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. Wed, 16 Oct 2019 09:46:25 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.4 71078257 Doctor Who – Ep243: Homo reptilia vs. The Doctor https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/ep243/ https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/ep243/#respond Fri, 18 Oct 2019 06:00:01 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=6505 The Big Blue Box Podcast - Episode 243

Hey, Who fans!

The News

We say Happy Birthday to Doctor Who Magazine who is still going strong after 40 years and sadly we say goodbye to Stephen Moore (coincidentally Stephen played "Eldane" in our review story this week) who passed recently.

Merch Corner

Another unofficial Doctor Who Annual is on its way. After the success of the 1972 Annual, this fan project from Terraqueous Distributors is now working on the 1987 Sixth Doctor release - details here. A new Doctor Who retailer is about to launch here in the UK! Yes, new Who-specific company "The Time Meddlers" launches on November 5th with their website and site located in central London's Convent Garden Jubilee Market. Sign up here for an exclusive pre-launch discount of 25%. Exciting times for Who merch hunters.

Review story this week is The Hungry Earth and Cold Blood

We haven't spent any time with the Eleventh Doctor nor Series 5 in a while so does this story bring back good memories or are we pulled under the ground in nostalgic disappointment? Thank you all for listening this week. Our review story next week will be SJA: The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith. Until then have a great week and remember - Allons-y!]]>
The Big Blue Box Podcast - Episode 243

Hey, Who fans!

The News

We say Happy Birthday to Doctor Who Magazine who is still going strong after 40 years and sadly we say goodbye to Stephen Moore (coincidentally Stephen played "Eldane" in our review story this week) who passed recently.

Merch Corner

Another unofficial Doctor Who Annual is on its way. After the success of the 1972 Annual, this fan project from Terraqueous Distributors is now working on the 1987 Sixth Doctor release - details here. A new Doctor Who retailer is about to launch here in the UK! Yes, new Who-specific company "The Time Meddlers" launches on November 5th with their website and site located in central London's Convent Garden Jubilee Market. Sign up here for an exclusive pre-launch discount of 25%. Exciting times for Who merch hunters.

Review story this week is The Hungry Earth and Cold Blood

We haven't spent any time with the Eleventh Doctor nor Series 5 in a while so does this story bring back good memories or are we pulled under the ground in nostalgic disappointment? Thank you all for listening this week. Our review story next week will be SJA: The Wedding of Sarah Jane Smith. Until then have a great week and remember - Allons-y!]]>
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Big Finish Review: The Second Oldest Question https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/big-finish-review-the-second-oldest-question/ https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/big-finish-review-the-second-oldest-question/#respond Wed, 16 Oct 2019 08:10:58 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=6470

Hot off the heels of Dead Media's release, literally a couple of days afterwards, Big Finish went ahead and tackled The Second Oldest Question. We already know the answer to the first question, the oldest question in the universe but what about the second and what does it have to do with a chicken? [caption id="attachment_6500" align="aligncenter" width="611"]Cover Art For The Second Oldest Question Cover Art For The Second Oldest Question[/caption] One glance at the cover for The Second Oldest Question will tell you everything you need to know but that doesn't mean that you should skip this release as Carrie Thompson has crafted a very enjoyable little story here. Arriving in Medieval England, the Doctor and Nyssa find themselves in a town that has just suffered a devastating fire and the villagers suspect a chicken of causing it to happen. The chicken has taken to the stand and when the Doctor goes to the chicken's defence, he finds himself uncovering a rather strange conspiracy. If all that sounds off, that is because it is an odd little story, but packed with plenty of heart and moments to enjoy and Thompson has given us the kind of crazy storyline that only Doctor Who can deliver! Thompson gives us the story through the eyes of Nyssa, played by Sarah Sutton who also works as the narrator for this story, who watches on as the Doctor defends his new friend against a crime that he couldn't have possibly committed. Thompson has the characters down perfectly and it's easy to fit this story early into the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa's solo adventures between Time-Flight and Arc of Infinity. Thompson gets the characters right and you can clearly see that these are the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa, even if the story does feel like it could fit any TARDIS team into it. For her part, Sarah Sutton does a brilliant job as always and brings the story to life with expertise and ease. She voices the other characters with enough difference to be able to tell them apart and her approach to the Fifth Doctor has the same calm approach that Davison handled the role with. Overall, The Second Oldest Question is another successful release for the Short Trips audio range and another welcome addition to the Fifth Doctor's era. The Fifth Doctor is my favourite Doctor so any audio from his era is going to be a success with me but this is a particularly enjoyable way to spend a half-hour. And isn't that what we all want from a Short Trip?]]>

Hot off the heels of Dead Media's release, literally a couple of days afterwards, Big Finish went ahead and tackled The Second Oldest Question. We already know the answer to the first question, the oldest question in the universe but what about the second and what does it have to do with a chicken? [caption id="attachment_6500" align="aligncenter" width="611"]Cover Art For The Second Oldest Question Cover Art For The Second Oldest Question[/caption] One glance at the cover for The Second Oldest Question will tell you everything you need to know but that doesn't mean that you should skip this release as Carrie Thompson has crafted a very enjoyable little story here. Arriving in Medieval England, the Doctor and Nyssa find themselves in a town that has just suffered a devastating fire and the villagers suspect a chicken of causing it to happen. The chicken has taken to the stand and when the Doctor goes to the chicken's defence, he finds himself uncovering a rather strange conspiracy. If all that sounds off, that is because it is an odd little story, but packed with plenty of heart and moments to enjoy and Thompson has given us the kind of crazy storyline that only Doctor Who can deliver! Thompson gives us the story through the eyes of Nyssa, played by Sarah Sutton who also works as the narrator for this story, who watches on as the Doctor defends his new friend against a crime that he couldn't have possibly committed. Thompson has the characters down perfectly and it's easy to fit this story early into the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa's solo adventures between Time-Flight and Arc of Infinity. Thompson gets the characters right and you can clearly see that these are the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa, even if the story does feel like it could fit any TARDIS team into it. For her part, Sarah Sutton does a brilliant job as always and brings the story to life with expertise and ease. She voices the other characters with enough difference to be able to tell them apart and her approach to the Fifth Doctor has the same calm approach that Davison handled the role with. Overall, The Second Oldest Question is another successful release for the Short Trips audio range and another welcome addition to the Fifth Doctor's era. The Fifth Doctor is my favourite Doctor so any audio from his era is going to be a success with me but this is a particularly enjoyable way to spend a half-hour. And isn't that what we all want from a Short Trip?]]>
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Torchwood – Ep242: Scarves, NYCC Exclusives and Torchwood Fight Club https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/ep242/ https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/ep242/#respond Fri, 11 Oct 2019 06:00:23 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=6474 The Big Blue Box Podcast - Episode 242

Hey, Who fans!

The News

Still very quiet for news, nothing of note to report on.

Merch Corner

Lovarzi's new 13th Doctor scarf will be landing on their site from 11th October and if you sign up to their DW Fan Club you'll get 15% off too. We also mention the two Doctor Who NYCC Exclusives from Titan.

Review story this week is Torchwood: Combat

Written by Noel Clarke, this story throws Owen into an undercover role which reveals a violent underworld involving Weevles and Gwen tumbles deeper down the path of regret. All deep dark stuff but does it serve up that TW grit? Thank you all so much for listening this week. Our review story next week will be the 11th Doctor two-parter: The Hungry Earth and Cold Blood. Until then have a great week and remember - Allons-y!]]>
The Big Blue Box Podcast - Episode 242

Hey, Who fans!

The News

Still very quiet for news, nothing of note to report on.

Merch Corner

Lovarzi's new 13th Doctor scarf will be landing on their site from 11th October and if you sign up to their DW Fan Club you'll get 15% off too. We also mention the two Doctor Who NYCC Exclusives from Titan.

Review story this week is Torchwood: Combat

Written by Noel Clarke, this story throws Owen into an undercover role which reveals a violent underworld involving Weevles and Gwen tumbles deeper down the path of regret. All deep dark stuff but does it serve up that TW grit? Thank you all so much for listening this week. Our review story next week will be the 11th Doctor two-parter: The Hungry Earth and Cold Blood. Until then have a great week and remember - Allons-y!]]>
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Big Finish Review: Doctor Who – Dead Media https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/big-finish-review-doctor-who-dead-media/ https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/big-finish-review-doctor-who-dead-media/#respond Thu, 10 Oct 2019 18:30:07 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=6466 Big Finish Review - Doctor Who Short Trips Dead Media

Set a little while before the Twelfth Doctor met Bill Potts in Series 10, Dead Media gives us a rather strange entry into the Doctor's mysterious time as a lecturer at St. Luke's University. [caption id="attachment_6483" align="aligncenter" width="1417"]Cover art for Dead Media Cover art for Dead Media[/caption] Each release in the Short Trips range comes with its own narrator and this time, that role has been given to the young Jacob Dudman, a very good impressionist, who so far has made his name in the Doctor Who circles for his impressive takes on both David Tennant and Matt Smith. If you haven't already check out the collaboration video he did with fellow impressionist, Jon Culshaw called The Curator, set during The Day of the Doctor, it's great. Here though, he gets to sink his teeth into the role of the Twelfth Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi. And boy does he do it justice. Now, his impersonation might not be spot-on but Capaldi has a very hard voice to imitate and he is a lot older than Dudman so that must make it harder to emulate. And Capaldi stands as one of my favourite Doctor's and certainly my favourite incarnation of the character to come out of the modern era, so I won't be entirely happy until he turns up again and performs the role himself, maybe with a boxset with Bill, Nardole and Missy? Pretty please Big Finish? But Dudman does a great job with the material and he captures the way that Capaldi performed the role brilliantly. All the little quirks and tweaks he did with his voice is here as well as the disdainful way the Twelfth Doctor would deal with situations. It was great to hear and I'm looking forward to seeing what Dudman can do with the upcoming Twelfth Doctor Chronicles, coming out in February 2020. As a narrator, Dudman also does a great job bringing the story to life, barely pausing for breath. In fact, he keeps the story rattling along at a great pace. [caption id="attachment_6468" align="aligncenter" width="588"]Jacob Dudman behind the scenes at Big Finish Jacob Dudman behind the scenes at Big Finish[/caption] In many ways, Dead Media is in the same experimental vein as a lot of early Big Finish releases. Some of them, like Whispers of Terror and Creatures of Beauty amongst many others, went to great pains to explore the audio format and tried to find new ways to tell a story. Author John Richards has set the story in a podcast, which the Twelfth Doctor is hosting, much to his disdain. But Richards makes sure we know the Doctor actually has a good time getting to try this out, even if the story itself is surprisingly sad by the end and hits you really hard when you realise how invested you'd become in these characters. Richards also draws some interesting parallels between the Third Doctor's exile and the Twelfth Doctor's choice to stay in one place at one time. I think that was perhaps one of Series 10's biggest successes was that it wasn't the Doctor flying off around in space for big intergalactic battles a lot of the time, but it actually brought the action back to Earth and closer to home and that was a formula that had worked in the show's favour in the past. Richards also gives us some nice continuity references from both the classic and modern eras of the show, my favourite being the mention of Ace and the Cybermen in Silver Nemesis. Overall Dead Media does brilliant justice to the Twelfth Doctor and gives us another enjoyable outing for this incarnation. The script from John Richards is excellent and the story is helped along wonderfully by director Nicholas Briggs who makes sure to keep things on track. And Jacob Dudman is just brilliant, bringing the Twelfth Doctor's spirit and energy alive like it was on the television series. He should be very proud of himself. Dead Media is certainly one to check out!]]>
Big Finish Review - Doctor Who Short Trips Dead Media

