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. Thu, 24 Sep 2020 18:28:39 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 71078257 NYCC+MCM Con Goodness, New Festive Book PLUS Our Review of Silence/Library/Forest/Dead https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/283/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=283 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/283/#respond Fri, 25 Sep 2020 06:00:07 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=9774 The Big Blue Box Podcast - Episode 283

The News

DW will have a decent presence at this year's New York Comic Con x MCM Metaverse with appearances from Jodie Whittaker, Mandip Gill and Bradley Walsh among others.

The Merch

A new book is on the way to warm your winter cockles - "The Wintertime Paradox: Festive Stories from the World of Doctor Who" and is up for pre-order now.

Review story this episode: Silence in the Library & Forest of the Dead

We've wanted to do this one for ages, a well-loved story and our introduction to River Song. All-round good vibes or are the creepy shadows too much?

Coming next week: SJA - The Vault of Secrets

An old foe turns up in this story as things get tasty between Androvax, Sarah and some android guardians. High stakes in this one.

Thank you all for listening, and until then have a great week, take care of yourselves, stay healthy and remember – Allons-y!

The post NYCC+MCM Con Goodness, New Festive Book PLUS Our Review of Silence/Library/Forest/Dead appeared first on The Doctor Who Big Blue Box Podcast.

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The Big Blue Box Podcast - Episode 283

The News

DW will have a decent presence at this year's New York Comic Con x MCM Metaverse with appearances from Jodie Whittaker, Mandip Gill and Bradley Walsh among others.

The Merch

A new book is on the way to warm your winter cockles - "The Wintertime Paradox: Festive Stories from the World of Doctor Who" and is up for pre-order now.

Review story this episode: Silence in the Library & Forest of the Dead

We've wanted to do this one for ages, a well-loved story and our introduction to River Song. All-round good vibes or are the creepy shadows too much?

Coming next week: SJA - The Vault of Secrets

An old foe turns up in this story as things get tasty between Androvax, Sarah and some android guardians. High stakes in this one. Thank you all for listening, and until then have a great week, take care of yourselves, stay healthy and remember – Allons-y!

The post NYCC+MCM Con Goodness, New Festive Book PLUS Our Review of Silence/Library/Forest/Dead appeared first on The Doctor Who Big Blue Box Podcast.

]]>
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Big Finish Doctor Who Review: 265 The Lovecraft Invasion https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/big-finish-doctor-who-review-265-the-lovecraft-invasion/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=big-finish-doctor-who-review-265-the-lovecraft-invasion https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/big-finish-doctor-who-review-265-the-lovecraft-invasion/#respond Thu, 24 Sep 2020 18:28:39 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=9700 The Lovecraft Invasion Review

The Doctor, Constance and Flip join forces with a 51st-century bounty hunter, Calypso Jonze, to hunt down the Somnifax: a weaponised mind-parasite capable of turning its host's nightmares into physical reality. Chasing it through the time vortex to Providence, Rhode Island in 1937, they arrive too late to stop it from latching onto a local author of weird fiction... Howard Phillips Lovecraft.

With time running out before Lovecraft's monstrous pantheon breaks free and destroys the world, the Doctor must enter Lovecraft's mind to fight the psychic invader from within. Can he and Flip overcome the eldritch horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos? And will Constance and Calypso survive babysitting the infamously xenophobic Old Gentleman of Providence himself?

It was that with some trepidation but also curiosity I approached reviewing “The Lovecraft Invasion”. Howard Phillips Lovecraft was an American early 20th-century writer of weird and horror stories which are in my opinion a bit of an acquired taste. His fiction uses a kind of formalised language which doesn’t translate for an easy read on the page. But something about the flow of the language actually seems to work better if heard as a story.

So I was interested to hear how a story using him as a central character would work. Secondly, this is my first 6th Doctor Big Finish story and I had heard such good things about how the Doctor’s character has been developed beyond the TV series with Big Finish that I wanted to see if it was true. For the most part with some few reservations, Robert Valentine has skilfully scripted an imaginative and complex story around his characters as the Doctor steers us through 1937 Providence and the HP Lovecraft mythos.

[caption id="attachment_9786" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]HP Lovecraft HP Lovecraft[/caption]

HP Lovecraft is the major character in this story and has been described as the father of modern horror writing. The world he creates of malign creatures, cosmic legends older than mankind which serve to highlight the insignificance of humans has many contemporary writers and moviemakers as fans. Robert Valentine explores the interesting idea about whether you can still enjoy the work of an author but not agree with his personal views. The copious letters (around 100, 000 ) left by the real HP Lovecraft highlight his xenophobic (having or showing a dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries) and racist views. His various proclamations about Russians, Jews Asians and Black people are publicly documented and reprehensible.  I doubt his views were unique to him at the time. He is just a visible representative of the views of a conservative right concerned about immigration prior to the Second World War.

There is a lovely moment where the Doctor describes sorrowfully to Flip being unable to read a favourite book after discovering the author's pastime was rather destructive. The subtlety of his point is well made but then there are other times the message becomes heavy-handed. Perhaps he is protecting his companions before they meet HP but the Doctor far too easily seems to able to pass judgement on the man describing him as a “failure in his lifetime, racist and xenophobe, not someone he wanted to meet”.

There is a rather forced conversation towards the conclusion of the story between our two “gentlemen” where the Doctor lectures Howard Phillips that his hierarchical bigoty is blind, cruel arrogance showing the worst of humanity and the Doctor is nothing like him. Whilst I know this Doctor doesn’t hold back on his sarcasm it does surprise me somewhat that as a Timelord, who has met the best and creative of humanity, he allows himself a strong reaction to this particular human being. I do wonder whether the HP Lovecraft in this drama intentionally parts way with the real man to make the story modern and political, to resonant with current concerns around, race, acceptance and difference.

