowerman


Peter Purves (Steven Taylor), Tim Treloar (Van Cleef)

167. THE SHADOW HEART (TBD November 2012)

One empire has fallen and another has taken its place. The race known as The Wrath are expanding into new territory. Only the Earth Empire stands in their way.

It’s been fifty years since the Doctor last visited this sector of space. And one man in particular has been awaiting his return. As the mistakes of his past come back to haunt him, and with a price on his head and bounty hunters on his tail, the Doctor is heading for a last reckoning.

The pieces are finally coming together. Somewhere deep within The Shadow Heart.

Written By: Jonathan Morris
Directed By: Ken Bentley


Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), James Wilby (Tenebris), Chase Masterson (Vienna Salavatori), Eve Karpf (Talbar), Alex Mallinson (Horval), John Banks (Captain Webster/Starbaff/Wrath Emperor), Jaimi Barbakoff (Lt Dervish)

Special Release 2. DOCTOR WHO: VOYAGE TO THE NEW WORLD (TBD December 2012)

Roanoke Island, 1590.

The TARDIS materializes in the past, and the Doctor’s companions, Professor Litefoot and Henry Gordon Jago, find themselves prisoners of the natives in the New World.

But there’s something something strange here – stranger than even the colonists, led by Englishman John White.

What are the ghostly children? And who is the Old Man of Croaton?

The travellers are about to discover the secret of the lost colony… and it may cost Jago’s life.
Written By: Matthew Sweet
Directed By: Ken Bentley


Colin Baker (The Doctor), Christopher Benjamin (Henry Gordon Jago), Trevor Baxter (Professor George Litefoot), Philip Pope (John White), Ramon Tikaram (Wanchese), Mark Lockyer (Sir Walter Raleigh), Emerald O’Hanrahan (Eleanor Dare)

Companion Chronicles 7.06. THE CHILD (TBD December 2012)

“Tell me another story, Leela. Not the one about the walking doll or the creepy mechanical men. A new one. I want to hear a new one…”

Leela is dead but her soul lives on. She has been reborn as a young girl, Emily, whose ‘imaginary friend’ tells her amazing tales about a great Wizard and the warrior who accompanies him on his adventures through time and space.

Emily prepares to tell her parents the story of a cold, grey world whose people are ruled over by a Glass Angel. The Wizard is her prisoner and only the warrior girl and her three peculiar friends can save him…

Written By: Nigel Fairs
Directed By: Nigel Fairs


Louise Jameson (Leela), Anna Hawkes (Emily)

168. 1001 NIGHTS (TBD January 2013)

A long time ago, two travelers came from far away…

In the perfumed palace of an omnipotent Sultan, a girl must tell stories to keep the man she cares about from a cruel and horrible death. She spins tales of distant lands she has visited with a mysterious traveler, of fabulous creatures and fantastic adventures – and of a blue box that can travel in time and space.

Meanwhile, in the dungeons below the throne room, there lurks a secret which will bring down the kingdom – perhaps even the universe.

Can the Doctor and Nyssa escape from this never-ending story before the final chapter spells their end?

Written By: Emma Beeby and Gordon Rennie, Jonathan Barnes, Catherine Harvey
Directed By: Barnaby Edwards


Peter Davison (The Doctor), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Alexander Siddig (Sultan), Nadim Sawalha (Old Man), Teddy Kempner (Nazar), Kim Ismay (Lottie/Woman Stallholder), Malcolm Tierney (Gantha/Warder), Debbie Leigh-Simmons (Elizabeth Spinnaker/Bessie/Crying Woman), Christopher Luscombe (Alien Psychiatrist/Balladeer), Oliver Coopersmith (Hill/Archie)

Companion Chronicles 7.07. THE FLAMES OF CADIZ (TBD January 2013)

The TARDIS materializes in Spain in the late sixteenth century. The country is at war with England – and the travellers find themselves on the wrong side of the battle lines.

When Ian and his new friend Esteban are captured by the Inquisition, the Doctor, Susan and Barbara plan to rescue them.

