The Doctor Who Big Blue Box Podcast https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk A weekly Doctor Who podcast with your hosts Garry and Adam bringing you news, merchandise round-ups and reviews. New shows every Friday. Mon, 20 Jan 2020 10:35:39 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 71078257 Doctor Who S12 Ep3 Orphan 55 Review https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/doctor-who-s12-ep3-orphan-55-review/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=doctor-who-s12-ep3-orphan-55-review https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/doctor-who-s12-ep3-orphan-55-review/#respond Mon, 20 Jan 2020 19:00:19 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=7525 Maria's Review - Orphan 55

Dear reader, Episode 3 already and Orphan 55 roared its way into our consciousness. When I heard the title initially I had visions of something completely different. Episode 3 is a dystopian story, a scattershot warning of the Earth’s future. What I am finding out about the Chris Chibnall era is that it is a divisive time in the fandom over his interpretation but we are also being given lots of talking points in every episode garnering discussion. Online reaction to the episode has been ferocious so let’s get into it... So, the biggies for me this episode were the speech at the end by the Doctor and the revelation this is Earth in one timeline. Yes, the speech was a sermon. It was a sledgehammer approach which I initially didn’t like as I felt lectured at. But thinking about in the bigger picture “we” (take that to apply as you want) do need to do more to preserve the beauty of our home this magnificent blue planet. In this age of evidence of global warming perhaps subtlety is no longer working. I am reminded how at the beginning of the episode Benni and Vilma were looking over the blue pool (or lagoon) and commented how beautiful it was so maybe a bit of uncomfortableness in a painfully preachy final speech is excusable to preserve that view. It just struck me when the doctor says “People can save planets, or wreck them. That's the choice “is she also referring to the Master’s destruction of Gallifrey and her? This is the second planet in a row that has been obliterated so is this an emerging theme this series?
You know that. The future is not fixed. It depends on billions of decisions, and actions, and people stepping up. Humans. I think you forget how powerful you are. Lives change worlds. People can save planets, or wreck them. That's the choice. Be the best of humanity. Or… – The Doctor

The highs and lows of the episode

Talking of the Doctor I do like the more decisive tone they are taking with her character. Jodie has gained some confidence in making the Doctor more of the taking charge character we know and the companions bringing up the rear which I approve of. The way she takes charge of building the ionic membrane (a shield) is interesting although she seems to find the DNA filter very quickly. I really enjoyed the initial set up of the teleport cube and the arrival at Tranquillity Spa although how the team can travel to an alternative timeline is strange. An alternate timeline is a reality which diverges from the true timeline due to the actions of time travellers and Graham didn’t do anything. Unless the cube has an ability to make them change team streams but that would require tremendous power? How did the Doctor know it was only one possible timeline? [caption id="attachment_7570" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]Graham takes in Tranquility Spa Graham takes in Tranquillity Spa[/caption] I didn’t feel that the supporting characters we met were as well developed as they could have been. There were a lot of them but they were briefly introduced and the monsters took over. Vilma could have offered Yes a cup of tea and a bit of a gossip. Nevi and Sylas could have bumped into the Doctor whilst looking at the teleport. The character Hyph3n was probably not needed and perhaps could have been Bella instead, hired and undercover. Good supporting characters add depth and character to a story. With the running time for the episode as 46 minutes, I do appreciate there was a lot to cram in but if you compare this with another episode “Midnight” where more time is given to establishing the characters before the peril starts it might have made us care a bit more as they died. I don’t know whether Ed Hime deliberately was adding black humour where Benni was heard to ask Vilma to marry him and then shoot him but it is one of the funnier parts of the whole episode between Vilma and Benni. Someone did a count on YouTube and Vilma shouted out 18 times for Benni apparently throughout the script. The other “character” which gave some black laughs was the tannoy announcer “Welcome to the Tranquillity steam room. Please leave immediately” [caption id="attachment_7571" align="aligncenter" width="840"]The Doctor with Hyph3n The Doctor with Hyph3n[/caption] I did think the design of the Dregs as mutations of the humans left behind was terrific in shadow as they were stalking their prey in the hotel. Truly scary and alien-like they were just full of rage and instinct. Humans are mammals but this was a terrifying devolution to a more primitive form that couldn’t speak. Of course, out of the shadows in the quarry terrain as design, they were a little lumbering so there was a disparity but they still looked unrelenting.

The script

I did enjoy some of the brief comedy we saw in the episode mainly from Graham wanting to relax and drink cocktails and Ryan reacting to the hopper virus. I enjoyed Ryan’s flirting with Bella, there seemed natural chemistry between them but thumb sucking was a big thumbs down from me especially their goodbye at the end. The revelation through the Russian sign that Orphan 55 was Earth reminded me of a similar story about Ravalox from classic Who. The idea of the dome as a fake-cation was actually an interesting one and a differing planet outside but I don’t think it had to be Earth. The message would have still been as powerful. Would Kane really have been able to terraform and reduce the C02? Not without getting rid of the nasty Dregs. The pace was quite frenetic throughout the script at times too much so and the tone felt quite desperate, for the characters trying to make it out alive from a harsh terrifying world. I do question the decision to get everyone out in the vehicle. Why didn’t most stay in the hotel and just Kane and the Doctor go with Vorm. Vilma, Hyph3n, Vorm all died as a result of that decision. There is definitely nothing wrong with a story extolling the ecological message. The third Doctor’s era is probably the most well known with stories such as Inferno and the Green Death which mirrored real-life concerns about environmentalism more than 50 years ago. It’s nothing new where Doctor Who used allegory to tell its messages. I do applaud the lesson within the story but perhaps not the execution of it. I do wonder though whether Orphan 55 aimed its withering eye at the right audience? Should the story have made more criticisms aimed at industry, at governments instead? As individuals in the western world, I assume the majority of Doctor Who’s audience is well aware of the environmental issues. I reuse and recycle and do what I can but pollution and climate change come mostly from rising dioxide emissions from the industry with China, United States, India, Russia in the top four as the most polluting countries. When will they listen?

Not a Doctor Who story to give you comfort on a warm winter day 7/10

]]>
Maria's Review - Orphan 55

Dear reader, Episode 3 already and Orphan 55 roared its way into our consciousness. When I heard the title initially I had visions of something completely different. Episode 3 is a dystopian story, a scattershot warning of the Earth’s future. What I am finding out about the Chris Chibnall era is that it is a divisive time in the fandom over his interpretation but we are also being given lots of talking points in every episode garnering discussion. Online reaction to the episode has been ferocious so let’s get into it... So, the biggies for me this episode were the speech at the end by the Doctor and the revelation this is Earth in one timeline. Yes, the speech was a sermon. It was a sledgehammer approach which I initially didn’t like as I felt lectured at. But thinking about in the bigger picture “we” (take that to apply as you want) do need to do more to preserve the beauty of our home this magnificent blue planet. In this age of evidence of global warming perhaps subtlety is no longer working. I am reminded how at the beginning of the episode Benni and Vilma were looking over the blue pool (or lagoon) and commented how beautiful it was so maybe a bit of uncomfortableness in a painfully preachy final speech is excusable to preserve that view. It just struck me when the doctor says “People can save planets, or wreck them. That's the choice “is she also referring to the Master’s destruction of Gallifrey and her? This is the second planet in a row that has been obliterated so is this an emerging theme this series?
You know that. The future is not fixed. It depends on billions of decisions, and actions, and people stepping up. Humans. I think you forget how powerful you are. Lives change worlds. People can save planets, or wreck them. That's the choice. Be the best of humanity. Or… – The Doctor

The highs and lows of the episode

Talking of the Doctor I do like the more decisive tone they are taking with her character. Jodie has gained some confidence in making the Doctor more of the taking charge character we know and the companions bringing up the rear which I approve of. The way she takes charge of building the ionic membrane (a shield) is interesting although she seems to find the DNA filter very quickly. I really enjoyed the initial set up of the teleport cube and the arrival at Tranquillity Spa although how the team can travel to an alternative timeline is strange. An alternate timeline is a reality which diverges from the true timeline due to the actions of time travellers and Graham didn’t do anything. Unless the cube has an ability to make them change team streams but that would require tremendous power? How did the Doctor know it was only one possible timeline? [caption id="attachment_7570" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]Graham takes in Tranquility Spa Graham takes in Tranquillity Spa[/caption] I didn’t feel that the supporting characters we met were as well developed as they could have been. There were a lot of them but they were briefly introduced and the monsters took over. Vilma could have offered Yes a cup of tea and a bit of a gossip. Nevi and Sylas could have bumped into the Doctor whilst looking at the teleport. The character Hyph3n was probably not needed and perhaps could have been Bella instead, hired and undercover. Good supporting characters add depth and character to a story. With the running time for the episode as 46 minutes, I do appreciate there was a lot to cram in but if you compare this with another episode “Midnight” where more time is given to establishing the characters before the peril starts it might have made us care a bit more as they died. I don’t know whether Ed Hime deliberately was adding black humour where Benni was heard to ask Vilma to marry him and then shoot him but it is one of the funnier parts of the whole episode between Vilma and Benni. Someone did a count on YouTube and Vilma shouted out 18 times for Benni apparently throughout the script. The other “character” which gave some black laughs was the tannoy announcer “Welcome to the Tranquillity steam room. Please leave immediately” [caption id="attachment_7571" align="aligncenter" width="840"]The Doctor with Hyph3n The Doctor with Hyph3n[/caption] I did think the design of the Dregs as mutations of the humans left behind was terrific in shadow as they were stalking their prey in the hotel. Truly scary and alien-like they were just full of rage and instinct. Humans are mammals but this was a terrifying devolution to a more primitive form that couldn’t speak. Of course, out of the shadows in the quarry terrain as design, they were a little lumbering so there was a disparity but they still looked unrelenting.

The script

I did enjoy some of the brief comedy we saw in the episode mainly from Graham wanting to relax and drink cocktails and Ryan reacting to the hopper virus. I enjoyed Ryan’s flirting with Bella, there seemed natural chemistry between them but thumb sucking was a big thumbs down from me especially their goodbye at the end. The revelation through the Russian sign that Orphan 55 was Earth reminded me of a similar story about Ravalox from classic Who. The idea of the dome as a fake-cation was actually an interesting one and a differing planet outside but I don’t think it had to be Earth. The message would have still been as powerful. Would Kane really have been able to terraform and reduce the C02? Not without getting rid of the nasty Dregs. The pace was quite frenetic throughout the script at times too much so and the tone felt quite desperate, for the characters trying to make it out alive from a harsh terrifying world. I do question the decision to get everyone out in the vehicle. Why didn’t most stay in the hotel and just Kane and the Doctor go with Vorm. Vilma, Hyph3n, Vorm all died as a result of that decision. There is definitely nothing wrong with a story extolling the ecological message. The third Doctor’s era is probably the most well known with stories such as Inferno and the Green Death which mirrored real-life concerns about environmentalism more than 50 years ago. It’s nothing new where Doctor Who used allegory to tell its messages. I do applaud the lesson within the story but perhaps not the execution of it. I do wonder though whether Orphan 55 aimed its withering eye at the right audience? Should the story have made more criticisms aimed at industry, at governments instead? As individuals in the western world, I assume the majority of Doctor Who’s audience is well aware of the environmental issues. I reuse and recycle and do what I can but pollution and climate change come mostly from rising dioxide emissions from the industry with China, United States, India, Russia in the top four as the most polluting countries. When will they listen?

Not a Doctor Who story to give you comfort on a warm winter day 7/10

]]>
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Series 12 Review – Orphan 55 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/ep251/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ep251 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/ep251/#respond Fri, 17 Jan 2020 07:00:45 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=7557 The Big Blue Box Podcast - Episode 251

The News

A bunch of upcoming Series 12 episode titles have been announced, those nice people at the DWAS have made The Celestial Toyroom Annual 2020 free and more viewing figures for Spyfall (confirmed) and Orphan 55 (overnight).

Merch Corner

Series 14 will be the next "Doctor Who The Collection" blu ray set released in April and German company Pandastorm have produced another collectors edition set, the 6th Doctor Season 23 this time.

Review story this week is: Orphan 55

With the opening two-parter out the way, we continue into Series 12 with this intriguing story of monsters, romance, viruses and Benni! Does this continue the good feeling we felt from Spyfall or are we taking steps back to Series 11? Thank you all for listening this week as we kick-off 2020. Our review story next week will be the Series 12 - Orphan 55. Until then have a great week and remember – Allons-y!]]>
The Big Blue Box Podcast - Episode 251

The News

A bunch of upcoming Series 12 episode titles have been announced, those nice people at the DWAS have made The Celestial Toyroom Annual 2020 free and more viewing figures for Spyfall (confirmed) and Orphan 55 (overnight).

Merch Corner

Series 14 will be the next "Doctor Who The Collection" blu ray set released in April and German company Pandastorm have produced another collectors edition set, the 6th Doctor Season 23 this time.