The story does stray slightly away from revealing Howard Phillips married a Jewish lady Sonia Greene, although the marriage only lasted two years. HP also drifted towards socialism in his later years and criticised his prior beliefs but the Doctor is just scathing of a man just a few months away from his own death at age forty-six “ His work lives on. Warts and all” he tells Calypso. Whilst I wasn’t keen on the lecturing tone of the story Colin Baker in his later years has a slight gravel to his voice which brings a greater maturity to the 6th Doctor than I was expecting. In a way, I never saw Colin Baker regenerate from the 6th Doctor originally ( well he didn’t and I’m sticking to that ) so in my head, the 6th Doctor always ages and mellows despite the coat.  Here his Doctor always seems in control which is reassuring and enjoyable.

Alan Marriott plays both Howard Phillips Lovecraft and his fictional creation and alter ego Randolph Carter and his performance of both characters is polished as Robert Valentine’s script combines funny as well as humour against the background of the horrific. There aren’t recordings of HP but actor Alan Marriott creates a nasally New Englander keen to create the characteristics of Howard Phillips not being a masculine child obsessed by the idea of being a 17th century gentleman with manners. Its cleverly conveyed in the script by small scenes of Howard Phillips chiding the postman for a throwaway saucy comment about ladies when delivering the post and betraying his own inability to convey emotions in a letter to his wife.

I did wonder whether the script portrayal of him as a whiny highly-strung man at times made it easier to despise him and accept the other characters as they make their dislike of him and his views known. There is a tension between the horror writer, companion Constance Clarke who is living through the horror of the Second World War at home and pansexual, bi-racial bounty hunter Calypso Jonze ( played by Robyn Holdaway)who physically represents everything HP is afraid of.

In the social media world, we live in where everyone seems to have an informed or no opinion about how history should be interpreted there will be some people absolutely saying Calypso and Constance have a right to challenge his behaviour. Yes, they do but on the other hand, I never felt we had a satisfactory right of reply from him in the story or sufficient exploration of what caused him to hold those views except it was due to “logic and reason” so it felt one-sided.

[caption id="attachment_9783" align="aligncenter" width="600"]The Lovecraft Invasion cover The Lovecraft Invasion cover[/caption]

Regarding the story, I’m relatively a newbie in Big Finish terms and so the beginning was a bit unsettling as the Tardis crew are running back to the Tardis from a previous adventure. This as I understand is an unheard adventure as the last story so far with Flip and Mrs Clark as companions was “Scorched Earth” set in World War 2. But they are chasing after a genetically modified parasite, the Somnifax which has escaped from a lab. Once the Tardis arrives in 1930’s Providence done fairly quickly the story then settles in its location.

This is my first Flip and Mrs Clark story and along for the journey is a bounty hunter Calypso Jonze (played by Robyn Holdaway). It worked splitting up the Tardis team up as Calypso and Mrs Clark were tasked with looking after HP Lovecraft whilst breaches in reality appeared. Constance Clarke kept HP calm in a very British stiff upper lip way and I quite like her calmness and strength of spirit which counterbalanced the single-mindedness of Calypso who has her eyes on the reward for the capture of the Somnifax. I enjoyed the touches to the script as they visited the place HP was born, Angell Street and Butler hospital which has emotional resonance to him.

[caption id="attachment_9787" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]The cast: Miranda Raison (Constance Clarke), Colin Baker (The Doctor) and Lisa Greenwood (Flip Jackson) The cast: Miranda Raison (Constance Clarke), Colin Baker (The Doctor) and Lisa Greenwood (Flip Jackson)[/caption]

The Doctor and Philippa (yes, she’s Flip but I’m not sure I actually like the name) meanwhile follow the Somnifax who has possessed HP Lovecraft’s imagination to lure it out of its host.  I’m not quite sure how old Flip is meant to be, at times she sounds like a teenager other times older but I liked her energy. They encounter all sorts of monstrosities on the journey through HP Lovecraft’s subconscious including Wilbur Whateley, a repulsive inhabitant of Dunwich from one of the writer’s stories. Using the made-up world of an established writer can risk alienating a listener if they are unfamiliar with the references of “Lovecraft Country”. I must admit it initially felt a little strange to hear the terminology but Flip and the Doctor are our guides.

I do wonder where Lovecraft’s nightmarish ghouls and ancient deities before man existed that really don’t care about us came from. Can it be explained by the psychological scar of his mother repeatedly calling him hideous as a child or was it is his fascination with chemistry, astrology and the recognition that mankind is just a speck of dust in the cosmos? One of the benefits dear reader of Big Finish covering Lovecraft Country is as the Doctor, Flip and later Carter moved around the dark places I created my own fearful images in my head. The nightmare corpse city, Nyarlathotep / Cthulu with the sound of the tribal drums were well realised alongside the creepy musical score throughout by Andy Hardwick.

Robert Valentine clearly enjoyed writing this story which mixes a very current political message alongside a decent sci-fi horror plot. The examination of racism and xenophobic themes is timely but it shouts its message in a particularly heavy-handed way at times which is obvious. The nightmare world is probably the strongest element because the Somnifax manipulates the fictional landscape so the story doesn’t go down a familiar horror route. For lovers of Lovecraft Country, it’s a decent homage as Valentine uses the characters to explore relevant themes without seeming unreachable.