But these are dark days in human history. And heretics face certain death…

Written By: Marc Platt
Directed By: Lisa Bowerman


William Russell (Ian Chesterton), Carole Ann Ford (Susan), Nabil Elouahabi (Esteban)

169. THE WRONG DOCTORS (TBD January 2013)

With Evelyn gone, the Doctor sets course for his destiny… in the form of his first meeting with Miss Melanie Bush, a computer programmer from the village of Pease Pottage, currently busy rehearsing with the local Amateur Dramatic Society – and blissfully unaware that her future is on its way, in his TARDIS.

Make that two TARDISes. Because at that very moment, a slightly younger Doctor is flying into Pease Pottage, too – returning his future companion Melanie Bush to her rightful place and time, after they were flung together during the course of his Time Lord trial.

Time travel is a complicated business – the iguanadon terrorising Pease Pottage being a case in point. But how much more complicated could things possibly become, if the wrong Doctor were to bump into the wrong Mel?

Written By: Matt Fitton
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs


Colin Baker (The Doctor), Bonnie Langford (Mel), Tony Gardner (Stapleton Petherbridge), James Joyce (Jedediah Thurwell), Patricia Leventon (Mrs Wilberforce), Beth Chalmers (Vaneesh), John Banks (Ksllak)

Fourth Doctor Adventures 2.01. THE AUNTIE MATTER (TBD January 2013)

‘Well, old Reggie’s finally gone and done it now, hasn’t he?

It had all started so well. Finally found a filly worthy of taking to Basset Hall for the blasted Aunt’s approval, bright young charmer called Romana, then everything goes to pot. Now some Doctor cove’s running round the place waving a wand at everything and people are firing weapons at us. It’s all terribly uncivilised.

Looks like your hero’s goose might be a trifle on the cooked side. It’s all so dashed frightening. I wonder if it’ll be done for tea?’

Written By: Jonathan Morris
Directed By: Ken Bentley


Tom Baker (The Doctor), Mary Tamm (Romana), Julia McKenzie (Florence), Robert Portal (Reggie), Lucy Griffiths (Mabel), Alan Cox (Grenville), Jane Slavin (Ligeia)

2.02. THE SANDS OF LIFE (TBD February 2013)

Sheridan Moorkirk has just been elected president of Earth… but the harsh realities of who really runs the planet are just beginning to dawn on her. And what’s more, she’s starting to hear voices.

Meanwhile, the Doctor and Romana encounter a mass of aliens heading to Earth… Aliens who have already made the mistake of upsetting the infamous Cuthbert, all-powerful CEO of The Conglomerate, by destroying one of his space platforms.

Will the Doctor and Romana be able to avert inter-species war that will destroy all life on Earth?

Written By: Nicholas Briggs
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs


Tom Baker (The Doctor), Mary Tamm (Romana), John Leeson (K9), Hayley Atwell (President Moorkurk), David Warner (Cuthbert), Toby Hadoke (Mr Dorrick), Jane Slavin (The Laan), Duncan Wisbey (General Vincent)

Doctor Who – Wirrn Isle

‘Wirrn Isle’

Written by William Gallagher, directed by Nicholas Briggs
Released March 2012
Story 158

“I said it before, the human race is indomitable… it is also the first race to realize that if you boil a frog slowly enough it won’t realize until it is too late.”

In the far future, the planet Earth has survived an encounter with solar radiation, leaving it a desolate blasted heath. The population planned ahead by building a massive ark containing the population preserved in suspension. When they reclaimed their planet, they found that rebuilding their once great civilization was not the only challenge they faced. A threat from the cold depths of space threatens to defeat humanity in its bid for dominance over the nearly inhospitable planet. By frozen Loch Lomond, the Doctor and his companion Flip find a family daring the odds by establishing a house in what could be the most unwelcome place on the planet.