Review story this week is: Orphan 55

With the opening two-parter out the way, we continue into Series 12 with this intriguing story of monsters, romance, viruses and Benni! Does this continue the good feeling we felt from Spyfall or are we taking steps back to Series 11? Thank you all for listening this week as we kick-off 2020. Our review story next week will be the Series 12 - Orphan 55. Until then have a great week and remember – Allons-y!]]>
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Torchwood: Expectant – Review https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/torchwood-expectant-review/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=torchwood-expectant-review https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/torchwood-expectant-review/#respond Thu, 16 Jan 2020 20:17:27 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=7477 Torchwood - Expectant Review

Well. That was certainly different. Taking place between the end of Series 2 and the beginning of Series 3, a particularly turbulent time for the Torchwood gang, Expectant gives us a pregnant Jack, while still trying to hunt down aliens, in a strange little tale from Xanna Eve Chown. While I think this is certainly a strange outing for the Torchwood team of Jack and Lanto, there is certainly some fun to be had in hearing Jack trying to deal with his job, as well his pregnancy and putting up with his midwife Jonty underfoot. And Barrowman does a great job, despite sometimes falling into the realm of OTT acting occasionally as he tries to balance out his mood-swings and cravings. Sometimes it's very funny but sometimes its also slightly too cringy but for the most part, it runs the knife-edge of both quite nicely. [caption id="attachment_7478" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Torchwood: Expectant - Cover Art Torchwood: Expectant - Cover Art[/caption] At first glance, and certainly, in the first ten/fifteen minutes, it feels like this is going to be a story with little substance and just far too much quirkiness. But Chown quickly reminds us of when this story is supposed to be set and following on from the events of Series 2, the characters are trying to deal with them in their own ways. In Jack's case, it's carrying the prince of an alien species in his belly. Even though in Everything Changes, he swore never to do it again, something that they do reference. I actually really liked this element to this story. With Lanto and Jack dealing with Series 2's fallout as when Children of Earth rolls around it isn't really mentioned again. I think its why I like the Torchwood segments in The Stolen Earth/Journey's End so much as it recognised the events and addressed them in a greater degree than the actual series did. And Expectant does that to a pleasing extent too. [caption id="attachment_7554" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]Catherine Ayers. Aaron Anthony and Gareth David-Lloyd Catherine Ayers. Aaron Anthony and Gareth David-Lloyd[/caption] And while this is a quirky story, Chown also manages to keep things on track by explaining to us why Jack is doing all of this. He says that he has seen many dark things, death, decay and war and so by carrying the child of Yalnix Empire, he is going to keep the peace to stop the Empire from falling into war. And through the character of Jonty, Chown has a great outlet to explain the politics of that planet to us. Jonty is a great little character played brilliantly by Aaron Anthony. It would have been very easy for the character to become irritating but Chown gives him just enough intelligence and naivety to keep him interesting, elements of the character that Anthony really enjoys bringing to life. And he makes a great addition to the small cast, working excellently with John Barrowman. It's always nice to have Gareth David-Lloyd involved too. I really like Lanto so any opportunity for him to shine is always great and Lloyd does a great job here, giving him a much darker edge. It was a great way to explore the character. And Barrowman does an excellent job too, he's funny and series when he needs to be but he is also just Jack and so what more could you need?! For me, Expectant was a big surprise. While it seems to be initially a very quirky and strange story, it quickly becomes a lot more than that, allowing us a great exploration of Jack's character and in turn, Lanto's. But following on from a year of such strong Torchwood releases, its unfortunate that Expectant falls a little under the bar they set in terms of storytelling. But it's not for lack of trying.]]>
Torchwood - Expectant Review

Well. That was certainly different. Taking place between the end of Series 2 and the beginning of Series 3, a particularly turbulent time for the Torchwood gang, Expectant gives us a pregnant Jack, while still trying to hunt down aliens, in a strange little tale from Xanna Eve Chown. While I think this is certainly a strange outing for the Torchwood team of Jack and Lanto, there is certainly some fun to be had in hearing Jack trying to deal with his job, as well his pregnancy and putting up with his midwife Jonty underfoot. And Barrowman does a great job, despite sometimes falling into the realm of OTT acting occasionally as he tries to balance out his mood-swings and cravings. Sometimes it's very funny but sometimes its also slightly too cringy but for the most part, it runs the knife-edge of both quite nicely. [caption id="attachment_7478" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Torchwood: Expectant - Cover Art Torchwood: Expectant - Cover Art[/caption] At first glance, and certainly, in the first ten/fifteen minutes, it feels like this is going to be a story with little substance and just far too much quirkiness. But Chown quickly reminds us of when this story is supposed to be set and following on from the events of Series 2, the characters are trying to deal with them in their own ways. In Jack's case, it's carrying the prince of an alien species in his belly. Even though in Everything Changes, he swore never to do it again, something that they do reference. I actually really liked this element to this story. With Lanto and Jack dealing with Series 2's fallout as when Children of Earth rolls around it isn't really mentioned again. I think its why I like the Torchwood segments in The Stolen Earth/Journey's End so much as it recognised the events and addressed them in a greater degree than the actual series did. And Expectant does that to a pleasing extent too. [caption id="attachment_7554" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]Catherine Ayers. Aaron Anthony and Gareth David-Lloyd Catherine Ayers. Aaron Anthony and Gareth David-Lloyd[/caption] And while this is a quirky story, Chown also manages to keep things on track by explaining to us why Jack is doing all of this. He says that he has seen many dark things, death, decay and war and so by carrying the child of Yalnix Empire, he is going to keep the peace to stop the Empire from falling into war. And through the character of Jonty, Chown has a great outlet to explain the politics of that planet to us. Jonty is a great little character played brilliantly by Aaron Anthony. It would have been very easy for the character to become irritating but Chown gives him just enough intelligence and naivety to keep him interesting, elements of the character that Anthony really enjoys bringing to life. And he makes a great addition to the small cast, working excellently with John Barrowman. It's always nice to have Gareth David-Lloyd involved too. I really like Lanto so any opportunity for him to shine is always great and Lloyd does a great job here, giving him a much darker edge. It was a great way to explore the character. And Barrowman does an excellent job too, he's funny and series when he needs to be but he is also just Jack and so what more could you need?! For me, Expectant was a big surprise. While it seems to be initially a very quirky and strange story, it quickly becomes a lot more than that, allowing us a great exploration of Jack's character and in turn, Lanto's. But following on from a year of such strong Torchwood releases, its unfortunate that Expectant falls a little under the bar they set in terms of storytelling. But it's not for lack of trying.]]>
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Skies are Falling! Doctor Who S12 E1/E2 Spyfall Review https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/skies-are-falling-doctor-who-s12-e1-e2-spyfall-review/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=skies-are-falling-doctor-who-s12-e1-e2-spyfall-review https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/skies-are-falling-doctor-who-s12-e1-e2-spyfall-review/#respond Wed, 15 Jan 2020 10:20:53 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=7484 Spyfall Review by Maria

Dear reader wow series 12 is finally here after a long year and it’s great to have new content to review. A few months ago, I wrote that I hoped the production team had reviewed some of the decisions from the last series and one of the items I mentioned was a lack of two-parters. I've seen the trailers for the first episode and it’s really exciting to have a two-parter. In a recent Doctor Who Magazine article Chris Chibnall said Series 12 is phase two of a strategic plan with deliberate development and progression. The tone of episode 2 felt different to Episode 1 but with each bringing their own touch of the familiar.

Episode 1 James Bond-style adventure where we met a supervillain and new aliens.

Spymaster

Yes, I am going to tackle the massive secret revealed in the last couple of minutes of the first episode first! I’m so glad it was kept a secret because it's WILD! Yes, the arch-enemy of the Doctor, the Master is back! It was delicious to see as the realisation set in for the Doctor and for us. Sacha Dhawan chewed up the scenery springing around like an imp on acid, clapping his hands, so pleased with himself at his cleverness.

[caption id="attachment_7545" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]Spies in Disguise- The "Fam" is back Spies in Disguise- The "Fam" is back[/caption]

Sacha Dhawan was totally channelling John Sim’s mania so that makes me think he must be the regeneration after Sim but before Missy. I really hope that is what is revealed later and they don’t jettison the Missy redemption arc created by Moffat. Sacha Dhawan created a subtle straight performance however as Horizonwatcher so I really enjoyed the reveal and what a hoot that he adopted the letter O due to his narcissism. The clues were there to his real identity I guess as O revealed he had files on the Doctor and the advanced technology he had within his “house”.  I really hope his masterly performance has some reason as well as madness but I somehow doubt it. He left the doctor to die with an intriguing message which I really hoped would be explained in Episode 2.

The highs and lows of the episode

The fact that I watched the first episode three times must mean I really enjoyed it. Yes, it was imitative, a pastiche, but it set its cards out quickly and clearly as spies kept being bumped off. I liked the alien Kasaavins who in silhouette looked like Chinese mud men but they did provide a sense of menace and felt very X Files coming through walls. One of the issues I thought was wrong last series was there was too much standing around talking so an episode inspired by the James Bond films was a definitive positive. I think Chris Chibnall has listened to the criticism of Series 11 regarding pacing and added more show don’t tell in this episode. All the espionage scenes felt familiar enough that I found myself relaxing into the story and relishing all the genre tropes such as the team decked out in tuxedos, the gadgets, Mr Big Lenny Henry playing a sneaky megalomaniac.

[caption id="attachment_7541" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]A Kasaavin and Barton A Kasaavin and Barton[/caption]

The direction by Jamie Magnus Stone was excellent adding sorely needed pace which a show like Doctor Who thrives on. The director made the most of the foreign location to ensure it looked suitably stunning. It was REALLY fun seeing all the gadgets, the plane, the motorbikes, the cars. I really liked the peril for the “fam” once the suicidal car starting racing down the motorway to kill its passengers. Did anyone else get an ATMOS feel with the car? The vibe with the night scenes in the car was definitely Chris Chibnall as it reminded me of Jodie’s first episode “The Woman who fell to Earth especially with the background score running alongside from Segun Akinola with the eerie 1980’ sci-fi film beat.  Stephen Fry talking through the audio sounded like Gus from “Mummy on the Orient Express” I must say Stephen Fry was wonderfully British as only he can be, in a sadly short role as C - the chief of the Secret Intelligence Service. He bit the bullet O Oh!

Worse. Uber. Ever - Graham

Although it took a few minutes to re-establish where all the supporting characters were in their lives, which felt a little superfluous, I enjoyed Yas’s development actually pitting her interrogation skills against Daniel Barton.  Her emotional reaction after being zapped into the alien realm and returned to the outback felt like some payoff which we were waiting for her character since series 11. Ryan was there as support and she actually feels like the bossier one of the two so a Zoe and Jamie type of relationship could work well between them.

A spooky and fun spy adventure 8/10

Episode 2 The Doctor travels through history and discovers a terrible fate for humanity

The Timeless Child

Chris Chibnall is certainly turning his back of the stand-alone stance of series 11 and has added a series arc with the “timeless child” which I hoped for in my wish list. The fate of Gallifrey started with Russell T Davies wherein the Time War the planet was lost and destroyed, Steven Moffat brought it back, and now it’s destroyed again. I can honestly say I am a little nervous at this particular route of the Master destroying Gallifrey (and hinting at sinister secrets). Let’s see how this whole arc plays out. It has the potential to rewrite the entire history of the Timelords. Eek!

Everything that you think you know is a lie – The Master

The highs and lows of the episode

Previously on Doctor Who... Yes, this is new with the voice of Jodie and I am glad the precredit sequence made a return this series. Doctor Who really needs that hook for the audience.

I wondered how they would resolve the plane going down and I’m no expert but did anyone else think that the plane took ages on its path towards the earth considering there was no cockpit? Chris Chibnall borrowed the pre-recording trick from “Blink” which was okay. But he borrowed too many concepts from other eras, the mind-meld from the classic era, characters on the run, pursued by a person in control of technology from “The Sound of Drums” the Master living through the 20th and 21st century as Jack Harkness had to in Torchwood. I’m not sure whether he is paying homage to those ideas by reusing them or he can’t find his own unique solutions...

Jodie still irritates me when she tries comedy and there were lots of times I sighed in frustration for both episodes. "I've had an upgrade", the snap gag in the casino was childish, the big crisis, kisses call to O, talking to herself come to mind) But then I really enjoyed her scenes with Sacha Dhawan in Episode 2 He snapped, cackled and popped in his scenes and she came up to meet him in those scenes. Finally, she has an adversary who she reacts to believably,  is allowed to show disdain, concern and act at a deeper level. To see her distress at the destruction of Gallifrey and anger at the Master reminded me of Capaldi's reaction when Missy told him the co-ordinates for Gallifrey in "Death in Heaven". That she reiterated her identity when asked by her companions as a Timelord made her seem more real, more open emotionally than I saw most of the last series.