Set a little while before the Twelfth Doctor met Bill Potts in Series 10, Dead Media gives us a rather strange entry into the Doctor's mysterious time as a lecturer at St. Luke's University. [caption id="attachment_6483" align="aligncenter" width="1417"]Cover art for Dead Media Cover art for Dead Media[/caption] Each release in the Short Trips range comes with its own narrator and this time, that role has been given to the young Jacob Dudman, a very good impressionist, who so far has made his name in the Doctor Who circles for his impressive takes on both David Tennant and Matt Smith. If you haven't already check out the collaboration video he did with fellow impressionist, Jon Culshaw called The Curator, set during The Day of the Doctor, it's great. Here though, he gets to sink his teeth into the role of the Twelfth Doctor, played by Peter Capaldi. And boy does he do it justice. Now, his impersonation might not be spot-on but Capaldi has a very hard voice to imitate and he is a lot older than Dudman so that must make it harder to emulate. And Capaldi stands as one of my favourite Doctor's and certainly my favourite incarnation of the character to come out of the modern era, so I won't be entirely happy until he turns up again and performs the role himself, maybe with a boxset with Bill, Nardole and Missy? Pretty please Big Finish? But Dudman does a great job with the material and he captures the way that Capaldi performed the role brilliantly. All the little quirks and tweaks he did with his voice is here as well as the disdainful way the Twelfth Doctor would deal with situations. It was great to hear and I'm looking forward to seeing what Dudman can do with the upcoming Twelfth Doctor Chronicles, coming out in February 2020. As a narrator, Dudman also does a great job bringing the story to life, barely pausing for breath. In fact, he keeps the story rattling along at a great pace. [caption id="attachment_6468" align="aligncenter" width="588"]Jacob Dudman behind the scenes at Big Finish Jacob Dudman behind the scenes at Big Finish[/caption] In many ways, Dead Media is in the same experimental vein as a lot of early Big Finish releases. Some of them, like Whispers of Terror and Creatures of Beauty amongst many others, went to great pains to explore the audio format and tried to find new ways to tell a story. Author John Richards has set the story in a podcast, which the Twelfth Doctor is hosting, much to his disdain. But Richards makes sure we know the Doctor actually has a good time getting to try this out, even if the story itself is surprisingly sad by the end and hits you really hard when you realise how invested you'd become in these characters. Richards also draws some interesting parallels between the Third Doctor's exile and the Twelfth Doctor's choice to stay in one place at one time. I think that was perhaps one of Series 10's biggest successes was that it wasn't the Doctor flying off around in space for big intergalactic battles a lot of the time, but it actually brought the action back to Earth and closer to home and that was a formula that had worked in the show's favour in the past. Richards also gives us some nice continuity references from both the classic and modern eras of the show, my favourite being the mention of Ace and the Cybermen in Silver Nemesis. Overall Dead Media does brilliant justice to the Twelfth Doctor and gives us another enjoyable outing for this incarnation. The script from John Richards is excellent and the story is helped along wonderfully by director Nicholas Briggs who makes sure to keep things on track. And Jacob Dudman is just brilliant, bringing the Twelfth Doctor's spirit and energy alive like it was on the television series. He should be very proud of himself. Dead Media is certainly one to check out!]]>
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Big Finish Review: Doctor Who – Harry Houdini’s War https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/big-finish-review-doctor-who-harry-houdinis-war/ https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/big-finish-review-doctor-who-harry-houdinis-war/#respond Thu, 10 Oct 2019 09:59:25 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=6450

It's the end. But the moment has been prepared for. Sort of. Harry Houdini's War brings to an end the recent Sixth Doctor and Peri trilogy to a close and while we're getting a boxset with this duo next year, Harry Houdini's War feels like a conclusion of their story altogether. A bit more of that as we go on. [caption id="attachment_6456" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]The glorious cover for Harry Houdini's War The glorious cover for Harry Houdini's War[/caption] I wasn't too sure what to make of this story when Big Finish announced it. It certainly has a strange title, playing on the 1980s Target book, Harry Sullivan's War. But thanks to the stunning cover from Lee Johnson, I decided to pick it up and boy am I glad that I did! Another factor that played heavily into me picking this audio up was that it was written by Steve Lyons, someone whose writing I really enjoy, I have yet to meet a story from him that I don't like, in fact, Son of the Dragon is one of my favourite Doctor Who adventures all-together and this story will probably be up there too. Lyons usually does a time-travel story of some sorts and while this story is set in America and Germany in WW1, there aren't any timey-whimy elements to be seen at all. Instead what we get is a fun run-around with plenty of action, mystery and aerial-battles. For someone we've heard the Doctor mention having met lots of times before, it's surprising that no-one has ever brought Houdini into a story like this before. I think there was another Lyon's script from The Destiny of the Doctor range a few years back but this is my first real encounter with the great escape artiste. And Lyon's doesn't shy away from the fact that the Doctor has met Houdini before. Indeed a lot of their great dialogue from the first episode comes from the fact that Houdini is trying to work out if this is his old-friend or not because he's changed his face yet again. Playing Harry Houdini is John Schwab and it is clear how much fun he is having here. His performance makes this story feel like a lost-television adventure, so clear does he make things. He has great chemistry with the entire cast and his performance is almost in the same vein as John Barrowman's as Captain Jack. He is naughty and cheeky but serious at the same time. He doesn't like what his home-country has done and he is trying to distance himself from it while they are trying to drag him kicking and screaming back into the fold. It's a great place for a character to be and leads to a number of serious moments that Schwab plays to perfection. I felt quite sad at the end that he doesn't leave with the Doctor at the end so that they can get a trilogy of future adventures! What also feels different is that this isn't a story told in the same vein as other Sixth Doctor stories. Actually, this one feels a lot more like a Seventh Doctor adventure with the Sixth Doctor getting to be the manipulative one and playing his cards close to his chest. You genuinely don't know where this tale is going to go the whole way through the runtime and that was a great feeling. [caption id="attachment_6457" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]The cast for Harry Houdini's War The cast for Harry Houdini's War[/caption] The main cast is also excellent with Colin Baker proving once again why he is such a great incarnation of the Doctor. I liked his manipulative side getting to be front and centre here and again, for the first time in a long time, you genuinely didn't know what he was going to do next. Baker clearly enjoyed that dynamic too as well as the script because he sounds like he is having a blast here. Nicola Bryant is still great as Peri too. But is she really Peri here? Well, you'll have to listen to the story to find out because it was a great twist and secondary mystery that unfolds as the story rattles towards its conclusion. Peri has always been one of my favourite companions and this story proves yet again why she is so great. She's funny and sarcastic but clearly enjoys her travels with the Doctor and she shares a great dynamic with Houdini, especially when they find themselves trapped in a WW1 plane together with no other option but to fly. It's great stuff that is played superbly by Bryant. I can't wait to hear Blood on Santa's Claws at the end of the year! Rounding out the cast are Fiona Bruce, Mark Elstob and Glen McCready as Helen, Oberst Brandt and Professor Winter respectively. All of whom manage to add plenty of humanity to their characters be it as goodies or baddies and it really added to the story, with their going the extra mile helping to elevate the script to even higher heights. Ken Bentley knows how to get the best of his casts and one of the best directors at Big Finish and here he delivers another cracking adventure with some terrific sound design from Joe Meiners, that really keeps the listener engaged throughout. As you might have guessed, I really enjoyed Harry Houdini's War and its a nice oddity. Steve Lyons always delivers the goods with his work at Big Finish and this is another hit and certainly one of my favourite releases from them this year. But on a more emotional note, it is a story that sees the Doctor say goodbye to Peri in a way that sets this story apart from the trilogy it is part of. To say any more would spoil this experience but you should definitely check this story out, I've a feeling it might just be one of the strongest Sixth Doctor stories told of all time.]]>