Cut off from the technological wonder that is Nerva City, the Buchman family is attempting to make the best of a bad situation as only a family can, awkwardly. Veronica is bitter and resentful, husband Roger is emotionally distant and secretive and young ‘Toasty’ seems oblivious to the danger. When they welcome the Doctor and Flip to a delightful meal of ‘forage porridge,’ the moods gets grim. Consisting solely of strange green material found on the surrounding ground, forage porridge is not food at all. The Doctor sadly informs them that it is actually Wirrn mucus.

Cue my stomach to seize.

The Doctor and Flip traveled via transmat, that miracle method of getting from point ‘a’ to ‘b’ instantaneously first seen in Brian Hayle’s Seeds of Death. But it has become faulty, with help only accessible across the frozen loch. Flip volunteers to pilot the astro-light formerly belonging to the long deceased Ion. This leaves the Doctor to unravel just what skeletons are rattling around in the Buchman family closet and how deadly it could be.

Call the Orkin guy! It’s Wirrn!

Wirrn Isle is a clever and emotionally engaging story that excels in adventure (Flip playing the brave heroine is a nice touch and given that this is her last story to date, I worried for her safety) and in creepy horror (settlers eating cooked mucus not gross enough? There’s plenty more including the twitching ‘branches’ that Flip spots peeking out from the ice). Both Gallagher and Briggs note that the real strength of this story is the characters who are so well supported by the cast. Without these compelling performances, the story would fall flat due to some dubious decisions.

I am a big fan of the Wirrn and am happy to see them return. Setting the story after the Tom Baker classic Ark in Space is a nice touch as is hearkening back to Sontaran Experiment with the garbled dialect of the astronauts echoes in Sheer Jawn (played by veteran actor and sometime Sontaran Dan Starkey). However, the plot moves from point A to B to C and then back to B and A… which is really odd. Flip flies to a transmat hub to make it to the city with the Doctor and Veronica following on foot. When she arrives at Nerva City, it mainly consists of three characters and some unconvincing background crowd noise. We are meant to believe that while the Buchman family are eating plates of snot and fighting giant insects that the rest of the human race are celebrating a hair-brained Olympics based on half-remembered facts. It was so poor that I waited for the reveal that Nerva City was abandoned and the human race was still in suspension, but no.

The Doctor, Veronica, Roger and Toasty make a last stand in the cabin while Ion attempts to raid the place several times via the transmat with varying results. Despite a strong start, Flip spends much of the second half of Wirrn Isle trying to get back in the action.

In the behind the scenes material Baker notes that he thought the script was hard to follow due to the constant transmatting from place to place. But the real problem is that the characters keep jumping back to where they started, making Nerva City seem barely believable.

The real star for this story, as always, is Colin Baker. He has a knack for making the most absurd and incomprehensible plot sound acceptable. In this instance, he has some intense material to deal with and a great guest cast including the excellent Lisa Greenwood as Flip who has made a big impact on the listening fans of the Big Finish series. I have long held the opinion that the Sixth incarnation of the Doctor is the most brilliant and this story definitely supports that. The Doctor’s rewiring of the transmat system is ingenious and achieved with relatively few resources. Add to this the Doctor’s strong moral ground as he tries to explain that simple xenophobia is not reason enough to kill another living creature and you have one of the best characterizations ever. I know, I stand in a countable minority, but Six is one of the greats.

But the Doctor is not alone! He has Flip Jackson, the youngest companion to date (unless you count the comic strips). The Doctor has had his hands full in the past trying to keep his companions out of trouble, but Flip flat out welcomes it. We finally see this plot idea of Flip’s daredevil persona come to a head here, prompting the Doctor to finally accept that his travels are not just exciting jaunts through time and space but continual taunts with death that cannot go on forever.

The Wirrn and the future Earth are both used to great affect in this story, I just wish that it had more places to go than back to where it started. Even so, I do recommend it for the horror and adventure.

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Doctor Who and The Masters of Luxor

Lost Stories – The Masters of Luxor

Written by Anthony Coburn (adapted by Nigel Robinson), directed by Lisa Bowerman
Story 3.07
Released August 2012

A dark and silent planet. A magnificent crystal edifice, perched on a mountainside. A legion of dormant robots, waiting for the signal to bring them back to life. The Doctor and his granddaughter Susan, and their reluctant companions, Ian and Barbara, are about to unleash forces which will threaten their very survival.