Seeing both the Master and the Doctor above the human race atop the Eiffel Tower reminded me they are both renegades, equals in status if not attitude. Whilst the Master is a master of disguise seeing him as a Nazi was a strange ( obvious ? ) concept and seemed deliberately set to put him in bad taste. But what I do like is the actor Sacha manages to balance the rage and madness shown in 1843 with the tissue eliminator with a kind of calm callousness in 1943 and then a brute honesty as a hologram. Is that due to the writing or the actor I'm not sure? There was one strange scene where the soldiers shot the floor in the house where the Doctor and Noor were hiding and the Master just walked out. I did wonder did he know they were there or does he just do that for kicks. If he did, then the Master never checks the details of his schemes to see if they died.

[caption id="attachment_7544" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]Ooh he is a Master of disguise! 1 Ooh he is a Master of disguise! 1[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7543" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]Ooh he is a Master of disguise! 2 Ooh he is a Master of disguise! 2[/caption]

Moving over to our other villain. The speech from Barton about how easily we give our data away electronically really hit its mark. Trusting in the technology we have and that the personal information we give is safe is a fallacy. I found the actual scene where people were being upgraded a bit of an anti-climax though. It just seemed too far-fetched as a scheme for us to be hard drives. I was more curious and really wish we had learnt more about Barton’s “mummy issues”. Lenny Henry was bitter coolly detached from reality and it was shocking to see him kill his mum. He seemed to exit quickly at the end from the scheme without any repercussions but I wonder if the long arm of the law will catch up with him eventually.

Going off on a companion tangent I certainly loved Graham over the two episodes. He has a quiet assuredly and gets some terrific one-liners with the Doctor. Bradley Walsh is pure comedy gold, so solid as Graham and seeing him dance in laser shoes was a definite highlight.

I suppose having two historical female figures in the story was meant to be an opportunity to educate us about” great women" but it felt clumsy and slightly lecturing.  Going to 1943 and meeting Noor Khan was probably superfluous. If you consider her eventual fate in real life being sent to a concentration camp and shot she felt a poorly sketched character for a British heroine of World War Two. It felt she was shoved into the story only for the purposes of using the radio to contact England about the Master and probably deserved a story to herself. Having Ada Lovelace, who was a determined, intelligent Miss to assist the Doctor would have been enough working alongside Charles Babbage, for me anyway.

The resolution of a story can be tricky and Episode 2 was a solid enough episode in that it answered the questions from Episode 1 about who the aliens were, what the relationship was between the Master and Barton. The Silver Lady figurine was also interesting as a device to summon the Kasaavins.

If I consider the story as a whole it feels slightly uneven for me.in that I think part 2 was so heavily plot-driven compared to Episode 1. It was packed full and only on a second watch was I was paying close attention did all of Episode 2 come together to satisfy as a part of the whole.

A busy episode where Jodie got serious 7.5/10

]]>
Spyfall Review by Maria

Dear reader wow series 12 is finally here after a long year and it’s great to have new content to review. A few months ago, I wrote that I hoped the production team had reviewed some of the decisions from the last series and one of the items I mentioned was a lack of two-parters. I've seen the trailers for the first episode and it’s really exciting to have a two-parter. In a recent Doctor Who Magazine article Chris Chibnall said Series 12 is phase two of a strategic plan with deliberate development and progression. The tone of episode 2 felt different to Episode 1 but with each bringing their own touch of the familiar.

Episode 1 James Bond-style adventure where we met a supervillain and new aliens.

Spymaster

Yes, I am going to tackle the massive secret revealed in the last couple of minutes of the first episode first! I’m so glad it was kept a secret because it's WILD! Yes, the arch-enemy of the Doctor, the Master is back! It was delicious to see as the realisation set in for the Doctor and for us. Sacha Dhawan chewed up the scenery springing around like an imp on acid, clapping his hands, so pleased with himself at his cleverness.

[caption id="attachment_7545" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]Spies in Disguise- The "Fam" is back Spies in Disguise- The "Fam" is back[/caption]

Sacha Dhawan was totally channelling John Sim’s mania so that makes me think he must be the regeneration after Sim but before Missy. I really hope that is what is revealed later and they don’t jettison the Missy redemption arc created by Moffat. Sacha Dhawan created a subtle straight performance however as Horizonwatcher so I really enjoyed the reveal and what a hoot that he adopted the letter O due to his narcissism. The clues were there to his real identity I guess as O revealed he had files on the Doctor and the advanced technology he had within his “house”.  I really hope his masterly performance has some reason as well as madness but I somehow doubt it. He left the doctor to die with an intriguing message which I really hoped would be explained in Episode 2.

The highs and lows of the episode

The fact that I watched the first episode three times must mean I really enjoyed it. Yes, it was imitative, a pastiche, but it set its cards out quickly and clearly as spies kept being bumped off. I liked the alien Kasaavins who in silhouette looked like Chinese mud men but they did provide a sense of menace and felt very X Files coming through walls. One of the issues I thought was wrong last series was there was too much standing around talking so an episode inspired by the James Bond films was a definitive positive. I think Chris Chibnall has listened to the criticism of Series 11 regarding pacing and added more show don’t tell in this episode. All the espionage scenes felt familiar enough that I found myself relaxing into the story and relishing all the genre tropes such as the team decked out in tuxedos, the gadgets, Mr Big Lenny Henry playing a sneaky megalomaniac.

[caption id="attachment_7541" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]A Kasaavin and Barton A Kasaavin and Barton[/caption]

The direction by Jamie Magnus Stone was excellent adding sorely needed pace which a show like Doctor Who thrives on. The director made the most of the foreign location to ensure it looked suitably stunning. It was REALLY fun seeing all the gadgets, the plane, the motorbikes, the cars. I really liked the peril for the “fam” once the suicidal car starting racing down the motorway to kill its passengers. Did anyone else get an ATMOS feel with the car? The vibe with the night scenes in the car was definitely Chris Chibnall as it reminded me of Jodie’s first episode “The Woman who fell to Earth especially with the background score running alongside from Segun Akinola with the eerie 1980’ sci-fi film beat.  Stephen Fry talking through the audio sounded like Gus from “Mummy on the Orient Express” I must say Stephen Fry was wonderfully British as only he can be, in a sadly short role as C - the chief of the Secret Intelligence Service. He bit the bullet O Oh!

Worse. Uber. Ever - Graham

Although it took a few minutes to re-establish where all the supporting characters were in their lives, which felt a little superfluous, I enjoyed Yas’s development actually pitting her interrogation skills against Daniel Barton.  Her emotional reaction after being zapped into the alien realm and returned to the outback felt like some payoff which we were waiting for her character since series 11. Ryan was there as support and she actually feels like the bossier one of the two so a Zoe and Jamie type of relationship could work well between them.

A spooky and fun spy adventure 8/10

Episode 2 The Doctor travels through history and discovers a terrible fate for humanity

The Timeless Child

Chris Chibnall is certainly turning his back of the stand-alone stance of series 11 and has added a series arc with the “timeless child” which I hoped for in my wish list. The fate of Gallifrey started with Russell T Davies wherein the Time War the planet was lost and destroyed, Steven Moffat brought it back, and now it’s destroyed again. I can honestly say I am a little nervous at this particular route of the Master destroying Gallifrey (and hinting at sinister secrets). Let’s see how this whole arc plays out. It has the potential to rewrite the entire history of the Timelords. Eek!

Everything that you think you know is a lie – The Master

The highs and lows of the episode

Previously on Doctor Who... Yes, this is new with the voice of Jodie and I am glad the precredit sequence made a return this series. Doctor Who really needs that hook for the audience.

I wondered how they would resolve the plane going down and I’m no expert but did anyone else think that the plane took ages on its path towards the earth considering there was no cockpit? Chris Chibnall borrowed the pre-recording trick from “Blink” which was okay. But he borrowed too many concepts from other eras, the mind-meld from the classic era, characters on the run, pursued by a person in control of technology from “The Sound of Drums” the Master living through the 20th and 21st century as Jack Harkness had to in Torchwood. I’m not sure whether he is paying homage to those ideas by reusing them or he can’t find his own unique solutions...

Jodie still irritates me when she tries comedy and there were lots of times I sighed in frustration for both episodes. "I've had an upgrade", the snap gag in the casino was childish, the big crisis, kisses call to O, talking to herself come to mind) But then I really enjoyed her scenes with Sacha Dhawan in Episode 2 He snapped, cackled and popped in his scenes and she came up to meet him in those scenes. Finally, she has an adversary who she reacts to believably,  is allowed to show disdain, concern and act at a deeper level. To see her distress at the destruction of Gallifrey and anger at the Master reminded me of Capaldi's reaction when Missy told him the co-ordinates for Gallifrey in "Death in Heaven". That she reiterated her identity when asked by her companions as a Timelord made her seem more real, more open emotionally than I saw most of the last series.

Seeing both the Master and the Doctor above the human race atop the Eiffel Tower reminded me they are both renegades, equals in status if not attitude. Whilst the Master is a master of disguise seeing him as a Nazi was a strange ( obvious ? ) concept and seemed deliberately set to put him in bad taste. But what I do like is the actor Sacha manages to balance the rage and madness shown in 1843 with the tissue eliminator with a kind of calm callousness in 1943 and then a brute honesty as a hologram. Is that due to the writing or the actor I'm not sure? There was one strange scene where the soldiers shot the floor in the house where the Doctor and Noor were hiding and the Master just walked out. I did wonder did he know they were there or does he just do that for kicks. If he did, then the Master never checks the details of his schemes to see if they died.

[caption id="attachment_7544" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]Ooh he is a Master of disguise! 1 Ooh he is a Master of disguise! 1[/caption] [caption id="attachment_7543" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]Ooh he is a Master of disguise! 2 Ooh he is a Master of disguise! 2[/caption]

Moving over to our other villain. The speech from Barton about how easily we give our data away electronically really hit its mark. Trusting in the technology we have and that the personal information we give is safe is a fallacy. I found the actual scene where people were being upgraded a bit of an anti-climax though. It just seemed too far-fetched as a scheme for us to be hard drives. I was more curious and really wish we had learnt more about Barton’s “mummy issues”. Lenny Henry was bitter coolly detached from reality and it was shocking to see him kill his mum. He seemed to exit quickly at the end from the scheme without any repercussions but I wonder if the long arm of the law will catch up with him eventually.

Going off on a companion tangent I certainly loved Graham over the two episodes. He has a quiet assuredly and gets some terrific one-liners with the Doctor. Bradley Walsh is pure comedy gold, so solid as Graham and seeing him dance in laser shoes was a definite highlight.

I suppose having two historical female figures in the story was meant to be an opportunity to educate us about” great women" but it felt clumsy and slightly lecturing.  Going to 1943 and meeting Noor Khan was probably superfluous. If you consider her eventual fate in real life being sent to a concentration camp and shot she felt a poorly sketched character for a British heroine of World War Two. It felt she was shoved into the story only for the purposes of using the radio to contact England about the Master and probably deserved a story to herself. Having Ada Lovelace, who was a determined, intelligent Miss to assist the Doctor would have been enough working alongside Charles Babbage, for me anyway.

The resolution of a story can be tricky and Episode 2 was a solid enough episode in that it answered the questions from Episode 1 about who the aliens were, what the relationship was between the Master and Barton. The Silver Lady figurine was also interesting as a device to summon the Kasaavins.

If I consider the story as a whole it feels slightly uneven for me.in that I think part 2 was so heavily plot-driven compared to Episode 1. It was packed full and only on a second watch was I was paying close attention did all of Episode 2 come together to satisfy as a part of the whole.