It's the end. But the moment has been prepared for. Sort of. Harry Houdini's War brings to an end the recent Sixth Doctor and Peri trilogy to a close and while we're getting a boxset with this duo next year, Harry Houdini's War feels like a conclusion of their story altogether. A bit more of that as we go on. [caption id="attachment_6456" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]The glorious cover for Harry Houdini's War The glorious cover for Harry Houdini's War[/caption] I wasn't too sure what to make of this story when Big Finish announced it. It certainly has a strange title, playing on the 1980s Target book, Harry Sullivan's War. But thanks to the stunning cover from Lee Johnson, I decided to pick it up and boy am I glad that I did! Another factor that played heavily into me picking this audio up was that it was written by Steve Lyons, someone whose writing I really enjoy, I have yet to meet a story from him that I don't like, in fact, Son of the Dragon is one of my favourite Doctor Who adventures all-together and this story will probably be up there too. Lyons usually does a time-travel story of some sorts and while this story is set in America and Germany in WW1, there aren't any timey-whimy elements to be seen at all. Instead what we get is a fun run-around with plenty of action, mystery and aerial-battles. For someone we've heard the Doctor mention having met lots of times before, it's surprising that no-one has ever brought Houdini into a story like this before. I think there was another Lyon's script from The Destiny of the Doctor range a few years back but this is my first real encounter with the great escape artiste. And Lyon's doesn't shy away from the fact that the Doctor has met Houdini before. Indeed a lot of their great dialogue from the first episode comes from the fact that Houdini is trying to work out if this is his old-friend or not because he's changed his face yet again. Playing Harry Houdini is John Schwab and it is clear how much fun he is having here. His performance makes this story feel like a lost-television adventure, so clear does he make things. He has great chemistry with the entire cast and his performance is almost in the same vein as John Barrowman's as Captain Jack. He is naughty and cheeky but serious at the same time. He doesn't like what his home-country has done and he is trying to distance himself from it while they are trying to drag him kicking and screaming back into the fold. It's a great place for a character to be and leads to a number of serious moments that Schwab plays to perfection. I felt quite sad at the end that he doesn't leave with the Doctor at the end so that they can get a trilogy of future adventures! What also feels different is that this isn't a story told in the same vein as other Sixth Doctor stories. Actually, this one feels a lot more like a Seventh Doctor adventure with the Sixth Doctor getting to be the manipulative one and playing his cards close to his chest. You genuinely don't know where this tale is going to go the whole way through the runtime and that was a great feeling. [caption id="attachment_6457" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]The cast for Harry Houdini's War The cast for Harry Houdini's War[/caption] The main cast is also excellent with Colin Baker proving once again why he is such a great incarnation of the Doctor. I liked his manipulative side getting to be front and centre here and again, for the first time in a long time, you genuinely didn't know what he was going to do next. Baker clearly enjoyed that dynamic too as well as the script because he sounds like he is having a blast here. Nicola Bryant is still great as Peri too. But is she really Peri here? Well, you'll have to listen to the story to find out because it was a great twist and secondary mystery that unfolds as the story rattles towards its conclusion. Peri has always been one of my favourite companions and this story proves yet again why she is so great. She's funny and sarcastic but clearly enjoys her travels with the Doctor and she shares a great dynamic with Houdini, especially when they find themselves trapped in a WW1 plane together with no other option but to fly. It's great stuff that is played superbly by Bryant. I can't wait to hear Blood on Santa's Claws at the end of the year! Rounding out the cast are Fiona Bruce, Mark Elstob and Glen McCready as Helen, Oberst Brandt and Professor Winter respectively. All of whom manage to add plenty of humanity to their characters be it as goodies or baddies and it really added to the story, with their going the extra mile helping to elevate the script to even higher heights. Ken Bentley knows how to get the best of his casts and one of the best directors at Big Finish and here he delivers another cracking adventure with some terrific sound design from Joe Meiners, that really keeps the listener engaged throughout. As you might have guessed, I really enjoyed Harry Houdini's War and its a nice oddity. Steve Lyons always delivers the goods with his work at Big Finish and this is another hit and certainly one of my favourite releases from them this year. But on a more emotional note, it is a story that sees the Doctor say goodbye to Peri in a way that sets this story apart from the trilogy it is part of. To say any more would spoil this experience but you should definitely check this story out, I've a feeling it might just be one of the strongest Sixth Doctor stories told of all time.]]>
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Doctor Who – Ep241: We’re back with news, merch and anti-matter Omega https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/ep241/ https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/ep241/#respond Fri, 04 Oct 2019 06:00:13 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=6460 The Big Blue Box Podcast - Episode 241

Hey, Who fans!

It is sooo good to be back and chatting Doctor Who. Let's get into it...

The News

Chris Eccleston seems to be embracing fandom recently and another example of that is the announcement that he'll be attending the Gallifrey One convention next February. Nice one Chris.

Merch Corner

Fan of Martha Jones? If so then you'll be pleased to know Freema Agyeman is returning to the world of Doctor Who to star alongside Eve Myles in Big Finish's "Torchwood: Dissected" which is out in February 2020 and if you're in need of a new laptop bag, Lovarzi has you covered with their new TARDIS themed offering.

Review story this week: Arc of Infinity

Back to Gallifrey, the Time Lord High Council, traitors, Omega, posh British accents and Peter Davison doubling as the bad guy. How do we feel about this often snubbed story? Thank you all so much for coming back and listening. Our review story next week will be Torchwood: Combat. Until then have a great week and remember - Allons-y!]]>
The Big Blue Box Podcast - Episode 241

Hey, Who fans!

It is sooo good to be back and chatting Doctor Who. Let's get into it...

The News

Chris Eccleston seems to be embracing fandom recently and another example of that is the announcement that he'll be attending the Gallifrey One convention next February. Nice one Chris.

Merch Corner

Fan of Martha Jones? If so then you'll be pleased to know Freema Agyeman is returning to the world of Doctor Who to star alongside Eve Myles in Big Finish's "Torchwood: Dissected" which is out in February 2020 and if you're in need of a new laptop bag, Lovarzi has you covered with their new TARDIS themed offering.

Review story this week: Arc of Infinity

Back to Gallifrey, the Time Lord High Council, traitors, Omega, posh British accents and Peter Davison doubling as the bad guy. How do we feel about this often snubbed story? Thank you all so much for coming back and listening. Our review story next week will be Torchwood: Combat. Until then have a great week and remember - Allons-y!]]>
https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/ep241/feed/ 0 6460
The Great Virgin New Adventures Review: Cat’s Cradle – Witch Mark & Nightshade https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/the-great-virgin-new-adventures-review-cats-cradle-witch-mark-nightshade/ https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/the-great-virgin-new-adventures-review-cats-cradle-witch-mark-nightshade/#respond Tue, 01 Oct 2019 09:00:10 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=6359

So far I've really enjoyed reading these books from Virgin. They prove to be an interesting experiment with the Doctor Who mythos and offer a different and intriguing look at how the show might have changed as it headed into the 1990s onscreen. But the prose format allowed for a little more experimentation, more explicit adult themes and situations and much more character development, all of which we get with these two next novels, Witch Mark and Nightshade.

CAT'S CRADLE: WITCH MARK: WRITTEN BY ANDREW HUNT

As a fan of the horror genre in movies and television and someone who has a great deal of interesting in the paranormal in real life, I've always had something of a love/hate relationship when it comes to Doctor Who doing the supernatural. Sometimes we great stories like The Daemons, Static, Fear of the Dark or The Spectre of Lanyon Moor. Other-times, we end up with monitories in themselves like Night Terrors, Minuet in Hell, Hide and The Shakespeare Code (I don't like it, I'm sorry). But very rarely do we get stories that fall in the middle of those, Vampires of Venice is one and Witch Mark is another that I didn't hate, but I certainly didn't enjoy. And it isn't that it is a bad story with this one, the dialogue is clunky and there are some strange moments with plot threads that never get resolved. We've got demonic versions of the Doctor and Ace who just vanish and apparently turn up later in a future book but it is a moment that takes you out of the story nevertheless. The prose is strange two with two disjointed storylines making for a confusing read, with one strand set in a Welsh village and the other in a strange fantasy land called “Tir na n-Og”. The storyline in Wales is played out like a high-stakes detective novel with no high-stakes while the fantasy plot seems to be something from a youngsters quest in a game of Dungeons & Dragons. However, having said that, it is quite a clever story with the usual way Doctor Who has in dealing with the supernatural and giving it all a scientific explanation, although far too late into the proceedings. Which is a shame because sometimes one wants their werewolves to be werewolves and their unicorns to be just unicorns! [caption id="attachment_6413" align="aligncenter" width="350"]The cover for Cat's Cradle: Witch Mark The cover for Cat's Cradle: Witch Mark[/caption] We also get another brilliant alien here with a non-human perspective on everything. The Virgin New Adventures seems to be really good at giving us aliens like that and Hunt gives us some great sympathetic characters both human and otherwise. He also seems to have a good handle on the Doctor who isn't cruel or manipulative or cold and depressed which is the impression most writers for these books seemed to have. Sure he has his moments but here feels more like the fun-loving Seventh Doctor from his first series. Hunt doesn't have however a good handle on Ace as she feels more like the version of the character we saw on television. Don't get me wrong, Ace is one of my favourite companions but these books had gone to a great length to give her more development beyond someone who just likes to blow things up. It might have gone a little more unnoticed if the previous book hadn't had her running around hiring mercenaries, travelling internationally and breaking and entering so her change in character here is almost disappointing. We also get some nice characters in the form of Hugh and Janet, two characters we met in Delta and the Bannermen as much of this story takes place around the same area. I've always had a soft spot for that story so it was nice, at least to me, to return to the same location (ish) and met up with some of the same characters. I certainly found the best part of the book to be those passages and chapters set in Wales as the fantasy plot could sometimes feel like a bad-crossover between Conan the Barbarian and Dungeons & Dragons, with the massacre, pillaging, nudity and sexual dialogue that comes with both those things. Plus I've never really enjoyed that type of fantasy, Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and Lord of the Rings have never interested me so those elements of this book were always going to be a hard sell to me. And it also pretty hard to class Cat's Cradle as a proper trilogy. Timewyrm had four stories that were clearly linked together whereas these books, though there are few elements that hold them together, are largely stand-alone reads. And while the problems with the TARDIS, that were a major link between these three books, is finally fixed at the end, it feels even more tacked on, especially as it ends with the question as to whether those problems have actually been solved. Witch Mark will never be one of the best novels to come out of this range. But isn't the worst one, so far that position is held for the ironically titled, The Pit, in a few novels time, and I think that Witch Mark has something of an unfair reputation. With some shaky plot and dialogue, what the story makes up for that with is a lot of character work and an interesting if, the slightly underdeveloped main plot. As I said above, Witch Mark falls somewhere in the middle of the Doctor Who-supernatural stories but as it turns out, that isn't actually a bad place to be.