The story that should have followed An Unearthly Child, The Masters of Luxor (sometimes called The Robots), is a breathtaking epic tale that would have taken the program in an entirely different direction. The script was written by Anthony Coburn who also penned An Unearthly Child and went through a few changes during production- this was back when the story that later became Planet of the Giants was to be the premier adventure- such as a change in setting from a future Earth to an alien planet. There are many ‘lost stories’ in the long history of Doctor Who, but this is the first and for that reason alone the most important.

Keep in mind that because The Masters of Luxor was dropped, The Daleks went into production in its place.

It’s difficult to remember that back in the day Doctor Who was the pinnacle of science fiction and fantasy on TV. The Masters of Luxor takes the concept of technologically creating a perfect race as well as telling a spiritually-infused statement and an exciting adventure. In adapting the story for a modern audience, the excellent Nigel Robinson toned down some of the Judeo-Christian references and in its place is a strong connection between father and son, albeit an artificial one.

The initial Doctor Who cast from ‘An Unearthly Child’

The Doctor and his friends are pulled out of transit to a strange planet. Hovering over a bizarre and beautiful crystalline structure, all of the travelers sense a strong feeling of dread. Once inside, they find the benign setting of a dinner banquet left out for guests. Robotic servants populate the building with rudimentary communication skills. Lording over them is a creature only referred to as ‘The Perfect One,’ a being that is only fueled by the presence of human beings.

A perfect robot built by robots based on the dreams of their creator, the Perfect One is of course insane. The planet Luxor has been sending shipments of criminals to be used for experimentation in furthering the perfection of the Perfect One. The Doctor and his friends become entangled in a mad quest for the power to create an ideal form of life… with the threat of nuclear annihilation as the alternative. To avoid any reprisals, the Perfect One is directly linked to a nuclear bomb in the bowels of the building. If he is interfered with in any way, it will explode, taking the entire facility with him.

Outside of the citadel, the Doctor and Ian find that the Perfect One’s creator Tabon in a form of suspended animation. Using his skills as a philosopher and scientist, the Doctor wrangles with Tabon to reconcile with his offspring The Perfect One and prevent devastation.

In bringing this story to life, William Russell takes on the voices of both Ian Chesterton and the Doctor with Carole Ann Ford playing the parts of Susan and Barbara Wright. Voicing all of the robots (called Derivatrons), the Perfect One and Tabon is Joseph Kloska who takes the challenge with incredible aplomb. The story is so very moving and impressive, making one wonder how different Doctor Who would have been had The Masters of Luxor gone into production in place of The Daleks. There are some similarities between the two tales, but in some ways The Masters of Luxor has more heart and intelligence. Of course the downside is that the pacing is very slow and I can guess that the robots would have been far from impressive on screen, so perhaps it is best that it remains unseen.

Even so, it is exciting to revisit a time when Doctor Who was so madly inventive and far-reaching.

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Doctor Who presents Jago & Litefoot in ‘The Mahogany Murders’

‘The Mahogany Murders’

Written by Andy Lane, directed by Lisa Bowerman
Companion Chronicles Story 3.11
Released May 2009

“Professor Litefoot, have you ever trod the boards?… Then please leave the acting to the professionals.”

There are strange goings on in Victorian London. Travelers from the other realms plot secretly using arcane technology, creatures lurk in the darkness and villains lure the innocent into demonic traps. Standing against these terrifying threats is the unlikely duo Jago and Litefoot. Based on the characters Theatrical Impresario Henry Gordon Jago and Pathology Professor George Litefoot from the classic TV adventure, the Mahogany Murders is renowned for starting a fan favorite audio spinoff running into its fifth season!