An engrossing story from Robert Valentine 7.5/10

The post Big Finish Doctor Who Review: 265 The Lovecraft Invasion appeared first on The Doctor Who Big Blue Box Podcast.

]]>
The Lovecraft Invasion Review

The Doctor, Constance and Flip join forces with a 51st-century bounty hunter, Calypso Jonze, to hunt down the Somnifax: a weaponised mind-parasite capable of turning its host's nightmares into physical reality. Chasing it through the time vortex to Providence, Rhode Island in 1937, they arrive too late to stop it from latching onto a local author of weird fiction... Howard Phillips Lovecraft.

With time running out before Lovecraft's monstrous pantheon breaks free and destroys the world, the Doctor must enter Lovecraft's mind to fight the psychic invader from within. Can he and Flip overcome the eldritch horrors of the Cthulhu Mythos? And will Constance and Calypso survive babysitting the infamously xenophobic Old Gentleman of Providence himself?

It was that with some trepidation but also curiosity I approached reviewing “The Lovecraft Invasion”. Howard Phillips Lovecraft was an American early 20th-century writer of weird and horror stories which are in my opinion a bit of an acquired taste. His fiction uses a kind of formalised language which doesn’t translate for an easy read on the page. But something about the flow of the language actually seems to work better if heard as a story.

So I was interested to hear how a story using him as a central character would work. Secondly, this is my first 6th Doctor Big Finish story and I had heard such good things about how the Doctor’s character has been developed beyond the TV series with Big Finish that I wanted to see if it was true. For the most part with some few reservations, Robert Valentine has skilfully scripted an imaginative and complex story around his characters as the Doctor steers us through 1937 Providence and the HP Lovecraft mythos.

[caption id="attachment_9786" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]HP Lovecraft HP Lovecraft[/caption]

HP Lovecraft is the major character in this story and has been described as the father of modern horror writing. The world he creates of malign creatures, cosmic legends older than mankind which serve to highlight the insignificance of humans has many contemporary writers and moviemakers as fans. Robert Valentine explores the interesting idea about whether you can still enjoy the work of an author but not agree with his personal views. The copious letters (around 100, 000 ) left by the real HP Lovecraft highlight his xenophobic (having or showing a dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries) and racist views. His various proclamations about Russians, Jews Asians and Black people are publicly documented and reprehensible.  I doubt his views were unique to him at the time. He is just a visible representative of the views of a conservative right concerned about immigration prior to the Second World War.

There is a lovely moment where the Doctor describes sorrowfully to Flip being unable to read a favourite book after discovering the author's pastime was rather destructive. The subtlety of his point is well made but then there are other times the message becomes heavy-handed. Perhaps he is protecting his companions before they meet HP but the Doctor far too easily seems to able to pass judgement on the man describing him as a “failure in his lifetime, racist and xenophobe, not someone he wanted to meet”.

There is a rather forced conversation towards the conclusion of the story between our two “gentlemen” where the Doctor lectures Howard Phillips that his hierarchical bigoty is blind, cruel arrogance showing the worst of humanity and the Doctor is nothing like him. Whilst I know this Doctor doesn’t hold back on his sarcasm it does surprise me somewhat that as a Timelord, who has met the best and creative of humanity, he allows himself a strong reaction to this particular human being. I do wonder whether the HP Lovecraft in this drama intentionally parts way with the real man to make the story modern and political, to resonant with current concerns around, race, acceptance and difference.

The story does stray slightly away from revealing Howard Phillips married a Jewish lady Sonia Greene, although the marriage only lasted two years. HP also drifted towards socialism in his later years and criticised his prior beliefs but the Doctor is just scathing of a man just a few months away from his own death at age forty-six “ His work lives on. Warts and all” he tells Calypso. Whilst I wasn’t keen on the lecturing tone of the story Colin Baker in his later years has a slight gravel to his voice which brings a greater maturity to the 6th Doctor than I was expecting. In a way, I never saw Colin Baker regenerate from the 6th Doctor originally ( well he didn’t and I’m sticking to that ) so in my head, the 6th Doctor always ages and mellows despite the coat.  Here his Doctor always seems in control which is reassuring and enjoyable.

Alan Marriott plays both Howard Phillips Lovecraft and his fictional creation and alter ego Randolph Carter and his performance of both characters is polished as Robert Valentine’s script combines funny as well as humour against the background of the horrific. There aren’t recordings of HP but actor Alan Marriott creates a nasally New Englander keen to create the characteristics of Howard Phillips not being a masculine child obsessed by the idea of being a 17th century gentleman with manners. Its cleverly conveyed in the script by small scenes of Howard Phillips chiding the postman for a throwaway saucy comment about ladies when delivering the post and betraying his own inability to convey emotions in a letter to his wife.

I did wonder whether the script portrayal of him as a whiny highly-strung man at times made it easier to despise him and accept the other characters as they make their dislike of him and his views known. There is a tension between the horror writer, companion Constance Clarke who is living through the horror of the Second World War at home and pansexual, bi-racial bounty hunter Calypso Jonze ( played by Robyn Holdaway)who physically represents everything HP is afraid of.

In the social media world, we live in where everyone seems to have an informed or no opinion about how history should be interpreted there will be some people absolutely saying Calypso and Constance have a right to challenge his behaviour. Yes, they do but on the other hand, I never felt we had a satisfactory right of reply from him in the story or sufficient exploration of what caused him to hold those views except it was due to “logic and reason” so it felt one-sided.