A busy episode where Jodie got serious 7.5/10

]]>
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The War Master: Anti-Genesis – Review https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/the-war-master-anti-genesis-review/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-war-master-anti-genesis-review https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/the-war-master-anti-genesis-review/#respond Tue, 14 Jan 2020 19:00:08 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=7471 The War Master - Anti-Genesis Review

I'll be honest, I've had a bit of a love/hate relationship with the War Master range. I loved the first set, which feels like it was released many, many moons ago.  The first set, Only the Good was available in 2017 and now, two years later, the series comes to its conclusion, though I suspect there will be more, with the epic-four-part series, Anti-Genesis, which sees Sir Derek Jacobi's Master altering the events in the beloved Doctor Who story, Genesis of the Daleks. Russell T. Davies has gone on record saying that he considered Genesis of the Daleks to be the commencement of the Time-War. It's an excellent notion and one that ties together the Classic and Modern era's of the show together very nicely. And there is also the idea that neither the Daleks or the Time Lords would go back into each other's history and alter their creations. Of course, the Time-Lords tried that in Genesis, so it poses the question as to whether the Daleks are, at least in part, right in their retaliation. This is a big topic that we won't get into here but its an interesting question none-the-less and with the Master now altering the evolution of the Daleks, it seems its only the Daleks that have stuck to the rules. [caption id="attachment_7472" align="aligncenter" width="696"]The War Master: Anti-Genesis - Cover Art The War Master: Anti-Genesis - Cover Art[/caption] As well as the excellent call-backs, nods and references to Genesis of the Daleks, Anti-Genesis feels a lot like a Gallifrey range adventure. And that really helped me to enjoy it more, I really liked the Gallifrey range and so tying the two ranges together is a great move, easily making it a continuation of both ranges. What I didn't like though was that none of the main Gallifrey cast, Romana, Leela or K-9, Braxiatel and Ace were included. We've still got Narvin, which is great because he's a great character but I wasn't a big fan of the new Time-Lord president and the absence of Romana was much missed here. The set kicks off though with Nicholas Briggs' adventure From the Flames which sees the Master concocting his plan to go back in time and kill off Davros, thus enabling him to become the creator of the Daleks. Briggs has always told some great Dalek stories and this one is no different as he sows the seeds for the series. The whole story feels like the Master is just going to do what the Doctor is tasked with doing originally and averting the creation of the Daleks until the finally five minutes when Briggs' kicks things into an even higher gear and shows us how far the Master is willing to go and how manipulative he really is. It was an excellent way to kick off the adventure and really gives the Time-War a dangerous edge with what the implications of time-travel had in the conflict. I'll be honest, the other Time-War sets haven't come this close to showing how desperate things have become and for that, Briggs and this set deserve a lot of credit. Alan Barnes makes sure to keep the bleakness continuing nicely in the second episode, The Master's Dalek Plan. I'll admit, that joke took me an awful lot longer to get than it should have done! What Barnes does brilliantly in this episode is take the dire situation from Genesis and seem to twist them until they become even more dark and dire. For its time, Genesis was a surprisingly disturbing story so its great that it's getting even more modern twists, building on the excellent material that there was there in the first place. [caption id="attachment_7474" align="aligncenter" width="696"]Derek Jacobi with his copy of Anti-Genesis Derek Jacobi with his copy of Anti-Genesis[/caption] And Barnes delivers another great ending that once again proves how far this incarnation of the Master is willing to go to enact his plans. There were some genuinely disturbing moments here and this whole set isn't for the faint-of-heart but I really appreciate audios that have the guts to go to some very dark places and this set is one of them. Throughout the first half of the set, the Time Lords send a condemned prisoner Lamarius back to Gallifrey much like they did with the Doctor only instead of stopping Davros, Lamarius has to stop the Master. Throughout the set actress, Franchi Webb does a tremendous job with the material she's given. She's a character who has been broken and twisted through war and has seen her family wiped out. She's someone with nothing to lose so that makes her even more dangerous. She makes a good foil for the Master and she does fill in the Sarah-Jane role of befriending a local Mutant to infiltrate the Kaled dome. She also works brilliantly with Sean Carlson's Narvin, who, just like he is in the Gallifrey range, is excellent. And if the inclusion of Genesis of the Daleks wasn't enough, this set also sees the Unbound Universe version of the Master, who hasn't long been in conflict with the David Warner Doctor and Bernice Summerfield brought into the main Whouniverse, with Big Finish opening the door to the wider Doctor Who continuity once again. He features heavily in the concluding two episodes and is once again played by Mark Gatiss. This was my first time hearing Gatiss as the Master and it did take me a moment to warm to him. He didn't seem as manipulative or as cruel, though he is, as the other 'real' Master's but I had to remind myself this is a version of the character from an alternative universe so he would, of course, be different. But it didn't take me long to really like his take on the Master and his inclusion in this story proves that he is just as much the Master as any other incarnation. I hope we hear more from him in the future. Barnes also writes the third episode, Shockwave and having introduced the Gatiss Master, he mainly focuses on what the Davros-created Daleks are up too. They seem to be just as surprised at the War-Master's actions as the Time-Lords and so they drive an uneasy alliance between President Livia, Narvin, and the Unbound Master. Barnes throws a lot of different elements at us here with a temporal shockwave, following the changes the Master made in the past, are beginning to affect not only the universe and the Daleks but also Gallifrey itself. But none of these little moments outstays their welcome but they allow the various members of the cast to really show us their acting chops in a number of different roles. What Barnes really excels at here though is elevating the Daleks beyond being just some shouting pepper-pots. The Dalek Time Controller, the leader of the Daleks during the Time War is given a lot of character building, proving that really when the end of everything is at stake, it's surprising who you can actually turn too for help. But he is also someone not to be trusted and so he works excellently with the Unbound Master. And on Skaro, Barnes makes sure to keep the shocks coming with the War Master ordering the extermination of the Fourth Doctor, Sarah and Harry as they arrive on the planet at the beginning of Genesis of the Daleks. It was a moment that really shocked me and took me a moment to get over. Big Finish actually went there. They killed the Doctor, Sarah and Harry, one of the most indomitable TARDIS teams we ever got. And it once again proves the lengths this Master will go too to enact his goals. [caption id="attachment_7473" align="aligncenter" width="696"]Sean Carlson, Derek Jacobi and Nicholas Briggs Sean Carlson, Derek Jacobi and Nicholas Briggs[/caption] The whole set comes to a conclusion with He Who Wins, written by Nicholas Briggs and the story has a lot to live up too. After a great beginning and following two episodes full of shocks, twists, turns and genuinely dark moments, this one had a lot to live up too in creating a satisfying conclusion. And boy did it, but maybe not in the way you'd expect! Unlike most series finales this wasn't a massive action-adventure full of high stakes getting risen even higher. Instead, it was a character-driven piece and it really shows us the way the Master thinks. Now he has achieved all his goals, he really seems bored and the Daleks are beginning to act of their own accord. And while there will probably be some people who are disappointed by ending the series in this way, as apart from loud explosions and action, the character-approach really works. The whole set has had some very high stakes, so this works as a nice breather to bring things to a close and it also allows the cast to really work magic together as all the main characters come together, including an aged version of the War Master to put a stop to the Master's plans. It's a series that has to be listened too to be believed. I was shocked by some of the things the production team did here, and appreciate them having the guts to do it. It's the type of story that I'd happily see on television, though I suspect the sensors might have something to say about some of the more disturbing moments here. As usual, Derek Jacobi is wonderful as the Master. I really liked him when he popped up in Utopia and thanks to Big Finish he's really had a chance to grow and shine in the role and he's now one of my favourite incarnations of the character. In real life, he seems to be really nice so it's surprising that he can do a role as evil as this, but then it's always the nice ones who make the greatest villains! Anti-Genesis is a cracking story from start to finish. Its ability to play with the source material is inspired, especially as Genesis of the Daleks is often considered one of the best Doctor Who stories to ever be told. It's almost held in fanatical regard so Big Finish has done a brave thing in playing around with it and it really paid off. It's a story that if you haven't heard, treat yourself, quite simply, it's one of the best stories Big Finish has ever told.]]>
The War Master - Anti-Genesis Review

I'll be honest, I've had a bit of a love/hate relationship with the War Master range. I loved the first set, which feels like it was released many, many moons ago.  The first set, Only the Good was available in 2017 and now, two years later, the series comes to its conclusion, though I suspect there will be more, with the epic-four-part series, Anti-Genesis, which sees Sir Derek Jacobi's Master altering the events in the beloved Doctor Who story, Genesis of the Daleks. Russell T. Davies has gone on record saying that he considered Genesis of the Daleks to be the commencement of the Time-War. It's an excellent notion and one that ties together the Classic and Modern era's of the show together very nicely. And there is also the idea that neither the Daleks or the Time Lords would go back into each other's history and alter their creations. Of course, the Time-Lords tried that in Genesis, so it poses the question as to whether the Daleks are, at least in part, right in their retaliation. This is a big topic that we won't get into here but its an interesting question none-the-less and with the Master now altering the evolution of the Daleks, it seems its only the Daleks that have stuck to the rules. [caption id="attachment_7472" align="aligncenter" width="696"]The War Master: Anti-Genesis - Cover Art The War Master: Anti-Genesis - Cover Art[/caption] As well as the excellent call-backs, nods and references to Genesis of the Daleks, Anti-Genesis feels a lot like a Gallifrey range adventure. And that really helped me to enjoy it more, I really liked the Gallifrey range and so tying the two ranges together is a great move, easily making it a continuation of both ranges. What I didn't like though was that none of the main Gallifrey cast, Romana, Leela or K-9, Braxiatel and Ace were included. We've still got Narvin, which is great because he's a great character but I wasn't a big fan of the new Time-Lord president and the absence of Romana was much missed here. The set kicks off though with Nicholas Briggs' adventure From the Flames which sees the Master concocting his plan to go back in time and kill off Davros, thus enabling him to become the creator of the Daleks. Briggs has always told some great Dalek stories and this one is no different as he sows the seeds for the series. The whole story feels like the Master is just going to do what the Doctor is tasked with doing originally and averting the creation of the Daleks until the finally five minutes when Briggs' kicks things into an even higher gear and shows us how far the Master is willing to go and how manipulative he really is. It was an excellent way to kick off the adventure and really gives the Time-War a dangerous edge with what the implications of time-travel had in the conflict. I'll be honest, the other Time-War sets haven't come this close to showing how desperate things have become and for that, Briggs and this set deserve a lot of credit. Alan Barnes makes sure to keep the bleakness continuing nicely in the second episode, The Master's Dalek Plan. I'll admit, that joke took me an awful lot longer to get than it should have done! What Barnes does brilliantly in this episode is take the dire situation from Genesis and seem to twist them until they become even more dark and dire. For its time, Genesis was a surprisingly disturbing story so its great that it's getting even more modern twists, building on the excellent material that there was there in the first place. [caption id="attachment_7474" align="aligncenter" width="696"]Derek Jacobi with his copy of Anti-Genesis Derek Jacobi with his copy of Anti-Genesis[/caption] And Barnes delivers another great ending that once again proves how far this incarnation of the Master is willing to go to enact his plans. There were some genuinely disturbing moments here and this whole set isn't for the faint-of-heart but I really appreciate audios that have the guts to go to some very dark places and this set is one of them. Throughout the first half of the set, the Time Lords send a condemned prisoner Lamarius back to Gallifrey much like they did with the Doctor only instead of stopping Davros, Lamarius has to stop the Master. Throughout the set actress, Franchi Webb does a tremendous job with the material she's given. She's a character who has been broken and twisted through war and has seen her family wiped out. She's someone with nothing to lose so that makes her even more dangerous. She makes a good foil for the Master and she does fill in the Sarah-Jane role of befriending a local Mutant to infiltrate the Kaled dome. She also works brilliantly with Sean Carlson's Narvin, who, just like he is in the Gallifrey range, is excellent. And if the inclusion of Genesis of the Daleks wasn't enough, this set also sees the Unbound Universe version of the Master, who hasn't long been in conflict with the David Warner Doctor and Bernice Summerfield brought into the main Whouniverse, with Big Finish opening the door to the wider Doctor Who continuity once again. He features heavily in the concluding two episodes and is once again played by Mark Gatiss. This was my first time hearing Gatiss as the Master and it did take me a moment to warm to him. He didn't seem as manipulative or as cruel, though he is, as the other 'real' Master's but I had to remind myself this is a version of the character from an alternative universe so he would, of course, be different. But it didn't take me long to really like his take on the Master and his inclusion in this story proves that he is just as much the Master as any other incarnation. I hope we hear more from him in the future. Barnes also writes the third episode, Shockwave and having introduced the Gatiss Master, he mainly focuses on what the Davros-created Daleks are up too. They seem to be just as surprised at the War-Master's actions as the Time-Lords and so they drive an uneasy alliance between President Livia, Narvin, and the Unbound Master. Barnes throws a lot of different elements at us here with a temporal shockwave, following the changes the Master made in the past, are beginning to affect not only the universe and the Daleks but also Gallifrey itself. But none of these little moments outstays their welcome but they allow the various members of the cast to really show us their acting chops in a number of different roles. What Barnes really excels at here though is elevating the Daleks beyond being just some shouting pepper-pots. The Dalek Time Controller, the leader of the Daleks during the Time War is given a lot of character building, proving that really when the end of everything is at stake, it's surprising who you can actually turn too for help. But he is also someone not to be trusted and so he works excellently with the Unbound Master. And on Skaro, Barnes makes sure to keep the shocks coming with the War Master ordering the extermination of the Fourth Doctor, Sarah and Harry as they arrive on the planet at the beginning of Genesis of the Daleks. It was a moment that really shocked me and took me a moment to get over. Big Finish actually went there. They killed the Doctor, Sarah and Harry, one of the most indomitable TARDIS teams we ever got. And it once again proves the lengths this Master will go too to enact his goals. [caption id="attachment_7473" align="aligncenter" width="696"]Sean Carlson, Derek Jacobi and Nicholas Briggs Sean Carlson, Derek Jacobi and Nicholas Briggs[/caption] The whole set comes to a conclusion with He Who Wins, written by Nicholas Briggs and the story has a lot to live up too. After a great beginning and following two episodes full of shocks, twists, turns and genuinely dark moments, this one had a lot to live up too in creating a satisfying conclusion. And boy did it, but maybe not in the way you'd expect! Unlike most series finales this wasn't a massive action-adventure full of high stakes getting risen even higher. Instead, it was a character-driven piece and it really shows us the way the Master thinks. Now he has achieved all his goals, he really seems bored and the Daleks are beginning to act of their own accord. And while there will probably be some people who are disappointed by ending the series in this way, as apart from loud explosions and action, the character-approach really works. The whole set has had some very high stakes, so this works as a nice breather to bring things to a close and it also allows the cast to really work magic together as all the main characters come together, including an aged version of the War Master to put a stop to the Master's plans. It's a series that has to be listened too to be believed. I was shocked by some of the things the production team did here, and appreciate them having the guts to do it. It's the type of story that I'd happily see on television, though I suspect the sensors might have something to say about some of the more disturbing moments here. As usual, Derek Jacobi is wonderful as the Master. I really liked him when he popped up in Utopia and thanks to Big Finish he's really had a chance to grow and shine in the role and he's now one of my favourite incarnations of the character. In real life, he seems to be really nice so it's surprising that he can do a role as evil as this, but then it's always the nice ones who make the greatest villains! Anti-Genesis is a cracking story from start to finish. Its ability to play with the source material is inspired, especially as Genesis of the Daleks is often considered one of the best Doctor Who stories to ever be told. It's almost held in fanatical regard so Big Finish has done a brave thing in playing around with it and it really paid off. It's a story that if you haven't heard, treat yourself, quite simply, it's one of the best stories Big Finish has ever told.]]>
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The Robots: Volume 1 – Big Finish Review https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/the-robots-volume-1-big-finish-review/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-robots-volume-1-big-finish-review https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/the-robots-volume-1-big-finish-review/#respond Tue, 14 Jan 2020 14:46:03 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=7446 Big Finish - The Robots - Volume 1 Review