The first Jago & Litefoot adventure (aside from the Andy Lane-penned story in 1991) is a real corker and, like Talons of Weng Chiang, uses the Victorian setting to the utmost. The story is told in flashback sequences shared by Jago and Litefoot over a few pints at the Red Lion. Their barmaid (voiced by Lisa Bowerman) interjects here and there but mainly the entire tale is unfolded descriptive dialog which is where Lane’s writing joins the acting talents of Benjamin and Baxter, causing the adventure to soar.

Coming out of retirement to reprise their distinctive roles, Benjamin and Baxter take off as if nary a day had passed since they last collaborated on TV. Not only is their chemistry still present, but the two chaps are so full of energy that its catching. Hearing the alliteration of Jago and the weary tone of Litefoot makes for a delightful experience. Robert Holmes, a writer regarded among fans for his double acts of distinctive characters outdid himself with these two and Lane thankfully pays homage to the great Holmes in his script.

Henry Gordon Jago (Christopher Benjamin) and Professor George Litefoot (Trevor Baxter) in The Talons of Weng Chiang

The mystery begins when a body dragged up from the Thames proves to be made of wood, glass and leather rather than flesh and bone. Between the two of them, Jago and Litefoot uncover a plot involves an unruly gang of mannequins ruled over by the mysterious Dr. Tulp. There are so many incredibly distinctive and descriptive moments such as the texture of the simulacra, all brought to life by a remarkable combination of script and the vocal performances. A light touch is added when Litefoot attempts to add a bit of flair to his storytelling by speaking in an accent and he is cut short by Jago, who politely requests that he stick to his day job.

I was overjoyed to see teenage fans of the new series giving the Jago and Litefoot stories props. It’s nice to know that this material is reaching a wide range of listeners and not just crusty fans of the classics like myself.

A truly amazing work, ‘The Mahogany Murders’ can be ordered from The Book Depository with free shipping worldwide by clicking on the link below:

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Doctor Who – Big Finish 2012 Fall and Winter release schedule


Written By: Mike Maddox and Alan Barnes
Director: Ken Bentley

The TARDIS travellers arrive in a bizarre landscape seemingly immune to the physical laws governing the rest of the universe. Ace, Hex and their motley army of allies battle to rescue the Doctor from the trap he’s walked into… soon realising that the odds are stacked against them.

But the gods and monsters who inhabit this strange realm loaded the dice against them long ago, in the dim and distant past – and defeat’s their only option.


Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Philip Olivier (Hex), John Standing, Blake Ritson, Gus Brown



Written By: John Dorney
Director: Ken Bentley

The Drashani Empire – a galaxy-spanning civilisation, the glory of Rome set among the stars. But for decades now, the Royal Houses of Gadarel and Sorsha have been at war, each claiming the Imperial throne.

The wedding of Prince Kylo and Princess Aliona was meant to change all that – a blessed union between the Houses, a new hope for the Empire. Until Aliona’s wedding galley crash-landed on the planet Sharnax – and all contact was lost.

The TARDIS lands aboard the ship carrying the fiery Kylo in search of his lost princess – but with a sabre-toothed monster roaming its corridors, the Doctor soon discovers he’s not the only alien presence aboard.


Peter Davison (The Doctor), Caroline Langrishe (Shira), George Rainsford (Prince Kylo), Clive Mantle (Tuvold), Dominic Rowan (Corwyn), Derek Hutchinson (Altus), Caroline Keiff (Riga), Tim Treloar (Tyron), Kirsty Besterman


Written By: Rick Briggs
Director: Ken Bentley
The planet Cawdor. Deep in the heart of the Drashani Empire.

The Doctor lands thirty years after the Succession of Blood brought Empress Cheni to the throne. For most of her reign there has been peace and prosperity. The Empire flourished. But five years ago, the War came. And nothing was ever the same again. Now the Drashani are at war with the mysterious alien race known as the Wrath, led by the Warlord Tenebris. As more and more planets fall to their advance events are rushing to a head.

What exactly does Tenebris want? What is the secret of the Wrath’s weapon, the terrifying Acheron Pulse? As the Doctor races to save an Empire, he may not like the answers he finds.