[caption id="attachment_9783" align="aligncenter" width="600"]The Lovecraft Invasion cover The Lovecraft Invasion cover[/caption]

Regarding the story, I’m relatively a newbie in Big Finish terms and so the beginning was a bit unsettling as the Tardis crew are running back to the Tardis from a previous adventure. This as I understand is an unheard adventure as the last story so far with Flip and Mrs Clark as companions was “Scorched Earth” set in World War 2. But they are chasing after a genetically modified parasite, the Somnifax which has escaped from a lab. Once the Tardis arrives in 1930’s Providence done fairly quickly the story then settles in its location.

This is my first Flip and Mrs Clark story and along for the journey is a bounty hunter Calypso Jonze (played by Robyn Holdaway). It worked splitting up the Tardis team up as Calypso and Mrs Clark were tasked with looking after HP Lovecraft whilst breaches in reality appeared. Constance Clarke kept HP calm in a very British stiff upper lip way and I quite like her calmness and strength of spirit which counterbalanced the single-mindedness of Calypso who has her eyes on the reward for the capture of the Somnifax. I enjoyed the touches to the script as they visited the place HP was born, Angell Street and Butler hospital which has emotional resonance to him.

[caption id="attachment_9787" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]The cast: Miranda Raison (Constance Clarke), Colin Baker (The Doctor) and Lisa Greenwood (Flip Jackson) The cast: Miranda Raison (Constance Clarke), Colin Baker (The Doctor) and Lisa Greenwood (Flip Jackson)[/caption]

The Doctor and Philippa (yes, she’s Flip but I’m not sure I actually like the name) meanwhile follow the Somnifax who has possessed HP Lovecraft’s imagination to lure it out of its host.  I’m not quite sure how old Flip is meant to be, at times she sounds like a teenager other times older but I liked her energy. They encounter all sorts of monstrosities on the journey through HP Lovecraft’s subconscious including Wilbur Whateley, a repulsive inhabitant of Dunwich from one of the writer’s stories. Using the made-up world of an established writer can risk alienating a listener if they are unfamiliar with the references of “Lovecraft Country”. I must admit it initially felt a little strange to hear the terminology but Flip and the Doctor are our guides.

I do wonder where Lovecraft’s nightmarish ghouls and ancient deities before man existed that really don’t care about us came from. Can it be explained by the psychological scar of his mother repeatedly calling him hideous as a child or was it is his fascination with chemistry, astrology and the recognition that mankind is just a speck of dust in the cosmos? One of the benefits dear reader of Big Finish covering Lovecraft Country is as the Doctor, Flip and later Carter moved around the dark places I created my own fearful images in my head. The nightmare corpse city, Nyarlathotep / Cthulu with the sound of the tribal drums were well realised alongside the creepy musical score throughout by Andy Hardwick.

Robert Valentine clearly enjoyed writing this story which mixes a very current political message alongside a decent sci-fi horror plot. The examination of racism and xenophobic themes is timely but it shouts its message in a particularly heavy-handed way at times which is obvious. The nightmare world is probably the strongest element because the Somnifax manipulates the fictional landscape so the story doesn’t go down a familiar horror route. For lovers of Lovecraft Country, it’s a decent homage as Valentine uses the characters to explore relevant themes without seeming unreachable.

An engrossing story from Robert Valentine 7.5/10

The post Big Finish Doctor Who Review: 265 The Lovecraft Invasion appeared first on The Doctor Who Big Blue Box Podcast.

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Dalek Universe from Big Finish PLUS Our Review of Torchwood – “To the Last Man” https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/282/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=282 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/282/#respond Fri, 18 Sep 2020 06:00:54 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=9725 The Big Blue Box Podcast - Episode 282

The News

No news this week.

The Merch

Big Finish announces new epic 10th Doctor story "Dalek Universe" landing in 2021.

Review story this episode: Torchwood - To the Last Man

Poor Tommy and poor Tosh. Love is never easy in Torchwood, especially when your loved one has to die to save everyone else. Another good one from S2 or a bit cold?

Coming next week: Silence in the Library & Forest of the Dead

We haven't seen this 10th Doctor story in a while so drop back for our thoughts on this often highly rated two-parter.

Thank you all for listening, and until then have a great week, take care of yourselves, stay healthy and remember – Allons-y!

The post Dalek Universe from Big Finish PLUS Our Review of Torchwood – “To the Last Man” appeared first on The Doctor Who Big Blue Box Podcast.

]]>
The Big Blue Box Podcast - Episode 282

The News

No news this week.

The Merch

Big Finish announces new epic 10th Doctor story "Dalek Universe" landing in 2021.

Review story this episode: Torchwood - To the Last Man

Poor Tommy and poor Tosh. Love is never easy in Torchwood, especially when your loved one has to die to save everyone else. Another good one from S2 or a bit cold?

Coming next week: Silence in the Library & Forest of the Dead

We haven't seen this 10th Doctor story in a while so drop back for our thoughts on this often highly rated two-parter. Thank you all for listening, and until then have a great week, take care of yourselves, stay healthy and remember – Allons-y!

The post Dalek Universe from Big Finish PLUS Our Review of Torchwood – “To the Last Man” appeared first on The Doctor Who Big Blue Box Podcast.