I'll be the first to admit that when this was announced I greeted the news with a mix of emotions. The Robots of Death is one of my favourite Doctor Who stories and Liv is a great companion for the Eighth Doctor. But did we really need a spin-off for the both of them? Well, I risked it and purchased the set and boy was I impressed and as I was listening I was wondering why I had any reservations at all, Big Finish always delivers the goods, and this set proves that even the most seemingly random combination can be a great experience in their talented hands. Following on from Ravenous Volume 2 where Liv left the Doctor for a year to reunite with her sister on her home-world of Kaldor, The Robots picks up that plot thread and shows us what Liv, played by Nicola Walker got up to in her little gap-year. Over the course of the three stories we got some very intelligent social and political commentary on the function of robotics, what's acceptable and what isn't, how much we should rely on robotics and technology, as well as a look at humanity with emotional exploration through pain, grief, loss, love, family, and human trappings like old-age, dementia, creation of life and deceit. That's an awful lot to cram into three episodes. [caption id="attachment_7447" align="aligncenter" width="696"]The Robots: Volume One The Robots: Volume One[/caption] And that was another thing that seemed to work in the favour of this set was that it was only three episodes. Normally a box-set will have four different outings for the cast and while I would have gladly have heard another episode, I think the three-episode format, that seems to follow in the upcoming three-sets, will really work in this ranges' favour. The Robots of Death has already been the basis of a BBV audio production called Kaldor City, with episodes being written by the original author, Chris Boucher. And Big Finish has also returned us to Kaldor with stories like Robophobia and The Sons of Kaldor, which have given us enjoyable and different looks at the much loved-robots. It could be all-to-easy for Big Finish to re-tread the same ground as the original television serial, but each time they've done something completely new and that is a trend that continues here. Roland Moore opens the set with The Robots of Life, and in typical Moore fashion, he explores the darker side of humanity, this time dealing with themes of deception, betrayal as well as making us feel sympathy for the characters through themes of friendship, old-age and dementia. Moore has quickly become one of my favourite authors at Big Finish and this another story that proves how excellently he tells us stories. As with any series, the pilot episode is perhaps the most important episode as it has to lay a lot of the groundwork, set up society's and characters moral standings, as well as delivering us an interesting story that'll make us come back for more. Moore manages to do just that, giving us genuinely likeable characters as well as showing us how corrupt Kaldorian society can be. The Robots of Death touched upon that, how the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and it's nice to see those themes explored here. Liv knows something isn't quite right thanks to her travels with the Doctor while her sister Tula, played by Claire Rushbrooke, doesn't necessarily see things in the same way because for her, this is the way things have always been. Moore plays with these two characters brilliantly, instantly giving us the feeling that these two are sisters and their relationship feels very real, there is a lot of love between the pair as well as respect, but their almost opposing world-views are constantly threatening to pull them apart. [caption id="attachment_7448" align="aligncenter" width="696"]Nicola Walker and Claire Rushbrooke as Liv and Tula Nicola Walker and Claire Rushbrooke as Liv and Tula[/caption] The second episode of the set, The Sentient, shows another side to Kaldorian society. Looking after the people for many years, they finally want you to meet Vissy, the daughter you always wanted or never had. Robert Whitelock creates a great tale here, that focuses on people's need for knowledge and Vissy wants to learn about everything. In many ways, its a sci-fi story that's been told time and again, the idea of an A.I gaining too much sentience and trying to destroy humanity but Whitelock makes sure it doesn't re-tread those old tropes and instead delivers a cracking good story, which is part A.I trying to destroy humanity and part the betrayal of a loved one. Vissy is child-like in her mannerisms and as such doesn't understand the world she has been programmed into. She wants to learn about everything, by any means necessary. And that story makes sure Vissy walks the knife-edge of leaving her ignorant and giving her just enough information to make her own decisions. Of course, it all goes wrong, but focusing the story on a child is a unique way of telling this type of story. And its also a story that asks a lot of questions about humanity, in particular, the role of a parent and how a child is brought up. It offers us a lot to consider and particularly in that regard Whitelock, gives us a fantastic second instalment and I look forward to seeing future stories written by him. The set concludes with Love Me Not, from John Dorney. A story that deals with grief and the death of loved ones and people's need to hold onto the past, in some cases, in the extreme. Of course, we don't model robots after dead loved ones, but that is exactly what Volar Crick does when his wife passes away. But Dorney makes sure that this isn't just a story about death, instead its a story about the sometimes uncomfortable topic of mental health. And Dorney delivers this topic in an original way, especially the consequences of what happens when mental-health isn't dealt with properly. And uncomfortable it is supposed to be and the story and themes it deals with are made all the better for that, it makes you sit up and listen. And the cast really rises to the challenge on that mark too. As someone who has dealt with his fair-share of mental-health issues in the past and who continues to sometimes struggle with it, I really appreciated the topic being talked about in Doctor Who in a really intelligent way. Well done Mr Dorney and thank you! With excellent scripts from three talented writers and another great example of why Ken Bentley is one of Big Finish's greatest directors, The Robots boasts an excellent cast, both guest and main, everyone should be very pleased. Nicola Walker has always been excellent and you'll be forgiven if you'd forgotten she first appeared as Liv Chenka opposite the Seventh Doctor in Robophobia as she's made such a name for herself opposite Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor. Here though, Liv proves she is more than capable of stepping out the Doctor's shadow, and carrying a series of her own. And Claire Rushbrooke is just as excellent as Tula, the pair effortlessly feeling like family and sisters. Those themes run particularly strong throughout the set of three stories and so long as Big Finish do nothing too drastic, which I'm sure they won't, I'm really looking forward to hearing where these two characters go in the near future! And maybe we can have Rushbrooke joining the TARDIS team at some point? Pretty please?! Overall then, Volume 1 of The Robots was an absolute blast. Three strong stories which intelligently deal with their themes while throwing some occasionally uncomfortable glances at the nature of humanity are handled with great care and tact. The three stories work perfectly listened too together or separately and with the return of Pool and Toos in Volume 2, two survivors from The Robots of Death, I'm really looking forward to seeing where this range goes!]]>
Big Finish - The Robots - Volume 1 Review

I'll be the first to admit that when this was announced I greeted the news with a mix of emotions. The Robots of Death is one of my favourite Doctor Who stories and Liv is a great companion for the Eighth Doctor. But did we really need a spin-off for the both of them? Well, I risked it and purchased the set and boy was I impressed and as I was listening I was wondering why I had any reservations at all, Big Finish always delivers the goods, and this set proves that even the most seemingly random combination can be a great experience in their talented hands. Following on from Ravenous Volume 2 where Liv left the Doctor for a year to reunite with her sister on her home-world of Kaldor, The Robots picks up that plot thread and shows us what Liv, played by Nicola Walker got up to in her little gap-year. Over the course of the three stories we got some very intelligent social and political commentary on the function of robotics, what's acceptable and what isn't, how much we should rely on robotics and technology, as well as a look at humanity with emotional exploration through pain, grief, loss, love, family, and human trappings like old-age, dementia, creation of life and deceit. That's an awful lot to cram into three episodes. [caption id="attachment_7447" align="aligncenter" width="696"]The Robots: Volume One The Robots: Volume One[/caption] And that was another thing that seemed to work in the favour of this set was that it was only three episodes. Normally a box-set will have four different outings for the cast and while I would have gladly have heard another episode, I think the three-episode format, that seems to follow in the upcoming three-sets, will really work in this ranges' favour. The Robots of Death has already been the basis of a BBV audio production called Kaldor City, with episodes being written by the original author, Chris Boucher. And Big Finish has also returned us to Kaldor with stories like Robophobia and The Sons of Kaldor, which have given us enjoyable and different looks at the much loved-robots. It could be all-to-easy for Big Finish to re-tread the same ground as the original television serial, but each time they've done something completely new and that is a trend that continues here. Roland Moore opens the set with The Robots of Life, and in typical Moore fashion, he explores the darker side of humanity, this time dealing with themes of deception, betrayal as well as making us feel sympathy for the characters through themes of friendship, old-age and dementia. Moore has quickly become one of my favourite authors at Big Finish and this another story that proves how excellently he tells us stories. As with any series, the pilot episode is perhaps the most important episode as it has to lay a lot of the groundwork, set up society's and characters moral standings, as well as delivering us an interesting story that'll make us come back for more. Moore manages to do just that, giving us genuinely likeable characters as well as showing us how corrupt Kaldorian society can be. The Robots of Death touched upon that, how the rich get richer and the poor get poorer and it's nice to see those themes explored here. Liv knows something isn't quite right thanks to her travels with the Doctor while her sister Tula, played by Claire Rushbrooke, doesn't necessarily see things in the same way because for her, this is the way things have always been. Moore plays with these two characters brilliantly, instantly giving us the feeling that these two are sisters and their relationship feels very real, there is a lot of love between the pair as well as respect, but their almost opposing world-views are constantly threatening to pull them apart. [caption id="attachment_7448" align="aligncenter" width="696"]Nicola Walker and Claire Rushbrooke as Liv and Tula Nicola Walker and Claire Rushbrooke as Liv and Tula[/caption] The second episode of the set, The Sentient, shows another side to Kaldorian society. Looking after the people for many years, they finally want you to meet Vissy, the daughter you always wanted or never had. Robert Whitelock creates a great tale here, that focuses on people's need for knowledge and Vissy wants to learn about everything. In many ways, its a sci-fi story that's been told time and again, the idea of an A.I gaining too much sentience and trying to destroy humanity but Whitelock makes sure it doesn't re-tread those old tropes and instead delivers a cracking good story, which is part A.I trying to destroy humanity and part the betrayal of a loved one. Vissy is child-like in her mannerisms and as such doesn't understand the world she has been programmed into. She wants to learn about everything, by any means necessary. And that story makes sure Vissy walks the knife-edge of leaving her ignorant and giving her just enough information to make her own decisions. Of course, it all goes wrong, but focusing the story on a child is a unique way of telling this type of story. And its also a story that asks a lot of questions about humanity, in particular, the role of a parent and how a child is brought up. It offers us a lot to consider and particularly in that regard Whitelock, gives us a fantastic second instalment and I look forward to seeing future stories written by him. The set concludes with Love Me Not, from John Dorney. A story that deals with grief and the death of loved ones and people's need to hold onto the past, in some cases, in the extreme. Of course, we don't model robots after dead loved ones, but that is exactly what Volar Crick does when his wife passes away. But Dorney makes sure that this isn't just a story about death, instead its a story about the sometimes uncomfortable topic of mental health. And Dorney delivers this topic in an original way, especially the consequences of what happens when mental-health isn't dealt with properly. And uncomfortable it is supposed to be and the story and themes it deals with are made all the better for that, it makes you sit up and listen. And the cast really rises to the challenge on that mark too. As someone who has dealt with his fair-share of mental-health issues in the past and who continues to sometimes struggle with it, I really appreciated the topic being talked about in Doctor Who in a really intelligent way. Well done Mr Dorney and thank you! With excellent scripts from three talented writers and another great example of why Ken Bentley is one of Big Finish's greatest directors, The Robots boasts an excellent cast, both guest and main, everyone should be very pleased. Nicola Walker has always been excellent and you'll be forgiven if you'd forgotten she first appeared as Liv Chenka opposite the Seventh Doctor in Robophobia as she's made such a name for herself opposite Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor. Here though, Liv proves she is more than capable of stepping out the Doctor's shadow, and carrying a series of her own. And Claire Rushbrooke is just as excellent as Tula, the pair effortlessly feeling like family and sisters. Those themes run particularly strong throughout the set of three stories and so long as Big Finish do nothing too drastic, which I'm sure they won't, I'm really looking forward to hearing where these two characters go in the near future! And maybe we can have Rushbrooke joining the TARDIS team at some point? Pretty please?! Overall then, Volume 1 of The Robots was an absolute blast. Three strong stories which intelligently deal with their themes while throwing some occasionally uncomfortable glances at the nature of humanity are handled with great care and tact. The three stories work perfectly listened too together or separately and with the return of Pool and Toos in Volume 2, two survivors from The Robots of Death, I'm really looking forward to seeing where this range goes!]]>
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Series 12 Review – Spyfall https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/ep250/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ep250 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/ep250/#respond Fri, 10 Jan 2020 07:00:35 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=7500 The Big Blue Box Podcast - Episode 250

The News

Classic Who now on UK streaming service BritBox plus the overnight viewing figures for Spyfall parts 1 and 2.