NIGHTSHADE: WRITTEN BY MARK GATISS

Nightshade is the first book of the range which isn't part of an overarching story-arc and because of that, it allows Mark Gatiss a lot of creative freedom. No longer constrained by a long plot, Nightshade sees a particularly moody Seventh Doctor contemplating retirement but its a pretty selfish move for him as he also has Ace to consider and he considers returning to Gallifrey. For much of the book, the Doctor is trying to avoid events that are unfolding around him. But gradually, he finds himself forced to partake in the events happening around him, lead on by Ace, who practically forces him to investigate the nearby radio satellite station. It is an interesting dynamic to the Doctor, rarely have we seen him this sullen and grumpy, perhaps the last time was at the end of The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve, when the First Doctor contemplates going back to Gallifrey, failing to save the young Chaplet girl and Steven threatening to leave the TARDIS at the next opportunity. But it is also a character trait that gets tiresome very quickly. The Seventh Doctor is at his most interesting when he is being manipulative and quirky. Not when he is as miserable as this and it's a welcome relief when he gets more involved in the plot later on. Instead, Gatiss places a lot of the plot onto the shoulders of Ace, who also goes through a character transformation here. The previous novels went to great lengths to give her more character and show us some of the defining moments of her childhood and life on Earth prior to meeting the Doctor. It isn't long though before she begins to change her mind about staying on Earth in this time period with the Doctor as she soon falls for a young man called Robin, in many ways the complete opposite to Ace. Ace was always ready for a fight, happy to defend her friends and herself and threw herself into her adventures. Robin is quiet, timid and almost afraid to fight, not bad things to be but not necessarily a match for a personality like Ace's. Nevertheless they hit it off pretty quickly and for a while, Gatiss seems to let it play out like Ace is going to leave at the end of the book, having fallen in love, like a few of the Doctor's previous companions had done, perhaps most notably Jo Grant at the end of The Green Death. [caption id="attachment_6414" align="aligncenter" width="350"]The cover for Nightshade The cover for Nightshade[/caption] But the Seventh Doctor's manipulations aren't done yet and while he verbally agrees for her leave, he still spirits her away in the TARDIS at the end of the book, forcing Ace and Robin apart. Gatiss does tantalisingly leave this ambiguous as to whether the Doctor meant to or not. I've always read into that the Doctor didn't want to be without Ace and couldn't bring himself to say goodbye to another companion. While I've got a nice outlook on the act, Ace sees things differently and the following novel, Love and War would see her bow out at the end. Nightshade is almost quieter in its storytelling. It's a prospective look back as well as a look ahead. We've got a prologue that opens on the First Doctor leaving Gallifrey. It's never mentioned that its the Doctor but its heavy context is obvious, though it differs from the events we could read about later in Lungbarrow and then see onscreen in The Name of the Doctor. We've also got a new console room, as well as the foreshadowing of a new companion in the form of Bernice Summerfield in the next book. Susan also features quite heavily here as the Doctor's memories of his granddaughter form a lot of the backbone of the story, even leading to a confrontation of sorts between the Seventh Doctor and Susan towards the end of the book. Ace is also plagued by things from her past as she is forced to face the memories of her mother. It gradually becomes enjoyably clear that memories and we choose to look back on things is the main narrative plot throughout this book. Gatiss also introduces us to Professor Nightshade himself, or the actor who played him, Edmund Trevithick. Nightshade is a meta-Doctor Who, a fictional programme that also parodies Professor Quatermass of Hammer Horror fame.  The monsters of this book are the fictional aliens he had to fight are adapted into real by the true villain, the disembodied entity, The Sentience. What is really fun is to see how much fun Edmund is having getting to relive his old adventures in his old age and he sees it almost as the BBC remaking his old television series. Of course, his enjoyment of the events quickly dispels when he has to face his old enemies again in the third act of the book. But it is impossible not to like Edmund and his spiky, energetic and quick mind and the cover of the book puts us in mind of Peter Cushing, the Movie-Doctor of the 1960s, the resemblance between Edmund and Cushing is uncanny on the cover. Gatiss doesn't hold back on killing the characters in this book, though surprisingly this isn't the book with the most deaths. The town of Crook Marsham had a population of a few hundred at the beginning of the book, by the end, they are down to sixty-five. Unlike some books, this one doesn't gloss over that fact either. But had the Doctor not gotten involved, it might have been another world-wide disaster. Overall though, Nightshade has a feeling of nostalgia surrounding the whole piece. No doubt this is purposely down to Gatiss but knowing this is almost the end of the line for the Doctor and Ace dynamic we all know and love gives the book some melancholy undertones. Reading this book, you'll be happy and sad at the same time. But it also feels like the series is finally moving out from under the shadow of its television persona and moving in a brand new direction. Everything changes in the next book and this is a great way to usher out the old way of Doctor Who storytelling. Bringing the adventure back to Earth and giving the Doctor and Ace one final monster to face before they went their separate ways. This was the first of the VNA's that I couldn't put down and its well worth a read if you can find it for a decent price online. NEXT TIME: EXIT ACE AND ENTER BERNICE SUMMERFIELD AND SAY HELLO TO THE FIRST BOOK TO DROP THE NOTORIOUS 'F'-BOMB... ]]>

So far I've really enjoyed reading these books from Virgin. They prove to be an interesting experiment with the Doctor Who mythos and offer a different and intriguing look at how the show might have changed as it headed into the 1990s onscreen. But the prose format allowed for a little more experimentation, more explicit adult themes and situations and much more character development, all of which we get with these two next novels, Witch Mark and Nightshade.

CAT'S CRADLE: WITCH MARK: WRITTEN BY ANDREW HUNT

As a fan of the horror genre in movies and television and someone who has a great deal of interesting in the paranormal in real life, I've always had something of a love/hate relationship when it comes to Doctor Who doing the supernatural. Sometimes we great stories like The Daemons, Static, Fear of the Dark or The Spectre of Lanyon Moor. Other-times, we end up with monitories in themselves like Night Terrors, Minuet in Hell, Hide and The Shakespeare Code (I don't like it, I'm sorry). But very rarely do we get stories that fall in the middle of those, Vampires of Venice is one and Witch Mark is another that I didn't hate, but I certainly didn't enjoy. And it isn't that it is a bad story with this one, the dialogue is clunky and there are some strange moments with plot threads that never get resolved. We've got demonic versions of the Doctor and Ace who just vanish and apparently turn up later in a future book but it is a moment that takes you out of the story nevertheless. The prose is strange two with two disjointed storylines making for a confusing read, with one strand set in a Welsh village and the other in a strange fantasy land called “Tir na n-Og”. The storyline in Wales is played out like a high-stakes detective novel with no high-stakes while the fantasy plot seems to be something from a youngsters quest in a game of Dungeons & Dragons. However, having said that, it is quite a clever story with the usual way Doctor Who has in dealing with the supernatural and giving it all a scientific explanation, although far too late into the proceedings. Which is a shame because sometimes one wants their werewolves to be werewolves and their unicorns to be just unicorns! [caption id="attachment_6413" align="aligncenter" width="350"]The cover for Cat's Cradle: Witch Mark The cover for Cat's Cradle: Witch Mark[/caption] We also get another brilliant alien here with a non-human perspective on everything. The Virgin New Adventures seems to be really good at giving us aliens like that and Hunt gives us some great sympathetic characters both human and otherwise. He also seems to have a good handle on the Doctor who isn't cruel or manipulative or cold and depressed which is the impression most writers for these books seemed to have. Sure he has his moments but here feels more like the fun-loving Seventh Doctor from his first series. Hunt doesn't have however a good handle on Ace as she feels more like the version of the character we saw on television. Don't get me wrong, Ace is one of my favourite companions but these books had gone to a great length to give her more development beyond someone who just likes to blow things up. It might have gone a little more unnoticed if the previous book hadn't had her running around hiring mercenaries, travelling internationally and breaking and entering so her change in character here is almost disappointing. We also get some nice characters in the form of Hugh and Janet, two characters we met in Delta and the Bannermen as much of this story takes place around the same area. I've always had a soft spot for that story so it was nice, at least to me, to return to the same location (ish) and met up with some of the same characters. I certainly found the best part of the book to be those passages and chapters set in Wales as the fantasy plot could sometimes feel like a bad-crossover between Conan the Barbarian and Dungeons & Dragons, with the massacre, pillaging, nudity and sexual dialogue that comes with both those things. Plus I've never really enjoyed that type of fantasy, Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and Lord of the Rings have never interested me so those elements of this book were always going to be a hard sell to me. And it also pretty hard to class Cat's Cradle as a proper trilogy. Timewyrm had four stories that were clearly linked together whereas these books, though there are few elements that hold them together, are largely stand-alone reads. And while the problems with the TARDIS, that were a major link between these three books, is finally fixed at the end, it feels even more tacked on, especially as it ends with the question as to whether those problems have actually been solved. Witch Mark will never be one of the best novels to come out of this range. But isn't the worst one, so far that position is held for the ironically titled, The Pit, in a few novels time, and I think that Witch Mark has something of an unfair reputation. With some shaky plot and dialogue, what the story makes up for that with is a lot of character work and an interesting if, the slightly underdeveloped main plot. As I said above, Witch Mark falls somewhere in the middle of the Doctor Who-supernatural stories but as it turns out, that isn't actually a bad place to be.