]]>
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Back to the Bay: A Margate Local Reviews ‘Fury from the Deep’ https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/back-to-the-bay-a-margate-local-reviews-fury-from-the-deep/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=back-to-the-bay-a-margate-local-reviews-fury-from-the-deep https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/back-to-the-bay-a-margate-local-reviews-fury-from-the-deep/#respond Thu, 17 Sep 2020 19:00:20 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=9705

This might be contentious, but I tend to avoid missing episodes. Television is, after all, a visual medium and to listen to an audio recording whilst squinting at still images doesn’t do the original work justice. Also, linking narration or title cards are all well and good but they don’t make The Feast of Steven or The Celestial Toymaker any less noisy or chaotic. I’ve dabbled with the Loose Cannon reconstructions for some of the missing episodes but, lovingly and painstakingly crafted though they are, they still don’t quite match up.

I guess I’m always going to be holding out hope that one day soon, 92 film cans will find their way to the front door of BBC Enterprises. Thankfully the flourishing range of animated reconstructions, which this month adds Fury from the Deep, is the most engaging way that I've found to experience lost stories. They'll certainly keep me going until Philip Morris empties his attic...

Personally, the loss of Fury from the Deep is a bit of a stinger for me. No pun intended. It’s only one of two Doctor Who stories filmed near where I live in Margate. (The second is The Mind of Evil, filmed at Manston airfield) I’ve spent many hours walking alongside those beautiful white cliffs at Botany Bay, retracing the footsteps of Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling. I don’t know about you, but I always get a little frisson of excitement when visiting a Doctor Who filming location. It’s even more exciting when you’re able to experience the story itself and actually see your favourite characters trample over one of your local beaches, and introduce the sonic screwdriver! Oh well.

[caption id="attachment_9706" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]Victoria, the Doctor and Jamie pictured just up the road from my flat Victoria, the Doctor and Jamie pictured just up the road from my flat[/caption]

It's especially frustrating because Fury from the Deep has long been considered a classic base-under-siege story, full of atmosphere, genuinely chilling imagery and a final two episodes which are full of the breath-taking action sequences you’d normally expect from the Pertwee era. On watching this new reconstruction, it mostly earns that reputation. After an audacious TARDIS landing and a rubber dinghy ride we’re soon on familiar ground as the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria arrive on the Kent coast where something rather unpleasant is lurking in the pipes at the local Euro Sea Gas facility.

However, because this is a tried-and-tested Doctor Who format by this point, there are large stretches where the plot starts to sag under the weight of the six-part runtime. To his credit, Victor Pemberton wisely fills each episode with incident – the terrifying visit by Messrs Oak and Quill, Mrs Harris’ chilling seaside stroll, the foaming bedroom – but these set-pieces don't distract from the fact that large chunks of each episode involve various characters rehashing the same arguments with the belligerent Robson.

As well as the foam, Euro Sea Gas is full to the brim with stock base-under-siege archetypes, although pleasingly Pemberton gives them more texture than characters in similar stories -  there's Roy Spencer as Harris, the meek second-in-command, worried about his wife as much as he is about annoying his boss. There's John Abineri, terrific as the enigmatic, slightly manipulative Van Lutyens, an external expert who's arrived to check up on the facility. Then there's Robson himself, the archetypal suspicious senior authority figure. And yet, in Pemberton's writing and Victor Maddern's performance, there is a fascinating portrayal of the psychological damage done by years of isolation whilst working on the rigs.

Robson is an uncaring, bolshy boss because he's forgotten how to interact with real people. His ordeal will go some way to reconnecting him with his humanity. There's real motivation and character arcs mapped out for a lot of the characters here, in a way that you don't always get with similar stories of the era. Robson's boss Megan Jones, played with a good deal of steely efficiency by Margaret John really livens up the final third of the story. Between the whimpering, ailing Mrs Bennett and the whimpering, screaming Victoria Waterfield, women aren't served particularly well in this story, so it's a relief to see a woman taking charge of the base as the story heads towards the barnstorming conclusion.

[caption id="attachment_9713" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]The Doctor and Victoria have a heart to heart The Doctor and Victoria have a heart to heart[/caption]

And speaking of Victoria, she gets an atypical companion exit in the sense that it's telegraphed from the opening episode. No last-minute weddings, space coronations or airport departures here. Poor Victoria's grown tired of the constant threat of death that comes with travelling in the TARDIS and decides it's time to settle down on Earth. Whilst it's almost undercut by the daftness of her screams defeating the seaweed, her departure is a moving moment and Pemberton's script allows the time to deal with the departure in a manner befitting both the characters and the actors themselves.

In the making-of documentary, Deborah Watling (in archive footage) talks of how her, Troughton and Hines felt like a family unit and you get a real sense of that in the touching heart to heart Victoria has with the Doctor and her heartbreaking chat with Jamie in the garden. Whilst this is one of the few Doctor Who stories where everybody lives, there's still a tremendous sense of melancholy in the story's closing moments as the Doctor and Jamie sadly row back to the TARDIS. It's testament to the artists and animators at Digitoonz that all of that still comes through in this reconstruction.

The art style of Fury is a marked improvement on the previous releases and captures the likenesses of our leads and supporting characters in an evocative way that befits the actors and the medium. What’s enjoyable about these recent animated reconstructions is how they give us an idea of what Doctor Who would have looked like as a full colour 1960’s cartoon series.  I’m not sure if this is a deliberate move or one necessitated by the small budgets afforded to the team, but it mostly works.

There are some drawbacks though, the climactic sequence of repelling the seaweed in the control room loses the frenetic energy of the surviving footage. Similarly, Mr. Oak and Mr. Quill aren’t nearly as horrifying and other-worldly as they are in the original unnerving sequence (possibly the most terrifying moment in all of Doctor Who?) with Mrs. Harris. Whilst the facial animations are an improvement on The Faceless Ones and The Macra Terror it struggles to properly replicate Bill Burridge’s unique physicality. As a result, this reconstruction occasionally lacks an atmosphere, which is a real shame.