Colin Baker (The Doctor), James Wilby (Tenebris), Joseph Kloska (Dukhin), Jane Slavin (Teesha), Chris Porter (Vincol), John Banks (Boritz), Chook Sibtain (Athrid), Carol Noakes (Olerik)


Written By: Jonathan Morris
Director: Ken Bentley
One empire has fallen and another has taken its place. The race known as The Wrath are expanding into new territory. Only the Earth Empire stands in their way.

It’s been fifty years since the Doctor last visited this sector of space. And one man in particular has been awaiting his return. As the mistakes of his past come back to haunt him, and with a price on his head and bounty hunters on his tail, the Doctor is heading for a last reckoning.

The pieces are finally coming together. Somewhere deep within The Shadow Heart.


Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), James Wilby (Tenebris), Chase Masterson (Vienna Salavatori), Eve Karpf (Talbar), Alex Mallinson (Horval), John Banks (Captain Webster/Starbaff/Wrath Emperor), Jaimi Barbakoff (Lt Dervish)

168. 1001 NIGHTS

Written By: Emma Beeby and Gordon Rennie, Jonathan Barnes, Catherine Harvey
A long time ago, two travellers came from far away…

In the perfumed palace of an omnipotent Sultan, a girl must tell stories to keep the man she cares about from a cruel and horrible death. She spins tales of distant lands she has visited with a mysterious traveller, of fabulous creatures and fantastic adventures – and of a blue box that can travel in time and space.

Meanwhile, in the dungeons below the throne room, there lurks a secret which will bring down the kingdom – perhaps even the universe.

Can the Doctor and Nyssa escape from this never-ending story before the final chapter spells their end?

Doctor Who main range subscribers whose subscription includes this title will receive the complete Doctor Who audio drama Night of the Stormcrow absolutely free. The adventure stars Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor, and Louise Jameson as Leela. Night of the Stormcrow will be available to buy separately in December 2013.


Peter Davison (The Doctor), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Alexander Siddig (Sultan), Nadim Sawalha (Old Man), Teddy Kempner (Nazar), Kim Ismay (Lottie/Woman Stallholder), Malcolm Tierney (Gantha/Warder), Debbie Leigh-Simmons (Elizabeth Spinnaker/Bessie/Crying Woman), Christopher Luscombe (Alien Psychiatrist/Balladeer), Oliver Coopersmith (Hill/Archie)


Written By: Marc Platt
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs

High atop Mount McKerry sits the observatory. For years now it’s been watching the skies. Now something’s watching back. Something dark and huge that blots out the stars. Something with giant wings. Something that kills.

When the TARDIS is struck mid-flight, the Doctor and Leela crash-land on the mountain to find they are not the only aliens to be visiting. Beings of nothing infest the complex, staff members are dead or mad. As the survivors argue amongst themselves and attempt to take advantage of the situation, a creature vast and terrible is coming ever closer.

A creature called… Stormcrow.

This release is available to customers who buy a 6 or 12-release subscription to the Doctor Who Monthly Range and will be available to buy from December 2013.

There are currently two ways to obtain this exclusive audio:

Ensure your subscription includes the December 2012 Doctor Who Monthly Range release 1001 Nights


When buying a 12 release subscription, select this release as your free gift from the Doctor Who – Bonus Releases range


Tom Baker (The Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela), Chase Masterson (Peggy Brooks), Ann Bell (Professor Gesima Cazalet), Jonathan Forbes (Trevor Gale), Mandi Symonds (Erica MacMillan)

The Fourth Doctor faces the Daleks in Doctor Who- The Final Phase

The most popular and longest reigning actor to play the Doctor, Tom Baker’s return to the role is nothing short of explosive. His Big Finish adventures have had that certain unique blend of drama and absurd humor that made his era so remarkable. The details on his second series reuniting Baker with the late Mary Tamm and John Leeson have been coming in, but the finale looks quite amazing!
It’s a Dalek-filled finale for the Fourth Doctor, Romana and K9 in this forthcoming full cast Doctor Who audiobook

Tom Baker (the Fourth Doctor on TV, 1975-81), Romana (Mary Tamm, 1978-79) and K9 (John Leeson, 1977-present day) become embroiled in an epic battle with the Daleks in the second season finale of The Fourth Doctor Adventures.