NIGHTSHADE: WRITTEN BY MARK GATISS

Nightshade is the first book of the range which isn't part of an overarching story-arc and because of that, it allows Mark Gatiss a lot of creative freedom. No longer constrained by a long plot, Nightshade sees a particularly moody Seventh Doctor contemplating retirement but its a pretty selfish move for him as he also has Ace to consider and he considers returning to Gallifrey. For much of the book, the Doctor is trying to avoid events that are unfolding around him. But gradually, he finds himself forced to partake in the events happening around him, lead on by Ace, who practically forces him to investigate the nearby radio satellite station. It is an interesting dynamic to the Doctor, rarely have we seen him this sullen and grumpy, perhaps the last time was at the end of The Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve, when the First Doctor contemplates going back to Gallifrey, failing to save the young Chaplet girl and Steven threatening to leave the TARDIS at the next opportunity. But it is also a character trait that gets tiresome very quickly. The Seventh Doctor is at his most interesting when he is being manipulative and quirky. Not when he is as miserable as this and it's a welcome relief when he gets more involved in the plot later on. Instead, Gatiss places a lot of the plot onto the shoulders of Ace, who also goes through a character transformation here. The previous novels went to great lengths to give her more character and show us some of the defining moments of her childhood and life on Earth prior to meeting the Doctor. It isn't long though before she begins to change her mind about staying on Earth in this time period with the Doctor as she soon falls for a young man called Robin, in many ways the complete opposite to Ace. Ace was always ready for a fight, happy to defend her friends and herself and threw herself into her adventures. Robin is quiet, timid and almost afraid to fight, not bad things to be but not necessarily a match for a personality like Ace's. Nevertheless they hit it off pretty quickly and for a while, Gatiss seems to let it play out like Ace is going to leave at the end of the book, having fallen in love, like a few of the Doctor's previous companions had done, perhaps most notably Jo Grant at the end of The Green Death. [caption id="attachment_6414" align="aligncenter" width="350"]The cover for Nightshade The cover for Nightshade[/caption] But the Seventh Doctor's manipulations aren't done yet and while he verbally agrees for her leave, he still spirits her away in the TARDIS at the end of the book, forcing Ace and Robin apart. Gatiss does tantalisingly leave this ambiguous as to whether the Doctor meant to or not. I've always read into that the Doctor didn't want to be without Ace and couldn't bring himself to say goodbye to another companion. While I've got a nice outlook on the act, Ace sees things differently and the following novel, Love and War would see her bow out at the end. Nightshade is almost quieter in its storytelling. It's a prospective look back as well as a look ahead. We've got a prologue that opens on the First Doctor leaving Gallifrey. It's never mentioned that its the Doctor but its heavy context is obvious, though it differs from the events we could read about later in Lungbarrow and then see onscreen in The Name of the Doctor. We've also got a new console room, as well as the foreshadowing of a new companion in the form of Bernice Summerfield in the next book. Susan also features quite heavily here as the Doctor's memories of his granddaughter form a lot of the backbone of the story, even leading to a confrontation of sorts between the Seventh Doctor and Susan towards the end of the book. Ace is also plagued by things from her past as she is forced to face the memories of her mother. It gradually becomes enjoyably clear that memories and we choose to look back on things is the main narrative plot throughout this book. Gatiss also introduces us to Professor Nightshade himself, or the actor who played him, Edmund Trevithick. Nightshade is a meta-Doctor Who, a fictional programme that also parodies Professor Quatermass of Hammer Horror fame.  The monsters of this book are the fictional aliens he had to fight are adapted into real by the true villain, the disembodied entity, The Sentience. What is really fun is to see how much fun Edmund is having getting to relive his old adventures in his old age and he sees it almost as the BBC remaking his old television series. Of course, his enjoyment of the events quickly dispels when he has to face his old enemies again in the third act of the book. But it is impossible not to like Edmund and his spiky, energetic and quick mind and the cover of the book puts us in mind of Peter Cushing, the Movie-Doctor of the 1960s, the resemblance between Edmund and Cushing is uncanny on the cover. Gatiss doesn't hold back on killing the characters in this book, though surprisingly this isn't the book with the most deaths. The town of Crook Marsham had a population of a few hundred at the beginning of the book, by the end, they are down to sixty-five. Unlike some books, this one doesn't gloss over that fact either. But had the Doctor not gotten involved, it might have been another world-wide disaster. Overall though, Nightshade has a feeling of nostalgia surrounding the whole piece. No doubt this is purposely down to Gatiss but knowing this is almost the end of the line for the Doctor and Ace dynamic we all know and love gives the book some melancholy undertones. Reading this book, you'll be happy and sad at the same time. But it also feels like the series is finally moving out from under the shadow of its television persona and moving in a brand new direction. Everything changes in the next book and this is a great way to usher out the old way of Doctor Who storytelling. Bringing the adventure back to Earth and giving the Doctor and Ace one final monster to face before they went their separate ways. This was the first of the VNA's that I couldn't put down and its well worth a read if you can find it for a decent price online. NEXT TIME: EXIT ACE AND ENTER BERNICE SUMMERFIELD AND SAY HELLO TO THE FIRST BOOK TO DROP THE NOTORIOUS 'F'-BOMB... ]]>
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Big Finish Review: Torchwood – The Vigil https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/big-finish-review-torchwood-the-vigil/ https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/big-finish-review-torchwood-the-vigil/#respond Mon, 30 Sep 2019 18:00:32 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=6438

It's been over a year since we last heard from Toshiko Sato, played by Naoko Mori, in Torchwood. Last time she featured in the brilliant Instant Karma and finally, she's back in another hugely enjoyable outing in the form of The Vigil. [caption id="attachment_6448" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Cover art for The Vigil Cover art for The Vigil[/caption] Written by Lou Morgan, who has penned a previous Torchwood adventure in God Among Us 2, The Vigil is actually a shorter story that we are used to with the Torchwood range but that isn't a bad thing as Morgan makes sure to pack the 50-minute runtime with plenty of entertainment and spooky moments. And while one might say that this story is about grief and how people handle it as well as alien-body snatching. What I took away from it was it is a story about feeling inadequate. It's about how Tosh feels like a member of Torchwood and her onscreen characterisation of feeling undervalued. And that is never more played out than in her scenes with Sebastian. Sebastian is a brand new character too and the whole story is set before the Torchwood team that we all know and love, with a couple of references to Suzie. Before Gwen came onto the scene, it seems like Torchwood wasn't the loving team we got to know. Sebastian, despite a good performance from Hugh Skinner, was a character that I didn't like. I know that was a lot of the point but in what is basically a two-hander-story, I feel you need to like both characters to get the best out of the story. That isn't to say though that Morgan did a bad job with the characterisations. Indeed, you aren't supposed to like Sebastian and he is a nasty piece of work to Tosh, in many ways their relationship reminds me of when I started my job. I don't run around chasing aliens, (I can wish though right?!), I work behind a counter but some of my ex-colleagues could be nasty-pieces of work if they wanted to be. Before the team that I work with now, there was a lot of backstabbing and shocking behaviour and it was nice to see that reflected in something like Torchwood. Sebastian's mother Madeline, played by Lucy Robinson, is also just as unlikable, in a good way. Her performance plays into some of the well-worn tropes between a grieving mother to her devoted son and while sometimes it feels like it's going to into melodrama, Robinson keeps her performance from going over the edge of that cliff. What Morgan also does rather well is keep the attitudes of Madeline and Sebastian open-ended as to whether their devotion to their country, sexist attitudes and sometimes racist comments are a result of their environments or their upbringing. Morgan puts a lot of work into the background of Sebastian's character, so I'm going to go with the latter. Morgan also does a great job with Toshiko, playing around with her feeling of being inadequate and not needed by the team. In some ways, its quite a sad way to look at the character, but those thoughts and feelings were always present onscreen so it only seems fair to see them explored here. Plus Tosh does get some nice moments and I feel like this script would have made a great television serial. Naoko Mori is excellent as Tosh though, instantly reminding me of why she was always one of my favourite characters on the show. She just falls easily back into that performance and it feels like she has never been away. It's just a shame that I'm always reminded of her fate at the end of any audio-story from her. I would have been twelve/thirteen at the time and it is still one of those TV deaths that I've never gotten over... Lisa Bowerman does a tremendous job on the direction too. She keeps getting the best of the actors she works with and squeezes the script for every great moment she can. Mind you, she's always been a fantastic director so these things should be known by now. I always look forward to an audio that Bowerman has directed. Overall The Vigil is a good Toshiko Sato story, if not an essential Torchwood listen. If you're a fan of Tosh then you'll probably get more out of this one than someone just here for a listen. Still, it's a great way to spend 50 minutes and a great script from Lou Morgan, someone I look forward to hearing more from in the future, particularly if its a strong character piece like this one. Plus I absolutely love that cover!]]>

It's been over a year since we last heard from Toshiko Sato, played by Naoko Mori, in Torchwood. Last time she featured in the brilliant Instant Karma and finally, she's back in another hugely enjoyable outing in the form of The Vigil. [caption id="attachment_6448" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Cover art for The Vigil Cover art for The Vigil[/caption] Written by Lou Morgan, who has penned a previous Torchwood adventure in God Among Us 2, The Vigil is actually a shorter story that we are used to with the Torchwood range but that isn't a bad thing as Morgan makes sure to pack the 50-minute runtime with plenty of entertainment and spooky moments. And while one might say that this story is about grief and how people handle it as well as alien-body snatching. What I took away from it was it is a story about feeling inadequate. It's about how Tosh feels like a member of Torchwood and her onscreen characterisation of feeling undervalued. And that is never more played out than in her scenes with Sebastian. Sebastian is a brand new character too and the whole story is set before the Torchwood team that we all know and love, with a couple of references to Suzie. Before Gwen came onto the scene, it seems like Torchwood wasn't the loving team we got to know. Sebastian, despite a good performance from Hugh Skinner, was a character that I didn't like. I know that was a lot of the point but in what is basically a two-hander-story, I feel you need to like both characters to get the best out of the story. That isn't to say though that Morgan did a bad job with the characterisations. Indeed, you aren't supposed to like Sebastian and he is a nasty piece of work to Tosh, in many ways their relationship reminds me of when I started my job. I don't run around chasing aliens, (I can wish though right?!), I work behind a counter but some of my ex-colleagues could be nasty-pieces of work if they wanted to be. Before the team that I work with now, there was a lot of backstabbing and shocking behaviour and it was nice to see that reflected in something like Torchwood. Sebastian's mother Madeline, played by Lucy Robinson, is also just as unlikable, in a good way. Her performance plays into some of the well-worn tropes between a grieving mother to her devoted son and while sometimes it feels like it's going to into melodrama, Robinson keeps her performance from going over the edge of that cliff. What Morgan also does rather well is keep the attitudes of Madeline and Sebastian open-ended as to whether their devotion to their country, sexist attitudes and sometimes racist comments are a result of their environments or their upbringing. Morgan puts a lot of work into the background of Sebastian's character, so I'm going to go with the latter. Morgan also does a great job with Toshiko, playing around with her feeling of being inadequate and not needed by the team. In some ways, its quite a sad way to look at the character, but those thoughts and feelings were always present onscreen so it only seems fair to see them explored here. Plus Tosh does get some nice moments and I feel like this script would have made a great television serial. Naoko Mori is excellent as Tosh though, instantly reminding me of why she was always one of my favourite characters on the show. She just falls easily back into that performance and it feels like she has never been away. It's just a shame that I'm always reminded of her fate at the end of any audio-story from her. I would have been twelve/thirteen at the time and it is still one of those TV deaths that I've never gotten over... Lisa Bowerman does a tremendous job on the direction too. She keeps getting the best of the actors she works with and squeezes the script for every great moment she can. Mind you, she's always been a fantastic director so these things should be known by now. I always look forward to an audio that Bowerman has directed. Overall The Vigil is a good Toshiko Sato story, if not an essential Torchwood listen. If you're a fan of Tosh then you'll probably get more out of this one than someone just here for a listen. Still, it's a great way to spend 50 minutes and a great script from Lou Morgan, someone I look forward to hearing more from in the future, particularly if its a strong character piece like this one. Plus I absolutely love that cover!]]>
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Doing the Mindwarp: BFI Southbank Special Event Saturday 14th September 2019 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/doing-the-mindwarp-bfi-southbank-special-event-saturday-14th-september-2019/ https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/doing-the-mindwarp-bfi-southbank-special-event-saturday-14th-september-2019/#respond Mon, 30 Sep 2019 09:00:52 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=6373