Merch Corner

The Official Doctor Who Joke book is out in July.

Review story this week is: Spyfall

It feels like more than a year since Series 11 wrapped up but it's finally here! We dive into Spyfall parts 1 and 2. Has the Chibbers taken on board the fan feedback and delivers a belter or are we back to square one? Thank you all for listening this week as we kick-off 2020. Our review story next week will be the Series 12 - Orphan 55. Until then have a great week and remember – Allons-y!]]>
The Big Blue Box Podcast - Episode 250

The News

Classic Who now on UK streaming service BritBox plus the overnight viewing figures for Spyfall parts 1 and 2.

Merch Corner

The Official Doctor Who Joke book is out in July.

Review story this week is: Spyfall

It feels like more than a year since Series 11 wrapped up but it's finally here! We dive into Spyfall parts 1 and 2. Has the Chibbers taken on board the fan feedback and delivers a belter or are we back to square one? Thank you all for listening this week as we kick-off 2020. Our review story next week will be the Series 12 - Orphan 55. Until then have a great week and remember – Allons-y!]]>
https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/ep250/feed/ 0 7500
Doctor Who: Blood on Santa’s Claw And Other Stories – Big Finish Review https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/doctor-who-blood-on-santas-claw-and-other-stories-big-finish-review/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=doctor-who-blood-on-santas-claw-and-other-stories-big-finish-review https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/doctor-who-blood-on-santas-claw-and-other-stories-big-finish-review/#respond Sat, 04 Jan 2020 19:00:18 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=7408

Rounding out the Big Finish main Doctor Who releases in 2019 was Blood On Santa's Claw, an anthology release of four adventures for the  Sixth Doctor, Peri and new companion, Joe, who we are introduced to as Peri's boyfriend.

Blood on Santa's Claw: Written by - Alan Terigo

The set opens with the titular adventure, Blood on Santa's Claw, playing with the title of the Hammer Horror movie, Blood on Satan's Claw. Alan Terigo throws a lot at us for a story that runs for thirty minutes. We've got evil Father Christmas', characters from Shakespeare and The Wind in the Willows, religion and a hefty message on how one person's faith and religious beliefs shouldn't be more important than someone else's. It's a strong message that Doctor Who has rarely touched on for a larger extent and maybe for a good reason because its a topic that could offend people. But Terigo handles it deftly using Shakespeare's work and characters and those figures from Wind in the Willows as metaphors for the different religions that exist today. Understandably a lot of the world-building has to go somewhat out of the window when there is this much plot and so little time to set it all up but Terigo does an excellent job of giving us enough information at the beginning and continuously throughout the script to keep us up to date with the affairs of the planet and the lifeforms on it. We also get the first hints of something else going on and it won't be until the final story, that elements of these adventures will come into play properly. [caption id="attachment_7469" align="aligncenter" width="750"]Cover art for Blood on Santa's Claw and Other Stories Cover art for Blood on Santa's Claw and Other Stories[/caption] New companion Joe doesn't really do anything here and to begin with, I found it very strange but as the set of stories reaches its conclusion it all makes sense. That doesn't mean I really liked the character though. I felt he was a little too snarky, confrontational and sometimes down-right mean, not only to the Doctor but also to Peri. However, it wasn't until the final episode everything came together, however, if we're supposed to be having these four stories with him, we need to like him and listening to the character without any knowledge of what will be happening in the end, might leave you feeling confused or annoyed by the character. But the actor, Luke Allen-Gale does a pretty decent job, especially in the final two episodes where the writers actually gave him something to do! Where Terigo shines though is in his characterisation. The Doctor and Peri feel very authentic to the period they are from and he has a great handle on the guest characters, even if some of them were just made up of religious zealots stereotypes. I really enjoyed the inclusion of Ratty, Mole and Toad though. Here's a little known fact, years ago I played Toad in a production of Wind in the Willows in my local theatre. It's a role I'm still known for around the area I live and that production must be pushing over ten-years ago now! In this story, Roger Parrott played the role of Toad and he did a tremendous job. So from one Toad to another, great job, you did the character proud!

The Baby Awakes: Written by - Susan Dennom

The second story of the set, The Baby Awakes is another tale with a strong relevant message, this time concerning the idea of designer babies and that parents can make sure certain genetic traits are either included or removed from their unborn children. It's another heavy topic and this is the first time that I've seen or heard it used on Doctor Who and it posed some interesting events throughout its half-hour runtime. Joe feels particularly cold-hearted and cruel here, though that isn't Dennom's fault, but yet another unlikable trait of the character. This is a story though that belongs to Nicola Bryant's Peri, who gets the audio-time in a number of heavy scenes and shows that she can do the serious side of acting just as well as she can do the double-act with Colin Baker. In fact, the Doctor also puts her in something of a cruel position, making her go to investigate the mysterious Ishtar institute. Although they are robots, the Institute let her see what her children could be like before they get taken away from her at the end of the story. It's quite painful stuff to listen too and Bryant acquits herself brilliantly, proving yet again why Peri is one of the best companions to come from the original run of the show. The Baby Awakes also introduces us to some concepts that will also come into play in the final two parts and overall is a strong piece of fiction and fits perfectly into the thirty-minute format, and is quite a dark outing for the Doctor and a Christmas story. But it's brilliant nonetheless. [caption id="attachment_7410" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]The cast enjoy the recording in the famous Big Finish carpark! The cast enjoy the recording in the famous Big Finish carpark![/caption]

I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day: Written By - Andrew Lias

This is the story where it all starts to come together. Arriving on a space-station where it seems the same Christmas party has been going on for the last three years, the Doctor, Peri and Joe find themselves stuck yet again in the 59th century an era that all the stories of this set have taken place in, much to the Doctor's disdain as its one of his least favourite centuries. With Silver Robots guarding the Christmas decorations against being taken down, the trio quickly discovers that things aren't as they first appear and it begins to call into question the Doctor's previous actions throughout the other stories in the set. Rightly though, Lias allows the story to belong to Peri and Joe and the script actually gives Gale some time to really develop his character of Joe. I didn't really like his character up to this point but Lias makes sure that this story shows us that he allows Peri to have a different angle to her persona that we haven't seen before. Joe also poses her an interesting question as to whether its time to leave the TARDIS and begin a new life with him. It shows us how much Peri has grown through her travels but also how much she has left to learn and once again Bryant rises to the challenge and has brilliant chemistry with Gale. The story ends on a cliff-hanger that you won't see coming, even though the hints were littered through the scripts of the previous adventures.

Brightly Shone the Moon that Night: Written by - Nev Fountain

Fountain has made quite a name for himself writing stories for the Sixth Doctor and Peri in particular so it seems right that he should be the one to wrap this anthology up. And he does a tremendous job. What makes this one really stand out is that gone is the humour that Fountain is normally known for and he instead gives us a story where the stakes seem ridiculously high. With the Doctor seemingly out of action and Joe having revealed his true colours, it all hinges on Peri. This is a story that introduces us to the Were-Lords an ancient Gallifreyian secret from their earliest times and the Vampire wars. The Doctor has been played throughout the previous outings and everything's lead here. And what is fun is that the Doctor doesn't work it out, Peri does. Some realise that Joe didn't want to go down into the silver mines in the opening stories and what causes the robot children to mutate in the second outing was his DNA and the woman he was talking to in the previous tale was actually his sister in the pack. It'll be up for debate whether the revelation of Joe's nefarious actions impact the actual threat of Were-Lords because it does stop them from feeling like a full-on threat as much of the runtime is taken up with Peri facing off against him. But overall their backstory and their abilities to regenerate indefinitely do pose a credible threat for the Doctor and Peri. And the resolution of the story once again shows us that the Doctor isn't afraid of taking matters into his own hands and giving the villains a less than happy ending if he has too. And Baker really shines in these final moments, giving these Were-Lords a sort of eternal death. Overall Blood on Santa's Claw and Other Stories is a great set of stories that in beginning feel completely separate from each other but in the end, work together to tell one exciting adventure for the Doctor and Peri. Joe will grow on you as the revelation of where he comes from is revealed and Gale really shines in the role. In fact, despite my misgivings about the character in the beginning, I'd quite happily have a trilogy of adventures in the future with these characters because, not only is it interesting for there to be a companion who the Doctor doesn't actually like, knowing that Joe is up to something dodgy in the end might offer us some interesting future adventures. Big Finish did it when they introduced the Seventh Doctor and Elizabeth Klein, one of my favourite audio companions and it would be great for them to do it again here. The scripts from all four writers are strong enough to stand on their own two feet as well as working as a cohesive whole. While not every aspect might work as well as others, it's still a great set of stories to listen too and feels suitably Christmassy for the time of year. Knowing the outcome, it'll be a release I look forward to rediscovering next year to see if I enjoy it even more than I did this time. Definitely one to be checking out.]]>

Rounding out the Big Finish main Doctor Who releases in 2019 was Blood On Santa's Claw, an anthology release of four adventures for the  Sixth Doctor, Peri and new companion, Joe, who we are introduced to as Peri's boyfriend.

Blood on Santa's Claw: Written by - Alan Terigo

The set opens with the titular adventure, Blood on Santa's Claw, playing with the title of the Hammer Horror movie, Blood on Satan's Claw. Alan Terigo throws a lot at us for a story that runs for thirty minutes. We've got evil Father Christmas', characters from Shakespeare and The Wind in the Willows, religion and a hefty message on how one person's faith and religious beliefs shouldn't be more important than someone else's. It's a strong message that Doctor Who has rarely touched on for a larger extent and maybe for a good reason because its a topic that could offend people. But Terigo handles it deftly using Shakespeare's work and characters and those figures from Wind in the Willows as metaphors for the different religions that exist today. Understandably a lot of the world-building has to go somewhat out of the window when there is this much plot and so little time to set it all up but Terigo does an excellent job of giving us enough information at the beginning and continuously throughout the script to keep us up to date with the affairs of the planet and the lifeforms on it. We also get the first hints of something else going on and it won't be until the final story, that elements of these adventures will come into play properly. [caption id="attachment_7469" align="aligncenter" width="750"]Cover art for Blood on Santa's Claw and Other Stories Cover art for Blood on Santa's Claw and Other Stories[/caption] New companion Joe doesn't really do anything here and to begin with, I found it very strange but as the set of stories reaches its conclusion it all makes sense. That doesn't mean I really liked the character though. I felt he was a little too snarky, confrontational and sometimes down-right mean, not only to the Doctor but also to Peri. However, it wasn't until the final episode everything came together, however, if we're supposed to be having these four stories with him, we need to like him and listening to the character without any knowledge of what will be happening in the end, might leave you feeling confused or annoyed by the character. But the actor, Luke Allen-Gale does a pretty decent job, especially in the final two episodes where the writers actually gave him something to do! Where Terigo shines though is in his characterisation. The Doctor and Peri feel very authentic to the period they are from and he has a great handle on the guest characters, even if some of them were just made up of religious zealots stereotypes. I really enjoyed the inclusion of Ratty, Mole and Toad though. Here's a little known fact, years ago I played Toad in a production of Wind in the Willows in my local theatre. It's a role I'm still known for around the area I live and that production must be pushing over ten-years ago now! In this story, Roger Parrott played the role of Toad and he did a tremendous job. So from one Toad to another, great job, you did the character proud!