The Final Phase is released in July 2013, and also features David Warner (TitanicThe Omen) and Toby Hadoke (Moths Ate My Doctor Who ScarfMy Stepson Stole My Sonic Screwdriver) reprising their recurring roles of Cuthbert and Mr Dorrick. Nicholas Briggs (Doctor WhoTorchwood) is the Voice of the Daleks.

The second season of The Fourth Doctor Adventures is now available for pre-order.

Season one, which stars Tom Baker opposite Louise Jameson as Leela (on TV 1977-78) is available now.

Doctor Who – The Butcher of Brisbane

‘The Butcher of Brisbane’

Written by Marc Platt, directed by Ken Bentley
Released: June 2012
Story 161

The TARDIS is drawn off  course by time travel experiments in the 53rd Century. Facing an evil that he had thought forever in his past, the Doctor enters the bloody world of Magnus Greel, a villain whom he had defeated in his previous life in Victorian London. However, the Doctor must be careful to insure that history plays through its proper course while protecting his companions at the same time.

One of the most celebrated of the classic Doctor Who televised stories, Talons of Weng Chiang is a program of immense popularity. The plot of Robert Holmes’s script was rather thin but the atmosphere and character was boundless. A time travelling war criminal trapped in Victorian London, Magnus Greel poses as a deity Weng Chiang. Protected by a devilish gnome Mr. Sin, he draws wayward women of the night to the sewers in order to suck their life from them using future technology.

There were a few scattered hints at the world that Greel had escaped which Marc Platt drew from, developing a lush nightmarish realm. Nyssa and Turlough are separated by the Zigma energy and disappear three years in the past, lost in the tundra as bodies fall from the sky, sent there by Greel’s scientific adviser and resident madman, Findecker. Turlough and Nyssa manage to get involved with the underground, a group of journalists determined to expose Greel for the power-mad dictator that he is.

Three years later, the Doctor and Tegan arrive to find their lost traveling companions deeply entrenched in Greel’s inner circle with Nyssa lined up to marry him! The Doctor must carefully extract his friends from their situation, but before he can act he is captured by cybernetically enhanced dingoes with a basic intelligence and brought before Findecker who seems to know far more about the Doctor than he lets on. Facing gut-wrenching torture,  the Doctor resorts to his wits and escapes his capture by plying the dingo named Chopper with sweets.

For me, the Butcher of Brisbane is one of the most enjoyable Doctor Who stories by Big Finish to date. I had very low expectations (a prequel to one of the finest classic Who adventures?), but the finished product is so polished and clever that it is a classic in its own right. The Doctor shines in this story, acting witty, clever, reserved and cannily wise all at once. It could be one of Peter Davison’s strongest outings as the Doctor. His interactions with Chopper the cyborg dingo are touching (I’m a big dog-lover) and side-splitting.

The supporting cast also comes out strong as Turlough and Nyssa play the espionage game in a not dissimilar fashion to Jamie and Victoria in the classic The Enemy of the World. There are some stark parallels to that story, I found, as Greel has put himself up as the best hope the world has for peace while secretly building his own private army for a massive war, one which the Doctor has already witnessed.

Actor Angus Wright is captivating as Greel, a charismatic madman who thinks that a doll using the brain of a pig is a good gift for a child.  There are so many solid gold moments in this adventure, but when Mr. Sin made his entrance as a bizarre birthday present, my mind leaped out the window.

The final part of a 5th Doctor trilogy (with The Emerald Tiger and The Jupiter Conjunction before it), The Butcher of Brisbane is a thrilling story that draws from the rich history of classic Doctor Who to tell a new adventure that is so unique yet nostalgic at the same time.

The Butcher of Brisbane can be ordered from The Book Depository with free shipping worldwide by clicking on the link below:

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