The Doctor Who: The Collection Season 23 limited edition Blu-ray is released on Monday 7th October and to celebrate the BFI (British Film Institute) on the London Southbank ran a special event showing the 6th Doctor story, Mindwarp, which constituted episodes 5 to 8 of the 23rd season with the Trial of a Timelord arc. I’m always a fan of these events because you know everyone in the room is there for the love of the show. The structure of the event was planned that after the traditional quiz with giveaways, episodes 5 & 6 were to be shown, two or three guests to be interviewed, Episodes 7 and 8 to be shown with a final question-answer session with actors Nicola Bryant and Colin Baker. There was a lovely moment before the quiz started with an acknowledgement of Terrance Dicks or "Uncle Terry " as he was known and the huge contribution he made to classic Who. He died recently and was a massive inspiration to fans of all ages, including modern writers and the audience gave a hugely deserved round of applause for a minute. [caption id="attachment_6381" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Special Edition of Mindwarp, which constituted episodes 5 to 8 of the 23rd season with the Trial of a Timelord arc The Special Edition of Mindwarp played at the BFI which constituted episodes 5 to 8 of the 23rd season with the Trial of a Timelord arc[/caption]

The Guests

Due to some technical hitches whilst playing episode 7 (MIndwarp Part 3) the screen froze so some of the guests were interviewed earlier than anticipated as the BFI team tried to fix the problem. There was success eventually, after a false start, with the return to the story with the surround sound. The original composer for Mindwarp, Mark Ayres came on with Richard Hartley to discuss the scoring for Mindwarp. Richard Hartley recorded all the original tracks again as the master tapes no longer existed and Mark did the 5.1 surround sound. It is noticeable with watching this special edition that besides the original synthesiser score there is the addition of a new cello score in certain scenes which adds an element of emotional poignancy to the story. Russell West, who played the Raak creature that attacked Peri and the Doctor in the first episode, was interviewed and seemed genuinely delighted to have been part of Doctor Who and also at the BFI. He was at the time a jobbing actor, doing theatre at Stratford east who was offered the role and he humorously recounted his experience, to interviewer Justin Johnson, of his "small but important role’. A highlight he remembered was seeing the ‘toned down’ performance of Brian Blessed during the day’s rehearsal he attended. Describing how once in the costume he found it incredibly heavy but also at the small-time fragile Russell West apologised for manhandling Nicola Bryant and Colin Baker too much laughter from the audience. He was also sorry for not being Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson which a podcast attributed his character was played by. [caption id="attachment_6385" align="aligncenter" width="1600"]Russell West (Actor, the Raak creature in Mindwarp) Russell West (Actor, the Raak creature in Mindwarp) talking to interviewer Justin Johnson[/caption]
“Once I was down, I was down! And it took three people to get me up again” Russell West (Actor, the Raak creature in Mindwarp)
With Sil and the Mentors, a major part of this story Phil Newman, the freelance costume designer was also came on stage. He played Sil in the 1993 charity special Dimensions in Time which he quipped was definitely ‘canon’ and has also worked as a designer on the latest production from Reeltime Pictures, "Sil And the Devil Seeds of Arodor" The hour-long drama will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray from the 4th November. There was a surprise as Phil Newman also revealed a special purchase, the original Kiv costume.
“This year the whole thing came full circle as I was asked to design Sil for Seeds of Arodor” Phil Newman (Designer)
[caption id="attachment_6403" align="aligncenter" width="4032"]Phil Newman, designer who played Sil in the 1993 charity special Dimensions in Time Phil Newman, designer, who played Sil in the 1993 charity special Dimensions in Time[/caption]

Reviewing the story

Last year I reviewed the 6th Doctor era and I remember feeling that the 23rd season was a rather uneven offering, that often struggled under the weight of the proffered story arc. This screening was the extended version of “Mindwarp” with an additional five minutes to the first episode plus different editing of certain scenes such as when Yrcanos escapes the laboratory after the attempted brain alteration. I think Mindwarp is actually one of the stronger story entries for season 23 although not without its faults. The courtroom scenes in this story have moved (mostly) past the juvenile insults, in "The Mysterious Plane", going back and forth between the Doctor and Valeyard. They actually serve a purpose to challenge the motivations of the Doctor, his ‘meddling’, the deaths that occur, his amnesia and subsequent ‘betrayal’ of new and old friends. Saying that at times the court scenes are a difficult balancing act for me as an audience member as they take you away from the action on Thoros Beta. But then conversely you don’t get a chance to get emotionally involved in the court scenes as they by the structure are brief interjections before moving back to the planet. It’s hardly the build-up seen in the film drama A Few Good Men. Also, as the 6th doctor or the Valeyard isn’t the meekest of characters the outbursts, tend to hammer heavily their points. If I do consider just the scenes on Thoros Beta I really like Philip Martin’s script as it is full of black humour and unexpected moments. I love green skies and pink sea. Nicola Bryant’s Peri separated from the Doctor becomes better for it, being allowed to reflect on her feelings of homesickness. Due to the manipulations of the Valeyard to the matrix, Peri becomes a victim of others. Most characters are barbarians or become them: Yrcanos is willing to fight his way out of trouble, the doctor-affected by the mind probe becomes cold towards Peri, Crozier sees her as just a vessel for Kiv’s brain. The scenes where she is helpless in the laboratory tied and gagged and Crozier then performs the operation are memorable as is the assassination scene. It’s a glorious brave scene, which still gives the chills, where Kiv sits up within Peri's body and King Yrcanos has to shoot the Peri/Kiv creature. I love the shock value it gave at the time of original transmission and it wouldn’t have lost some that power if they had left the ending as it was. Colin Baker acknowledged that it was partly his fault as he wanted clarification whether the matrix information was a lie, so did Peri die and was unable to get a definitive answer. The production team decided to backtrack on the original dramatic moment Nicola Bryant told John Nathan Turner she wanted. After the screening of the episodes, there were sneak peeks, edited by Chris Chapman, of some of the features on the Blu-Ray. There was a montage of funny out-takes which gave the audience some laugh-out moments. Next, there was a feature on the Doctor Who Cookbook revisited, where Toby Hadoke visited Sarah Sutton (Nyssa) I am assuming at her home with Janet Fielding (Tegan) to discuss the recipes. What ensued was hilarity in the kitchen as Janet tried to reproduce one of the recipes, Fielding’s Ocker Balls, (with voiceover by India Fisher from MasterChef /Big Finish). Janet tried to explain what the Australian term "ocker" meant and to create the recipe's savoury profiterole filled with cream cheese and oysters with help from Sarah and Toby. The eating results were actually better than any of them expected. Next there was a Behind the Sofa snippet where the first ten minutes of “The Mysterious Planet “were reviewed with lots of dry humour from two different trios of old companions and one doctor not necessarily from the same era: Frazer Hines, Matthew Waterhouse and Mark Strickson were one trio  and Bonnie Langford, Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant another as they sat on the sofa commenting. It is probably well known that neither Colin or Nicola knew that Doctor Who was going to be cancelled after season 22. As actors, they were both kept away from the politics but it was enlightening to discover how they found out. Nicola Bryant described the funny story of how she wasn’t aware until she received a phone call from the press asking her to comment on the death of Doctor Who. She immediately assumed that Colin Baker had died, became hysterical thinking of his wife Marion. After frantic calls trying to get hold of producer John Nathan Turner, she finally spoke to her agent who clarified that only the show was cancelled. Nicola was so relieved that Colin was alive she was not as upset as she might have been! [caption id="attachment_6383" align="aligncenter" width="1100"]Nicola Bryant and Colin Baker being interviewed by Justin Johnson Nicola Bryant and Colin Baker being interviewed by Justin Johnson[/caption] Colin Baker was told by John Nathan Turner that the show wasn’t coming back the following year because Michael Grade had disliked the show and had cut it. The upside was that Colin Baker had signed a four-year contract and so he continued to get paid, despite some initial wrangling from the finance department. The hiatus only came about, Colin disclosed, due to the initial outrage directed at Michael Grade from public and press so Michael Grade had to reverse the decision pretty quickly to say the show was being rested and would come back. Colin wasn’t really happy with the season 23 story arc mirroring the real-life trial the show was under. Whilst Nicola was “wowed” by the state-of-the-art opening shot of the trial room spaceship Colin thought it was “pointless” as due to the cost of the model work and direction location filming was stopped. He revealed some of the other issues with production at the time. Eric Saward favoured certain writers which the producer JNT didn’t like, suggested things the producer wouldn’t accept and then left. Colin only became aware that Eric Saward did not like his casting to be the Doctor much later on. There was an acknowledgement from both Colin and Nicola that had they known all the issues at the time it would have probably affected their performance. They worked very hard as actors to enjoy their experience and show the development of their character's relationship in Season 23.
“(Eric Saward), didn’t like the actor who had been cast as the Doctor which I discovered a long time afterwards. I had entertained Eric Saward in my house... Never told me that until he wrote about it for the magazine.” Colin Baker, (Actor) the 6th Doctor
Regarding his time on the show Colin Baker revealed he had a seven-year plan and had hoped to beat Tom Baker’s record. Due to his sacking that didn’t happen. He was quite bold he said in turning down the offer to do a regeneration story basically because he was “hacked off”. He had enjoyed playing the character, felt he had a lot more to offer and praised Big Finish which gave him a chance to develop his Doctor many years later. The discussion turned to whether JNT who had been producing the show a long time, would have left when Colin left. Apparently, John Nathan Turner did want to do other things but he was contracted to the BBC and they would not let him go from Doctor Who. He didn’t go freelance but stayed with the BBC until the cancellation of the show after season 26. Colin said by staying JNT was fighting for the programme. Following the interview, there were questions from the audience and the event completed with an autographing signing by both Nicola and Colin in a side room.  The queue snaked outside the room as people were keen to meet “Sixy” and his companion. Another wonderful afternoon of Doctor Who concluded with a warm glow but roll on the next event on the  23rd November for 7th Doctor fun and frolics. Doctor Who – The Collection – Season 23 Limited Edition Box Set is released on 7th October 2019 priced around £40]]>