The Baby Awakes: Written by - Susan Dennom

The second story of the set, The Baby Awakes is another tale with a strong relevant message, this time concerning the idea of designer babies and that parents can make sure certain genetic traits are either included or removed from their unborn children. It's another heavy topic and this is the first time that I've seen or heard it used on Doctor Who and it posed some interesting events throughout its half-hour runtime. Joe feels particularly cold-hearted and cruel here, though that isn't Dennom's fault, but yet another unlikable trait of the character. This is a story though that belongs to Nicola Bryant's Peri, who gets the audio-time in a number of heavy scenes and shows that she can do the serious side of acting just as well as she can do the double-act with Colin Baker. In fact, the Doctor also puts her in something of a cruel position, making her go to investigate the mysterious Ishtar institute. Although they are robots, the Institute let her see what her children could be like before they get taken away from her at the end of the story. It's quite painful stuff to listen too and Bryant acquits herself brilliantly, proving yet again why Peri is one of the best companions to come from the original run of the show. The Baby Awakes also introduces us to some concepts that will also come into play in the final two parts and overall is a strong piece of fiction and fits perfectly into the thirty-minute format, and is quite a dark outing for the Doctor and a Christmas story. But it's brilliant nonetheless. [caption id="attachment_7410" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]The cast enjoy the recording in the famous Big Finish carpark! The cast enjoy the recording in the famous Big Finish carpark![/caption]

I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day: Written By - Andrew Lias

This is the story where it all starts to come together. Arriving on a space-station where it seems the same Christmas party has been going on for the last three years, the Doctor, Peri and Joe find themselves stuck yet again in the 59th century an era that all the stories of this set have taken place in, much to the Doctor's disdain as its one of his least favourite centuries. With Silver Robots guarding the Christmas decorations against being taken down, the trio quickly discovers that things aren't as they first appear and it begins to call into question the Doctor's previous actions throughout the other stories in the set. Rightly though, Lias allows the story to belong to Peri and Joe and the script actually gives Gale some time to really develop his character of Joe. I didn't really like his character up to this point but Lias makes sure that this story shows us that he allows Peri to have a different angle to her persona that we haven't seen before. Joe also poses her an interesting question as to whether its time to leave the TARDIS and begin a new life with him. It shows us how much Peri has grown through her travels but also how much she has left to learn and once again Bryant rises to the challenge and has brilliant chemistry with Gale. The story ends on a cliff-hanger that you won't see coming, even though the hints were littered through the scripts of the previous adventures.

Brightly Shone the Moon that Night: Written by - Nev Fountain

Fountain has made quite a name for himself writing stories for the Sixth Doctor and Peri in particular so it seems right that he should be the one to wrap this anthology up. And he does a tremendous job. What makes this one really stand out is that gone is the humour that Fountain is normally known for and he instead gives us a story where the stakes seem ridiculously high. With the Doctor seemingly out of action and Joe having revealed his true colours, it all hinges on Peri. This is a story that introduces us to the Were-Lords an ancient Gallifreyian secret from their earliest times and the Vampire wars. The Doctor has been played throughout the previous outings and everything's lead here. And what is fun is that the Doctor doesn't work it out, Peri does. Some realise that Joe didn't want to go down into the silver mines in the opening stories and what causes the robot children to mutate in the second outing was his DNA and the woman he was talking to in the previous tale was actually his sister in the pack. It'll be up for debate whether the revelation of Joe's nefarious actions impact the actual threat of Were-Lords because it does stop them from feeling like a full-on threat as much of the runtime is taken up with Peri facing off against him. But overall their backstory and their abilities to regenerate indefinitely do pose a credible threat for the Doctor and Peri. And the resolution of the story once again shows us that the Doctor isn't afraid of taking matters into his own hands and giving the villains a less than happy ending if he has too. And Baker really shines in these final moments, giving these Were-Lords a sort of eternal death. Overall Blood on Santa's Claw and Other Stories is a great set of stories that in beginning feel completely separate from each other but in the end, work together to tell one exciting adventure for the Doctor and Peri. Joe will grow on you as the revelation of where he comes from is revealed and Gale really shines in the role. In fact, despite my misgivings about the character in the beginning, I'd quite happily have a trilogy of adventures in the future with these characters because, not only is it interesting for there to be a companion who the Doctor doesn't actually like, knowing that Joe is up to something dodgy in the end might offer us some interesting future adventures. Big Finish did it when they introduced the Seventh Doctor and Elizabeth Klein, one of my favourite audio companions and it would be great for them to do it again here. The scripts from all four writers are strong enough to stand on their own two feet as well as working as a cohesive whole. While not every aspect might work as well as others, it's still a great set of stories to listen too and feels suitably Christmassy for the time of year. Knowing the outcome, it'll be a release I look forward to rediscovering next year to see if I enjoy it even more than I did this time. Definitely one to be checking out.]]>
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Doctor Who: The Early Adventures 6.2 “Daughter of the Gods” Review https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/doctor-who-the-early-adventures-6-2-daughter-of-the-gods-review/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=doctor-who-the-early-adventures-6-2-daughter-of-the-gods-review https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/doctor-who-the-early-adventures-6-2-daughter-of-the-gods-review/#respond Sat, 04 Jan 2020 12:46:35 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=7390 Daughter of the Gods Review from Big Finish

Daughter of the Gods is an ambitious story from Big Finish and I think this story offers a wide appeal to any classic Who fans fitting as it is as part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of Big Finish.  Two Tardis teams are brought together for this story which for good measure includes a dead companion. The story puts in the mix one of the most interest generating elements of Doctor Who: the Daleks with references to the epic 12-part classic Who story “The Dalek Masterplan” and also presents a grave moral dilemma.

The Clown and the Crotchety Old Man 

I really love the idea of celebrating the early years of Doctor Who by bringing together the first two incarnations the Doctor. It’s a well-used idea pinched from the success of  “The Three Doctors” and “The Five Doctors” The abrasive nature of the 1st Doctor and the bluster of the 2nd Doctor here gives ample opportunity for comedy as well as drama between two very different incarnations. The 2nd Doctor can be quite childlike at times, acting the fool but I enjoyed that he was quite thoughtful and initial frightened by the initial collision. This isn’t a Doctor yet who has become used to bumping into his former selves. The 2nd Doctor is played by Frazer Hines who also plays his character Jamie McCrimmon and whilst Frazer gets certain 2nd Doctor mannerisms spot on I did find myself distracted at times when it didn’t sound quite right. Peter Purves is much more successful playing the 1st Doctor though as well as Steven Taylor though conquering the brash tones of his Doctor.
“When Zoe reattaches an old piece of equipment to the TARDIS console, she, Jamie and the Doctor are very lucky to avoid a collision. But the place they find themselves in may be even more dangerous - because there they encounter another Doctor, a space pilot named Steven... and a young woman called Katarina who really shouldn’t be there...”
The most recent Doctor is the one to see his predecessor first and that is a great hook creating an air of mystery. Writer David K Barnes creates an interesting idea, a reminder, that the 1st Doctor is logically younger than the 2nd Doctor. I suppose we have always taken the 1st Doctor’s appearance as a crotchety old man to heart and the scene where he discusses with Steven Taylor meeting with pals, going to parties and having a jolly good time is a prod in our consciousness that he isn’t always as responsible as he should be. The contrast with Steven’s devotion to duty working at the spaceport and the Doctor’s nonchalance of it reveals a wilful streak of selfishness in the 1st Doctor reminiscent of a younger man. [caption id="attachment_7458" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]Daughter of the Gods from Big Finish Daughter of the Gods from Big Finish[/caption] The volatile first meeting of the 1st and 2nd Doctor with the former furious at the 2nd Doctor for the calamity caused by the collision and refusing to believe Katarina’s eventual fate also shows a dangerous impetuousness. His later accusation of the 2nd Doctor as some kind of traitor does feel shocking, unexpected. Given what I’ve seen on TV I don’t know if I fully believe this stance entirely but it is a subjective opinion. The 1st Doctor gave up his precious granddaughter Susan which hurt him (although her future wasn’t being dead but a chance to live a normal life). Here there will not be an opportunity for him to see Katarina again. His attitude, however, allows an interesting contrast with the 2nd Doctor who has a greater perception of the future, fixed events and the repercussions if things stay as they are. Katarina being alive is an unlikely theme but this story meshes ancient belief and destiny in a thought-provoking way. The idea, in a “Turn Left” way, that one small action diverts predestined events and creates an alternative future. Katarina must always be the sweet but doomed handmaiden companion of the 1st Doctor. Known more as the first companion to die her tenure was only a few episodes in the tv series ( now mostly missing ) so her impact then was probably less than it would be where she was a companion today. The fact that the production team of the time saw a limitation in writing for an ancient historical character and abandoned her to a deadly fate might make you think that there is nothing new to explore. However, this is a welcome opportunity to explore a what-if scenario. Ajjaz Awad does a nice job to portray convincingly Katarina’s devotion in her beliefs and trust of the Doctor. I think it is quite hard to give Katarina huge depth as a character but the storey succeeds because of the affection that her other companions have for her and how they react.

Splitting the characters up

David K Barnes writes the companions well successfully capturing their essence. Zoe Heriot, for me, is probably the least sympathetic but she works well paired with the 2nd Doctor and then Steven as their shared intelligence enables them to work together against the Daleks. Zoe gets impatient with Jamie’s lack of technological knowledge so the pairing of Jamie McCrimmon and Katarina works well. Both characters being from the past share a natural affinity but also are different enough to create interest. Where Jamie attempts to take charge, Katarina matches him in courage. Jamie uses the evidence of his eyes to judge situations and is quite logical. There is instinctive chivalry and protectiveness within him which is allowed to come out with Katarina but is absent around Zoe. [caption id="attachment_7459" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]L–R: David Richardson, Laura Elphinstone, Frazer Hines, Peter Purves, Ajjaz Awad, David K Barnes and Wendy Padbury L–R: David Richardson, Laura Elphinstone, Frazer Hines, Peter Purves, Ajjaz Awad, David K Barnes and Wendy Padbury. The cast of Daughter of the Gods[/caption]

Katarina

I enjoyed Katarina’s slightly different relationships with each of the Doctors. The 1st Doctor takes a scholarly interest in trying to educate Katarina in the differences between science and belief. However, he appreciates he will not be entirely successful. Katarina believes the Doctor a god and although at times is persuaded that the Doctor is mortal and that she is alive the realisation doesn’t last. She isn’t unintelligent but will always be a product of her time with her interpretation of the invasion of the Daleks as a punishment from the gods. Katarina clings to her beliefs to help her understand the world she is flung into. Ancient Greeks did believe in multiple gods and it is understandable that as she fears for her soul all she wants to do is be assisted to reach “her place of perfection” The later discussion where the 2nd Doctor patiently, sorrowfully explains what the future should be to Katarina reflects a mature understanding of how he feels the remorse of her death. The 2nd Doctor requires forgiveness from Katarina but also knows her passing will prevent the deaths of countless other millions. The moment where she decides her fate does break your heart.
A God may choose many faces” Katarina

Boo hiss villains

I greatly enjoyed hearing two separate perspectives of the same event then the story merged into the fallout and a battle for survival against the Daleks. As a listener its satisfying to be privy to knowledge before the characters. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of Daleks in audio as they have a presence that works far better visually. Never the less they are suitably menacing in the story.  The Daleks are particularly dangerous and ruthless due to the success of the time destructor in this reality and merrily go about killing various inhabitants of Kouria city. There are also characters who sacrifice their lives within the story which highlights how important it is to set events back to where they should be. My Highlights The 1st Doctor eating toast and behaving badly The Dalek’s first transmission to Kouria City and the governor The 2nd Doctor’s conversation with Katarina. For those of you drawn in by the emotional heart of this story, there is much to enjoy 8.5/10]]>
Daughter of the Gods Review from Big Finish

Daughter of the Gods is an ambitious story from Big Finish and I think this story offers a wide appeal to any classic Who fans fitting as it is as part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of Big Finish.  Two Tardis teams are brought together for this story which for good measure includes a dead companion. The story puts in the mix one of the most interest generating elements of Doctor Who: the Daleks with references to the epic 12-part classic Who story “The Dalek Masterplan” and also presents a grave moral dilemma.