[caption id="attachment_9710" align="aligncenter" width="1170"] Messrs Oak and Quill, animated[/caption]

It’s possibly an issue with framing. Are base-under-siege stories better suited to grainy black and white 16mm film than they are pin sharp colour animation? The 16:9 format aspect ratio means more of the frame to fill, and whilst the design of the ESG facility achieves more than they could have realistically done in 1968, it often leaves empty space. Claustrophobia is a big part of what makes those types of story so compelling and the cavernous impeller room doesn’t feel quite as gloomily atmospheric as it may have done on original broadcast.

Minor quibbles perhaps, especially as the alternative is popping on a narrated soundtrack and squinting at telesnaps (there's a 141 minute reconstruction cut of the story included too if that's your bag). It's not perfect, but chances are that was the original to be returned to us in a few years time, we'd find that it wasn't perfect either. Look at The Web of Fear.

"Not enough time, not enough money" is a constant refrain on Doctor Who making-of documentaries, and I'm sure that the same was true for the production of this animation. The love for the source material and the creativity shines through the shortcomings. Much like in the 1960s, some magic has been conjured up from little money and a difficult situation (though classic Who thankfully avoided a global pandemic). You couldn't ask for a finer tribute to the Troughton era than that.

[caption id="attachment_9709" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]Frazer Hines, Michael E. Briant and 'Mad' Mike Smith at the Red Sands Sea Fort Frazer Hines, Michael E. Briant and 'Mad' Mike Smith at the Red Sands Sea Fort[/caption]

Extras

As with previous animated releases, this is a three-disc set with a whole host of additional material. The cruellest of which is the beautiful remastered film footage of the climactic control room battle, giving us a brief insight into just how great 1960s Doctor Who looks on Blu-ray. Hopefully the 1st and 2nd Doctors will join The Collection in due course. On a positive note, however, the surviving Fury footage does emphasise how the monsters and, specifically, Robson’s transformation is much better served by the flexibility of animation. In the brief surviving clip from episode five, Victor Maddern’s costume and make-up look more like a shabby scarecrow than terrifying seaweed creature.

Also included are all seven episodes of Victor Pemberton’s radio drama The Slide, which formed the basis of Fury from the Deep – pitting Roger Delgado’s Josef Gomez against sentient mud, rather than seaweed.

The highlight of the set is The Cruel Sea – Surviving Fury from the Deep, a hugely entertaining and insightful making-of documentary filmed at Botany Bay and the Redsands Sea Fort. It reunites Frazer Hines, Michael E. Briant, Margot Hayhoe and the utterly fascinating helicopter pilot ‘Mad’ Mike Smith. Seriously, I’d watch a whole documentary about Smith’s exploits – swinging from chandeliers at the Botany Bay hotel, flying his helicopter between the legs of the sea fort (“…just like driving a car”), he’s a proper character.

We’ve come a long way from the static, solo interviews from the early days of the DVD range and The Cruel Sea really benefits from having all the interviewees on location together. There’s a real warmth between them all, like old friends reuniting after a long time. I’m sure some of the stories have been told before in Doctor Who Magazine and at conventions, but there is a sense that returning to the locations unlocks long-forgotten memories and hilarious new anecdotes in the team. It’s a truly wonderful little documentary which will no doubt increase the number of Doctor Who fans making pilgrimages to Margate. I'll see you there!

The post Back to the Bay: A Margate Local Reviews ‘Fury from the Deep’ appeared first on The Doctor Who Big Blue Box Podcast.