The Doctor Who: The Collection Season 23 limited edition Blu-ray is released on Monday 7th October and to celebrate the BFI (British Film Institute) on the London Southbank ran a special event showing the 6th Doctor story, Mindwarp, which constituted episodes 5 to 8 of the 23rd season with the Trial of a Timelord arc. I’m always a fan of these events because you know everyone in the room is there for the love of the show. The structure of the event was planned that after the traditional quiz with giveaways, episodes 5 & 6 were to be shown, two or three guests to be interviewed, Episodes 7 and 8 to be shown with a final question-answer session with actors Nicola Bryant and Colin Baker. There was a lovely moment before the quiz started with an acknowledgement of Terrance Dicks or "Uncle Terry " as he was known and the huge contribution he made to classic Who. He died recently and was a massive inspiration to fans of all ages, including modern writers and the audience gave a hugely deserved round of applause for a minute. [caption id="attachment_6381" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Special Edition of Mindwarp, which constituted episodes 5 to 8 of the 23rd season with the Trial of a Timelord arc The Special Edition of Mindwarp played at the BFI which constituted episodes 5 to 8 of the 23rd season with the Trial of a Timelord arc[/caption]

The Guests

Due to some technical hitches whilst playing episode 7 (MIndwarp Part 3) the screen froze so some of the guests were interviewed earlier than anticipated as the BFI team tried to fix the problem. There was success eventually, after a false start, with the return to the story with the surround sound. The original composer for Mindwarp, Mark Ayres came on with Richard Hartley to discuss the scoring for Mindwarp. Richard Hartley recorded all the original tracks again as the master tapes no longer existed and Mark did the 5.1 surround sound. It is noticeable with watching this special edition that besides the original synthesiser score there is the addition of a new cello score in certain scenes which adds an element of emotional poignancy to the story. Russell West, who played the Raak creature that attacked Peri and the Doctor in the first episode, was interviewed and seemed genuinely delighted to have been part of Doctor Who and also at the BFI. He was at the time a jobbing actor, doing theatre at Stratford east who was offered the role and he humorously recounted his experience, to interviewer Justin Johnson, of his "small but important role’. A highlight he remembered was seeing the ‘toned down’ performance of Brian Blessed during the day’s rehearsal he attended. Describing how once in the costume he found it incredibly heavy but also at the small-time fragile Russell West apologised for manhandling Nicola Bryant and Colin Baker too much laughter from the audience. He was also sorry for not being Dwayne ‘the Rock’ Johnson which a podcast attributed his character was played by. [caption id="attachment_6385" align="aligncenter" width="1600"]Russell West (Actor, the Raak creature in Mindwarp) Russell West (Actor, the Raak creature in Mindwarp) talking to interviewer Justin Johnson[/caption]
“Once I was down, I was down! And it took three people to get me up again” Russell West (Actor, the Raak creature in Mindwarp)
With Sil and the Mentors, a major part of this story Phil Newman, the freelance costume designer was also came on stage. He played Sil in the 1993 charity special Dimensions in Time which he quipped was definitely ‘canon’ and has also worked as a designer on the latest production from Reeltime Pictures, "Sil And the Devil Seeds of Arodor" The hour-long drama will be available on DVD and Blu-Ray from the 4th November. There was a surprise as Phil Newman also revealed a special purchase, the original Kiv costume.
“This year the whole thing came full circle as I was asked to design Sil for Seeds of Arodor” Phil Newman (Designer)
[caption id="attachment_6403" align="aligncenter" width="4032"]Phil Newman, designer who played Sil in the 1993 charity special Dimensions in Time Phil Newman, designer, who played Sil in the 1993 charity special Dimensions in Time[/caption]

Reviewing the story

Last year I reviewed the 6th Doctor era and I remember feeling that the 23rd season was a rather uneven offering, that often struggled under the weight of the proffered story arc. This screening was the extended version of “Mindwarp” with an additional five minutes to the first episode plus different editing of certain scenes such as when Yrcanos escapes the laboratory after the attempted brain alteration. I think Mindwarp is actually one of the stronger story entries for season 23 although not without its faults. The courtroom scenes in this story have moved (mostly) past the juvenile insults, in "The Mysterious Plane", going back and forth between the Doctor and Valeyard. They actually serve a purpose to challenge the motivations of the Doctor, his ‘meddling’, the deaths that occur, his amnesia and subsequent ‘betrayal’ of new and old friends. Saying that at times the court scenes are a difficult balancing act for me as an audience member as they take you away from the action on Thoros Beta. But then conversely you don’t get a chance to get emotionally involved in the court scenes as they by the structure are brief interjections before moving back to the planet. It’s hardly the build-up seen in the film drama A Few Good Men. Also, as the 6th doctor or the Valeyard isn’t the meekest of characters the outbursts, tend to hammer heavily their points. If I do consider just the scenes on Thoros Beta I really like Philip Martin’s script as it is full of black humour and unexpected moments. I love green skies and pink sea. Nicola Bryant’s Peri separated from the Doctor becomes better for it, being allowed to reflect on her feelings of homesickness. Due to the manipulations of the Valeyard to the matrix, Peri becomes a victim of others. Most characters are barbarians or become them: Yrcanos is willing to fight his way out of trouble, the doctor-affected by the mind probe becomes cold towards Peri, Crozier sees her as just a vessel for Kiv’s brain. The scenes where she is helpless in the laboratory tied and gagged and Crozier then performs the operation are memorable as is the assassination scene. It’s a glorious brave scene, which still gives the chills, where Kiv sits up within Peri's body and King Yrcanos has to shoot the Peri/Kiv creature. I love the shock value it gave at the time of original transmission and it wouldn’t have lost some that power if they had left the ending as it was. Colin Baker acknowledged that it was partly his fault as he wanted clarification whether the matrix information was a lie, so did Peri die and was unable to get a definitive answer. The production team decided to backtrack on the original dramatic moment Nicola Bryant told John Nathan Turner she wanted. After the screening of the episodes, there were sneak peeks, edited by Chris Chapman, of some of the features on the Blu-Ray. There was a montage of funny out-takes which gave the audience some laugh-out moments. Next, there was a feature on the Doctor Who Cookbook revisited, where Toby Hadoke visited Sarah Sutton (Nyssa) I am assuming at her home with Janet Fielding (Tegan) to discuss the recipes. What ensued was hilarity in the kitchen as Janet tried to reproduce one of the recipes, Fielding’s Ocker Balls, (with voiceover by India Fisher from MasterChef /Big Finish). Janet tried to explain what the Australian term "ocker" meant and to create the recipe's savoury profiterole filled with cream cheese and oysters with help from Sarah and Toby. The eating results were actually better than any of them expected. Next there was a Behind the Sofa snippet where the first ten minutes of “The Mysterious Planet “were reviewed with lots of dry humour from two different trios of old companions and one doctor not necessarily from the same era: Frazer Hines, Matthew Waterhouse and Mark Strickson were one trio  and Bonnie Langford, Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant another as they sat on the sofa commenting. It is probably well known that neither Colin or Nicola knew that Doctor Who was going to be cancelled after season 22. As actors, they were both kept away from the politics but it was enlightening to discover how they found out. Nicola Bryant described the funny story of how she wasn’t aware until she received a phone call from the press asking her to comment on the death of Doctor Who. She immediately assumed that Colin Baker had died, became hysterical thinking of his wife Marion. After frantic calls trying to get hold of producer John Nathan Turner, she finally spoke to her agent who clarified that only the show was cancelled. Nicola was so relieved that Colin was alive she was not as upset as she might have been! [caption id="attachment_6383" align="aligncenter" width="1100"]Nicola Bryant and Colin Baker being interviewed by Justin Johnson Nicola Bryant and Colin Baker being interviewed by Justin Johnson[/caption] Colin Baker was told by John Nathan Turner that the show wasn’t coming back the following year because Michael Grade had disliked the show and had cut it. The upside was that Colin Baker had signed a four-year contract and so he continued to get paid, despite some initial wrangling from the finance department. The hiatus only came about, Colin disclosed, due to the initial outrage directed at Michael Grade from public and press so Michael Grade had to reverse the decision pretty quickly to say the show was being rested and would come back. Colin wasn’t really happy with the season 23 story arc mirroring the real-life trial the show was under. Whilst Nicola was “wowed” by the state-of-the-art opening shot of the trial room spaceship Colin thought it was “pointless” as due to the cost of the model work and direction location filming was stopped. He revealed some of the other issues with production at the time. Eric Saward favoured certain writers which the producer JNT didn’t like, suggested things the producer wouldn’t accept and then left. Colin only became aware that Eric Saward did not like his casting to be the Doctor much later on. There was an acknowledgement from both Colin and Nicola that had they known all the issues at the time it would have probably affected their performance. They worked very hard as actors to enjoy their experience and show the development of their character's relationship in Season 23.
“(Eric Saward), didn’t like the actor who had been cast as the Doctor which I discovered a long time afterwards. I had entertained Eric Saward in my house... Never told me that until he wrote about it for the magazine.” Colin Baker, (Actor) the 6th Doctor
Regarding his time on the show Colin Baker revealed he had a seven-year plan and had hoped to beat Tom Baker’s record. Due to his sacking that didn’t happen. He was quite bold he said in turning down the offer to do a regeneration story basically because he was “hacked off”. He had enjoyed playing the character, felt he had a lot more to offer and praised Big Finish which gave him a chance to develop his Doctor many years later. The discussion turned to whether JNT who had been producing the show a long time, would have left when Colin left. Apparently, John Nathan Turner did want to do other things but he was contracted to the BBC and they would not let him go from Doctor Who. He didn’t go freelance but stayed with the BBC until the cancellation of the show after season 26. Colin said by staying JNT was fighting for the programme. Following the interview, there were questions from the audience and the event completed with an autographing signing by both Nicola and Colin in a side room.  The queue snaked outside the room as people were keen to meet “Sixy” and his companion. Another wonderful afternoon of Doctor Who concluded with a warm glow but roll on the next event on the  23rd November for 7th Doctor fun and frolics. Doctor Who – The Collection – Season 23 Limited Edition Box Set is released on 7th October 2019 priced around £40]]>
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Big Finish Review: The Monsters of Gokroth https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/big-finish-review-the-monsters-of-gokroth/ https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/big-finish-review-the-monsters-of-gokroth/#respond Sun, 29 Sep 2019 17:35:43 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=6020