The Clown and the Crotchety Old Man 

I really love the idea of celebrating the early years of Doctor Who by bringing together the first two incarnations the Doctor. It’s a well-used idea pinched from the success of  “The Three Doctors” and “The Five Doctors” The abrasive nature of the 1st Doctor and the bluster of the 2nd Doctor here gives ample opportunity for comedy as well as drama between two very different incarnations. The 2nd Doctor can be quite childlike at times, acting the fool but I enjoyed that he was quite thoughtful and initial frightened by the initial collision. This isn’t a Doctor yet who has become used to bumping into his former selves. The 2nd Doctor is played by Frazer Hines who also plays his character Jamie McCrimmon and whilst Frazer gets certain 2nd Doctor mannerisms spot on I did find myself distracted at times when it didn’t sound quite right. Peter Purves is much more successful playing the 1st Doctor though as well as Steven Taylor though conquering the brash tones of his Doctor.
“When Zoe reattaches an old piece of equipment to the TARDIS console, she, Jamie and the Doctor are very lucky to avoid a collision. But the place they find themselves in may be even more dangerous - because there they encounter another Doctor, a space pilot named Steven... and a young woman called Katarina who really shouldn’t be there...”
The most recent Doctor is the one to see his predecessor first and that is a great hook creating an air of mystery. Writer David K Barnes creates an interesting idea, a reminder, that the 1st Doctor is logically younger than the 2nd Doctor. I suppose we have always taken the 1st Doctor’s appearance as a crotchety old man to heart and the scene where he discusses with Steven Taylor meeting with pals, going to parties and having a jolly good time is a prod in our consciousness that he isn’t always as responsible as he should be. The contrast with Steven’s devotion to duty working at the spaceport and the Doctor’s nonchalance of it reveals a wilful streak of selfishness in the 1st Doctor reminiscent of a younger man. [caption id="attachment_7458" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]Daughter of the Gods from Big Finish Daughter of the Gods from Big Finish[/caption] The volatile first meeting of the 1st and 2nd Doctor with the former furious at the 2nd Doctor for the calamity caused by the collision and refusing to believe Katarina’s eventual fate also shows a dangerous impetuousness. His later accusation of the 2nd Doctor as some kind of traitor does feel shocking, unexpected. Given what I’ve seen on TV I don’t know if I fully believe this stance entirely but it is a subjective opinion. The 1st Doctor gave up his precious granddaughter Susan which hurt him (although her future wasn’t being dead but a chance to live a normal life). Here there will not be an opportunity for him to see Katarina again. His attitude, however, allows an interesting contrast with the 2nd Doctor who has a greater perception of the future, fixed events and the repercussions if things stay as they are. Katarina being alive is an unlikely theme but this story meshes ancient belief and destiny in a thought-provoking way. The idea, in a “Turn Left” way, that one small action diverts predestined events and creates an alternative future. Katarina must always be the sweet but doomed handmaiden companion of the 1st Doctor. Known more as the first companion to die her tenure was only a few episodes in the tv series ( now mostly missing ) so her impact then was probably less than it would be where she was a companion today. The fact that the production team of the time saw a limitation in writing for an ancient historical character and abandoned her to a deadly fate might make you think that there is nothing new to explore. However, this is a welcome opportunity to explore a what-if scenario. Ajjaz Awad does a nice job to portray convincingly Katarina’s devotion in her beliefs and trust of the Doctor. I think it is quite hard to give Katarina huge depth as a character but the storey succeeds because of the affection that her other companions have for her and how they react.

Splitting the characters up

David K Barnes writes the companions well successfully capturing their essence. Zoe Heriot, for me, is probably the least sympathetic but she works well paired with the 2nd Doctor and then Steven as their shared intelligence enables them to work together against the Daleks. Zoe gets impatient with Jamie’s lack of technological knowledge so the pairing of Jamie McCrimmon and Katarina works well. Both characters being from the past share a natural affinity but also are different enough to create interest. Where Jamie attempts to take charge, Katarina matches him in courage. Jamie uses the evidence of his eyes to judge situations and is quite logical. There is instinctive chivalry and protectiveness within him which is allowed to come out with Katarina but is absent around Zoe. [caption id="attachment_7459" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]L–R: David Richardson, Laura Elphinstone, Frazer Hines, Peter Purves, Ajjaz Awad, David K Barnes and Wendy Padbury L–R: David Richardson, Laura Elphinstone, Frazer Hines, Peter Purves, Ajjaz Awad, David K Barnes and Wendy Padbury. The cast of Daughter of the Gods[/caption]

Katarina

I enjoyed Katarina’s slightly different relationships with each of the Doctors. The 1st Doctor takes a scholarly interest in trying to educate Katarina in the differences between science and belief. However, he appreciates he will not be entirely successful. Katarina believes the Doctor a god and although at times is persuaded that the Doctor is mortal and that she is alive the realisation doesn’t last. She isn’t unintelligent but will always be a product of her time with her interpretation of the invasion of the Daleks as a punishment from the gods. Katarina clings to her beliefs to help her understand the world she is flung into. Ancient Greeks did believe in multiple gods and it is understandable that as she fears for her soul all she wants to do is be assisted to reach “her place of perfection” The later discussion where the 2nd Doctor patiently, sorrowfully explains what the future should be to Katarina reflects a mature understanding of how he feels the remorse of her death. The 2nd Doctor requires forgiveness from Katarina but also knows her passing will prevent the deaths of countless other millions. The moment where she decides her fate does break your heart.
A God may choose many faces” Katarina

Boo hiss villains

I greatly enjoyed hearing two separate perspectives of the same event then the story merged into the fallout and a battle for survival against the Daleks. As a listener its satisfying to be privy to knowledge before the characters. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of Daleks in audio as they have a presence that works far better visually. Never the less they are suitably menacing in the story.  The Daleks are particularly dangerous and ruthless due to the success of the time destructor in this reality and merrily go about killing various inhabitants of Kouria city. There are also characters who sacrifice their lives within the story which highlights how important it is to set events back to where they should be. My Highlights The 1st Doctor eating toast and behaving badly The Dalek’s first transmission to Kouria City and the governor The 2nd Doctor’s conversation with Katarina. For those of you drawn in by the emotional heart of this story, there is much to enjoy 8.5/10]]>
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See ya 2019, hey there 2020 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/see-ya-2019-hey-there-2020/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=see-ya-2019-hey-there-2020 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/see-ya-2019-hey-there-2020/#respond Wed, 01 Jan 2020 16:38:15 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=7428 See ya 2019, hey there 2020

As a self-imposed tradition, I wanted to throw some love to all of our listeners and readers with a big thank you for all your support in 2019 and what's coming in 2020.

Overall, 2019 was a great year for us albeit with a couple of niggles along the way. It always amazes me year after year the appetite for Doctor Who content both audio and the written word. When I started this podcast back in March 2014, I expected it to be around for a year, maybe two, then fade away but alas, we're still going strong.

The Podcast

As I mentioned, it amazes me just how much Doctor Who fans want to consume additional content when there's no new Who on the telly box. I listen to a bunch of Doctor Who podcats every week and some of them have been going for years. I never compare our show to others but I often reflect on just how long we've been podcasting for. This year will be our sixth year. Six years podcasting about Doctor Who! That's crazy to me and whenever I mention it to Adam his reaction is the same: "blimey, has it been that long?".

The reason we've been going this long is due to the amazing listeners we have. You lot. You guys that download and listen to our show every week. We love doing the show of course but what drives us to keep going are our listeners. We love and appreciate every single one of you who take the time to listen but also interact with us by sending us a review for the story we're doing that week, posting a review on Apple Podcasts (or whatever podcast app/network you listen on) or just tweeting us to say hi.

Since we started in 2014 our listener numbers have gone up significantly each year and last year was no different. 2019 was our best year to date which I was surprised at, seeing as we went for roughly a year with no new Who. With nothing coming from the BBC the general awareness of Who tends to drop (unless you consume plenty of stuff from Big Finish) which is why, I guess, lots of you tend to seek our podcasts, YouTubers etc.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BugZn9_h2i7/

It wasn't all smooth sailing, however. Adam and I hit a couple of road bumps in the last half of 2019 due to life changes and commitments: Adam was away from home for a couple of months, I moved house, Adam found new employment which changed our recording schedule, I was travelling a bit and work as also busy. These things combined threw some challenges and we couldn't put out the podcast in our normal schedule.

You guys came through though. Not only did you not mind when we missed weeks (well, you did a little bit 😉) but you supported us and stood by us. Our listeners/downloads/subscriber numbers didn't drop. You kept us going which we'll always be grateful for. Thank you all so much for that.

Moving into 2020 we'll carry on our weekly schedule (we'll miss the odd one, that's bound to happen) of reviewing Classic, Modern, SJA and Torchwood. We've still got tonnes of Classic Who left to review along with the new series starting today(!), more 10th and 11th Doctor stories and the rest of SJA and Torchwood.

Outside of the podcast, we'll also be out and about at various comic cons, events and screenings as always and will enjoy having a good ol' natter over a pint with you lot. You never know, we may even start that "Big Blue Box TV" YouTube channel this year!

The Articles

At the end of 2017, I opened the doors of the TARDIS to you and took on a bunch of writers to contribute reviews, editorials and general articles. To say that they have put out plenty of awesome content is an understatement. We've had loads of Big Finish reviews, books and events. Editorials on Who collecting and general various subjects.

I can't tell you how grateful I am to those guys. With nothing more than their love of Doctor Who and in their own time (they've also had their own life challenges which is even more remarkable), they put out articles regularly. Maria, Jordan and Mark (and some of our earlier writers who were with us briefly) - thank you all so much. Love ya! We've had great feedback and comments and I can't wait to read your articles this year.

Early this year I'll be opening our doors once again on the lookout for a couple of contributors so keep your eyes peeled for that.

In summary

In closing, thank you all so much for listening to our show and/or reading our blog this year. You guys are awesome and really do make what we all do worth it. 2019 has been a blast and I can't wait to see what 2020 will bring. With the new series kicking off today it's an exciting time and for the rest of the year, we'll be here, bringing you Doctor Who content as always.

From Adam, our writers and I, here's to a great New Year and once again thank you. Thank you all so much ❤️

]]>
See ya 2019, hey there 2020

As a self-imposed tradition, I wanted to throw some love to all of our listeners and readers with a big thank you for all your support in 2019 and what's coming in 2020.

Overall, 2019 was a great year for us albeit with a couple of niggles along the way. It always amazes me year after year the appetite for Doctor Who content both audio and the written word. When I started this podcast back in March 2014, I expected it to be around for a year, maybe two, then fade away but alas, we're still going strong.

The Podcast

As I mentioned, it amazes me just how much Doctor Who fans want to consume additional content when there's no new Who on the telly box. I listen to a bunch of Doctor Who podcats every week and some of them have been going for years. I never compare our show to others but I often reflect on just how long we've been podcasting for. This year will be our sixth year. Six years podcasting about Doctor Who! That's crazy to me and whenever I mention it to Adam his reaction is the same: "blimey, has it been that long?".

The reason we've been going this long is due to the amazing listeners we have. You lot. You guys that download and listen to our show every week. We love doing the show of course but what drives us to keep going are our listeners. We love and appreciate every single one of you who take the time to listen but also interact with us by sending us a review for the story we're doing that week, posting a review on Apple Podcasts (or whatever podcast app/network you listen on) or just tweeting us to say hi.

Since we started in 2014 our listener numbers have gone up significantly each year and last year was no different. 2019 was our best year to date which I was surprised at, seeing as we went for roughly a year with no new Who. With nothing coming from the BBC the general awareness of Who tends to drop (unless you consume plenty of stuff from Big Finish) which is why, I guess, lots of you tend to seek our podcasts, YouTubers etc.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BugZn9_h2i7/

It wasn't all smooth sailing, however. Adam and I hit a couple of road bumps in the last half of 2019 due to life changes and commitments: Adam was away from home for a couple of months, I moved house, Adam found new employment which changed our recording schedule, I was travelling a bit and work as also busy. These things combined threw some challenges and we couldn't put out the podcast in our normal schedule.

You guys came through though. Not only did you not mind when we missed weeks (well, you did a little bit 😉) but you supported us and stood by us. Our listeners/downloads/subscriber numbers didn't drop. You kept us going which we'll always be grateful for. Thank you all so much for that.

Moving into 2020 we'll carry on our weekly schedule (we'll miss the odd one, that's bound to happen) of reviewing Classic, Modern, SJA and Torchwood. We've still got tonnes of Classic Who left to review along with the new series starting today(!), more 10th and 11th Doctor stories and the rest of SJA and Torchwood.

Outside of the podcast, we'll also be out and about at various comic cons, events and screenings as always and will enjoy having a good ol' natter over a pint with you lot. You never know, we may even start that "Big Blue Box TV" YouTube channel this year!

The Articles

At the end of 2017, I opened the doors of the TARDIS to you and took on a bunch of writers to contribute reviews, editorials and general articles. To say that they have put out plenty of awesome content is an understatement. We've had loads of Big Finish reviews, books and events. Editorials on Who collecting and general various subjects.

I can't tell you how grateful I am to those guys. With nothing more than their love of Doctor Who and in their own time (they've also had their own life challenges which is even more remarkable), they put out articles regularly. Maria, Jordan and Mark (and some of our earlier writers who were with us briefly) - thank you all so much. Love ya! We've had great feedback and comments and I can't wait to read your articles this year.

Early this year I'll be opening our doors once again on the lookout for a couple of contributors so keep your eyes peeled for that.

In summary

In closing, thank you all so much for listening to our show and/or reading our blog this year. You guys are awesome and really do make what we all do worth it. 2019 has been a blast and I can't wait to see what 2020 will bring. With the new series kicking off today it's an exciting time and for the rest of the year, we'll be here, bringing you Doctor Who content as always.

From Adam, our writers and I, here's to a great New Year and once again thank you. Thank you all so much ❤️

]]>
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