]]>

This might be contentious, but I tend to avoid missing episodes. Television is, after all, a visual medium and to listen to an audio recording whilst squinting at still images doesn’t do the original work justice. Also, linking narration or title cards are all well and good but they don’t make The Feast of Steven or The Celestial Toymaker any less noisy or chaotic. I’ve dabbled with the Loose Cannon reconstructions for some of the missing episodes but, lovingly and painstakingly crafted though they are, they still don’t quite match up. I guess I’m always going to be holding out hope that one day soon, 92 film cans will find their way to the front door of BBC Enterprises. Thankfully the flourishing range of animated reconstructions, which this month adds Fury from the Deep, is the most engaging way that I've found to experience lost stories. They'll certainly keep me going until Philip Morris empties his attic... Personally, the loss of Fury from the Deep is a bit of a stinger for me. No pun intended. It’s only one of two Doctor Who stories filmed near where I live in Margate. (The second is The Mind of Evil, filmed at Manston airfield) I’ve spent many hours walking alongside those beautiful white cliffs at Botany Bay, retracing the footsteps of Patrick Troughton, Frazer Hines and Deborah Watling. I don’t know about you, but I always get a little frisson of excitement when visiting a Doctor Who filming location. It’s even more exciting when you’re able to experience the story itself and actually see your favourite characters trample over one of your local beaches, and introduce the sonic screwdriver! Oh well. [caption id="attachment_9706" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]Victoria, the Doctor and Jamie pictured just up the road from my flat Victoria, the Doctor and Jamie pictured just up the road from my flat[/caption] It's especially frustrating because Fury from the Deep has long been considered a classic base-under-siege story, full of atmosphere, genuinely chilling imagery and a final two episodes which are full of the breath-taking action sequences you’d normally expect from the Pertwee era. On watching this new reconstruction, it mostly earns that reputation. After an audacious TARDIS landing and a rubber dinghy ride we’re soon on familiar ground as the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria arrive on the Kent coast where something rather unpleasant is lurking in the pipes at the local Euro Sea Gas facility. However, because this is a tried-and-tested Doctor Who format by this point, there are large stretches where the plot starts to sag under the weight of the six-part runtime. To his credit, Victor Pemberton wisely fills each episode with incident – the terrifying visit by Messrs Oak and Quill, Mrs Harris’ chilling seaside stroll, the foaming bedroom – but these set-pieces don't distract from the fact that large chunks of each episode involve various characters rehashing the same arguments with the belligerent Robson. As well as the foam, Euro Sea Gas is full to the brim with stock base-under-siege archetypes, although pleasingly Pemberton gives them more texture than characters in similar stories -  there's Roy Spencer as Harris, the meek second-in-command, worried about his wife as much as he is about annoying his boss. There's John Abineri, terrific as the enigmatic, slightly manipulative Van Lutyens, an external expert who's arrived to check up on the facility. Then there's Robson himself, the archetypal suspicious senior authority figure. And yet, in Pemberton's writing and Victor Maddern's performance, there is a fascinating portrayal of the psychological damage done by years of isolation whilst working on the rigs. Robson is an uncaring, bolshy boss because he's forgotten how to interact with real people. His ordeal will go some way to reconnecting him with his humanity. There's real motivation and character arcs mapped out for a lot of the characters here, in a way that you don't always get with similar stories of the era. Robson's boss Megan Jones, played with a good deal of steely efficiency by Margaret John really livens up the final third of the story. Between the whimpering, ailing Mrs Bennett and the whimpering, screaming Victoria Waterfield, women aren't served particularly well in this story, so it's a relief to see a woman taking charge of the base as the story heads towards the barnstorming conclusion. [caption id="attachment_9713" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]The Doctor and Victoria have a heart to heart The Doctor and Victoria have a heart to heart[/caption] And speaking of Victoria, she gets an atypical companion exit in the sense that it's telegraphed from the opening episode. No last-minute weddings, space coronations or airport departures here. Poor Victoria's grown tired of the constant threat of death that comes with travelling in the TARDIS and decides it's time to settle down on Earth. Whilst it's almost undercut by the daftness of her screams defeating the seaweed, her departure is a moving moment and Pemberton's script allows the time to deal with the departure in a manner befitting both the characters and the actors themselves. In the making-of documentary, Deborah Watling (in archive footage) talks of how her, Troughton and Hines felt like a family unit and you get a real sense of that in the touching heart to heart Victoria has with the Doctor and her heartbreaking chat with Jamie in the garden. Whilst this is one of the few Doctor Who stories where everybody lives, there's still a tremendous sense of melancholy in the story's closing moments as the Doctor and Jamie sadly row back to the TARDIS. It's testament to the artists and animators at Digitoonz that all of that still comes through in this reconstruction. The art style of Fury is a marked improvement on the previous releases and captures the likenesses of our leads and supporting characters in an evocative way that befits the actors and the medium. What’s enjoyable about these recent animated reconstructions is how they give us an idea of what Doctor Who would have looked like as a full colour 1960’s cartoon series.  I’m not sure if this is a deliberate move or one necessitated by the small budgets afforded to the team, but it mostly works. There are some drawbacks though, the climactic sequence of repelling the seaweed in the control room loses the frenetic energy of the surviving footage. Similarly, Mr. Oak and Mr. Quill aren’t nearly as horrifying and other-worldly as they are in the original unnerving sequence (possibly the most terrifying moment in all of Doctor Who?) with Mrs. Harris. Whilst the facial animations are an improvement on The Faceless Ones and The Macra Terror it struggles to properly replicate Bill Burridge’s unique physicality. As a result, this reconstruction occasionally lacks an atmosphere, which is a real shame. [caption id="attachment_9710" align="aligncenter" width="1170"] Messrs Oak and Quill, animated[/caption] It’s possibly an issue with framing. Are base-under-siege stories better suited to grainy black and white 16mm film than they are pin sharp colour animation? The 16:9 format aspect ratio means more of the frame to fill, and whilst the design of the ESG facility achieves more than they could have realistically done in 1968, it often leaves empty space. Claustrophobia is a big part of what makes those types of story so compelling and the cavernous impeller room doesn’t feel quite as gloomily atmospheric as it may have done on original broadcast. Minor quibbles perhaps, especially as the alternative is popping on a narrated soundtrack and squinting at telesnaps (there's a 141 minute reconstruction cut of the story included too if that's your bag). It's not perfect, but chances are that was the original to be returned to us in a few years time, we'd find that it wasn't perfect either. Look at The Web of Fear. "Not enough time, not enough money" is a constant refrain on Doctor Who making-of documentaries, and I'm sure that the same was true for the production of this animation. The love for the source material and the creativity shines through the shortcomings. Much like in the 1960s, some magic has been conjured up from little money and a difficult situation (though classic Who thankfully avoided a global pandemic). You couldn't ask for a finer tribute to the Troughton era than that. [caption id="attachment_9709" align="aligncenter" width="1170"]Frazer Hines, Michael E. Briant and 'Mad' Mike Smith at the Red Sands Sea Fort Frazer Hines, Michael E. Briant and 'Mad' Mike Smith at the Red Sands Sea Fort[/caption]