Kicking off a new trilogy of adventures for the Seventh Doctor this year, is The Monsters of Gokroth by Matt Fitton, which sees an older Seventh Doctor continuing her quest to wrap up his loose ends, this time, it concerns Mags, the brilliant character played by Jessica Martin in The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, back in 1988. [caption id="attachment_6046" align="aligncenter" width="600"]The Monsters of Gokroth The Monsters of Gokroth[/caption] Looking past the return of Mags for a moment, The Monsters of Gokroth from Matt Fitton works brilliantly as a love-letter to the horror movies of the silver-age from Universal. Even though Fitton has set it on the alien world of Gokroth, the old horror tropes are clear from the get-go. We've got castles on a hill, villagers who want the monster dead, people who won't go out after dark and a mad scientist performing experiments in her castle. And then there is a Werewolf! Big Finish has done a number of love-letter-releases over the past, but this is the first one for the old monster movies. The Doctor here is an older version of the Seventh Doctor. He has presumably said goodbye to Ace following on from Love and War, though she is in next month's An Alien Werewolf in London. I think continuity fanatics might put this before the Doctor meets up with Klein and Will in Persuasion because this is still recognisably the Seventh Doctor. Matt Fitton also has the task of bringing Mags, the werewolf from The Greatest Show in the Galaxy back into the fold, once more played by Jessica Martin. And unlike Klein, the Doctor isn't there to keep an eye on Mags, but as usual, in the Seventh Doctor's life, it is more than just mere coincidence that brings the two together. It is a nice touch that Fitton explores the idea that this incarnation is very aware of his own mortality. He knows his regeneration is coming and in one instance he even comments that he is trying to tie up all the loose ends from his previous adventures. Something that was interesting in the early years of the audio range and the later Virgin New Adventures range of books was that the Seventh Doctor had adopted this attitude because he felt his next incarnation wouldn't have the stomach to play the kind of games he had done. Its a shame that the Seventh Doctor didn't know about the Time War, where the Eighth Doctor discovered what he was really made of, however, it is a very interesting notion and it is nice that Big Finish are still exploring it and Matt Fitton adds some more interesting layers to it. Sylvester McCoy is very entertaining yet again and he continues to prove why his Doctor is one of the best incarnations there has been. From the very beginning, the listener isn't too sure if they should trust him or not. Even though Fitton re-introduces him to Mags early on, hopefully, the listeners will know that the Seventh Doctor is a little manipulative and I wouldn't trust him right away. Once again it is a great character-beat for the Seventh Doctor and McCoy rises to that brilliantly. I can't wait to hear him in the rest of this trilogy! As the cover and the news suggested, The Monsters of Gokroth sees the return of Jessica Martin's Mags. I must admit to thinking The Greatest Show in the Galaxy is one of the greatest Doctor Who stories of all time. It's just so enjoyable, there is some great performances there, a really campy yet creepy atmosphere and it is clear how much fun the production was! Plus the weather looked great! (Fun-Fact: I've actually stayed at the Warmwell Holiday Park in Dorset that was right next to the quarry where they filmed the majority of this story and Survival!) [caption id="attachment_6047" align="aligncenter" width="769"]The cast enjoy the recording of The Monsters of Gokroth The cast enjoy the recording of The Monsters of Gokroth[/caption] One of the best characters to come out of that television adventure was Mags, who went on to form a brand-new Psychic Circus with the survivors of the original story. But the Mags we meet here is older and her leaving the circus is shrouded in mystery but she does say that controlling her werewolf-side has gotten a lot more difficult. It isn't just in audio that Mags has recently turned up in but she also appeared in a comic-strip at the back of the recent Titan Comics: The Seventh Doctor run, written and drawn by Jessica Martin herself. But Mags always was a popular character from the Whoniverse and it is nice that she has finally reached companion status. Jessica Martin does a tremendous job. She is instantly recognisable as the same character from 1988 but she obviously allows for the fact that the character is slightly older. She has great chemistry with McCoy, the pair obviously enjoying each other's presence. Fitton and Martin also go to great lengths to show that Mags is a completely different type of companion to the Seventh Doctor's previous companions Ace and Mel. And Martin does a tremendous job of balancing the knowledge her character has of the Doctor and still acting amazed at some of the things he does. Overall, The Monsters of Gokroth is a great start to what promises to be an interesting new trilogy of adventures for the Seventh Doctor. The story and it seems this trilogy, also has strong direction from Samuel Clemens who keeps the action moving along at a great pace. The Monsters of Gokroth is a brilliant love letter to the old Universal Horror Movies and a very fun run-around, the main and guest cast do a tremendous job and for the first time in a long time, I've got no idea where this trilogy is going to go. And that is really exciting!]]>

Kicking off a new trilogy of adventures for the Seventh Doctor this year, is The Monsters of Gokroth by Matt Fitton, which sees an older Seventh Doctor continuing her quest to wrap up his loose ends, this time, it concerns Mags, the brilliant character played by Jessica Martin in The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, back in 1988. [caption id="attachment_6046" align="aligncenter" width="600"]The Monsters of Gokroth The Monsters of Gokroth[/caption] Looking past the return of Mags for a moment, The Monsters of Gokroth from Matt Fitton works brilliantly as a love-letter to the horror movies of the silver-age from Universal. Even though Fitton has set it on the alien world of Gokroth, the old horror tropes are clear from the get-go. We've got castles on a hill, villagers who want the monster dead, people who won't go out after dark and a mad scientist performing experiments in her castle. And then there is a Werewolf! Big Finish has done a number of love-letter-releases over the past, but this is the first one for the old monster movies. The Doctor here is an older version of the Seventh Doctor. He has presumably said goodbye to Ace following on from Love and War, though she is in next month's An Alien Werewolf in London. I think continuity fanatics might put this before the Doctor meets up with Klein and Will in Persuasion because this is still recognisably the Seventh Doctor. Matt Fitton also has the task of bringing Mags, the werewolf from The Greatest Show in the Galaxy back into the fold, once more played by Jessica Martin. And unlike Klein, the Doctor isn't there to keep an eye on Mags, but as usual, in the Seventh Doctor's life, it is more than just mere coincidence that brings the two together. It is a nice touch that Fitton explores the idea that this incarnation is very aware of his own mortality. He knows his regeneration is coming and in one instance he even comments that he is trying to tie up all the loose ends from his previous adventures. Something that was interesting in the early years of the audio range and the later Virgin New Adventures range of books was that the Seventh Doctor had adopted this attitude because he felt his next incarnation wouldn't have the stomach to play the kind of games he had done. Its a shame that the Seventh Doctor didn't know about the Time War, where the Eighth Doctor discovered what he was really made of, however, it is a very interesting notion and it is nice that Big Finish are still exploring it and Matt Fitton adds some more interesting layers to it. Sylvester McCoy is very entertaining yet again and he continues to prove why his Doctor is one of the best incarnations there has been. From the very beginning, the listener isn't too sure if they should trust him or not. Even though Fitton re-introduces him to Mags early on, hopefully, the listeners will know that the Seventh Doctor is a little manipulative and I wouldn't trust him right away. Once again it is a great character-beat for the Seventh Doctor and McCoy rises to that brilliantly. I can't wait to hear him in the rest of this trilogy! As the cover and the news suggested, The Monsters of Gokroth sees the return of Jessica Martin's Mags. I must admit to thinking The Greatest Show in the Galaxy is one of the greatest Doctor Who stories of all time. It's just so enjoyable, there is some great performances there, a really campy yet creepy atmosphere and it is clear how much fun the production was! Plus the weather looked great! (Fun-Fact: I've actually stayed at the Warmwell Holiday Park in Dorset that was right next to the quarry where they filmed the majority of this story and Survival!) [caption id="attachment_6047" align="aligncenter" width="769"]The cast enjoy the recording of The Monsters of Gokroth The cast enjoy the recording of The Monsters of Gokroth[/caption] One of the best characters to come out of that television adventure was Mags, who went on to form a brand-new Psychic Circus with the survivors of the original story. But the Mags we meet here is older and her leaving the circus is shrouded in mystery but she does say that controlling her werewolf-side has gotten a lot more difficult. It isn't just in audio that Mags has recently turned up in but she also appeared in a comic-strip at the back of the recent Titan Comics: The Seventh Doctor run, written and drawn by Jessica Martin herself. But Mags always was a popular character from the Whoniverse and it is nice that she has finally reached companion status. Jessica Martin does a tremendous job. She is instantly recognisable as the same character from 1988 but she obviously allows for the fact that the character is slightly older. She has great chemistry with McCoy, the pair obviously enjoying each other's presence. Fitton and Martin also go to great lengths to show that Mags is a completely different type of companion to the Seventh Doctor's previous companions Ace and Mel. And Martin does a tremendous job of balancing the knowledge her character has of the Doctor and still acting amazed at some of the things he does. Overall, The Monsters of Gokroth is a great start to what promises to be an interesting new trilogy of adventures for the Seventh Doctor. The story and it seems this trilogy, also has strong direction from Samuel Clemens who keeps the action moving along at a great pace. The Monsters of Gokroth is a brilliant love letter to the old Universal Horror Movies and a very fun run-around, the main and guest cast do a tremendous job and for the first time in a long time, I've got no idea where this trilogy is going to go. And that is really exciting!]]>
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