Extras

As with previous animated releases, this is a three-disc set with a whole host of additional material. The cruellest of which is the beautiful remastered film footage of the climactic control room battle, giving us a brief insight into just how great 1960s Doctor Who looks on Blu-ray. Hopefully the 1st and 2nd Doctors will join The Collection in due course. On a positive note, however, the surviving Fury footage does emphasise how the monsters and, specifically, Robson’s transformation is much better served by the flexibility of animation. In the brief surviving clip from episode five, Victor Maddern’s costume and make-up look more like a shabby scarecrow than terrifying seaweed creature. Also included are all seven episodes of Victor Pemberton’s radio drama The Slide, which formed the basis of Fury from the Deep – pitting Roger Delgado’s Josef Gomez against sentient mud, rather than seaweed. The highlight of the set is The Cruel Sea – Surviving Fury from the Deep, a hugely entertaining and insightful making-of documentary filmed at Botany Bay and the Redsands Sea Fort. It reunites Frazer Hines, Michael E. Briant, Margot Hayhoe and the utterly fascinating helicopter pilot ‘Mad’ Mike Smith. Seriously, I’d watch a whole documentary about Smith’s exploits – swinging from chandeliers at the Botany Bay hotel, flying his helicopter between the legs of the sea fort (“…just like driving a car”), he’s a proper character. We’ve come a long way from the static, solo interviews from the early days of the DVD range and The Cruel Sea really benefits from having all the interviewees on location together. There’s a real warmth between them all, like old friends reuniting after a long time. I’m sure some of the stories have been told before in Doctor Who Magazine and at conventions, but there is a sense that returning to the locations unlocks long-forgotten memories and hilarious new anecdotes in the team. It’s a truly wonderful little documentary which will no doubt increase the number of Doctor Who fans making pilgrimages to Margate. I'll see you there!

The post Back to the Bay: A Margate Local Reviews ‘Fury from the Deep’ appeared first on The Doctor Who Big Blue Box Podcast.

]]>
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Daleks! Animated Series Announced Plus Our Review of Terror of the Autons https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/281/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=281 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/281/#respond Fri, 11 Sep 2020 07:16:54 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=9693 The Big Blue Box Podcast - Episode 281

The News

"Daleks!", the last story for the Time Lord Victorious arc has been announced and will be an animated five-part series.

The Merch

No merch this week.

Review story this episode: Terror of the Autons

Jon Pertwee's second series as The Doctor kicks off with a new companion and our first story with The Master. All good stuff or a bit drippy like melting plastic?

Coming next week: Torchwood - To the Last Man

Back to Torchwood next week as we continue series 2 with this Tosh focused story.

Thank you all for listening, and until then have a great week, take care of yourselves, stay healthy and remember – Allons-y!

The post Daleks! Animated Series Announced Plus Our Review of Terror of the Autons appeared first on The Doctor Who Big Blue Box Podcast.

]]>
The Big Blue Box Podcast - Episode 281

The News

"Daleks!", the last story for the Time Lord Victorious arc has been announced and will be an animated five-part series.

The Merch

No merch this week.

Review story this episode: Terror of the Autons

Jon Pertwee's second series as The Doctor kicks off with a new companion and our first story with The Master. All good stuff or a bit drippy like melting plastic?

Coming next week: Torchwood - To the Last Man

Back to Torchwood next week as we continue series 2 with this Tosh focused story. Thank you all for listening, and until then have a great week, take care of yourselves, stay healthy and remember – Allons-y!

The post Daleks! Animated Series Announced Plus Our Review of Terror of the Autons appeared first on The Doctor Who Big Blue Box Podcast.

]]>
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Doctor Who “Slipback” Review – A Radio Drama with Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/doctor-who-slipback-review-a-radio-drama-with-colin-baker-and-nicola-bryant/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=doctor-who-slipback-review-a-radio-drama-with-colin-baker-and-nicola-bryant https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/doctor-who-slipback-review-a-radio-drama-with-colin-baker-and-nicola-bryant/#respond Fri, 04 Sep 2020 14:00:17 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=9549

Odd events are taking place as the Tardis materializes on board a space-craft: a mysterious killer stalks the ship's ducting; two dubious policemen are investigating the theft of art treasures, and the computer has taken on its own distinctive personality. Soon the doctor stumbles on a shocking secret, a secret upon which depends the fate of the entire universe...

Thirty-five years ago in 1985, there was a first in Doctor Who as  Slipback starring Colin Baker as the 6th Doctor and Nicola Bryant as Peri became the first Doctor Who serial to be produced as a radio drama broadcast on Radio 4. Rummaging through my Doctor Who collection I came across my home-recorded audio cassette of the drama, which I haven’t listened to in many many years and didn’t remember at all. Listening to“Slipback” though brought back memories of a brief summer when Doctor Who was on hiatus and in danger of cancellation. Produced by the BBC and broadcast in the summer of 1985 it was a radio drama in six 10 minutes episodes broadcast from 25 July to 8 August 1985.

These days I have become resigned to long delays between series, due to showrunners needing more time to or due to their commitments writing for multiple productions. Now with the coronavirus also affecting tv production schedules, we are having to wait even longer. In 1985, as a teenage fan, it came as a total shock that Doctor Who was on a break threatened with cancellation after a  relatively steady 22-season run since 1963. After the 22nd season, Colin Baker’s first series aired it had drawn criticism from viewers for its more “horrific”  violent tone. The BBC then decided to push back the programme for a whole year which stirred up everyone who loved the show. There was outrage in the tabloids at the decision and music producer and Doctor Who fan Ian Levine produced the protest music single Doctor in Distress  ( bless Colin. Nicholas and Anthony for having a go!). The BBC responded a few months later with “Slipback” as a kind of placatory offering to the fans during the hiatus filling the gap before the Trial of a Timelord 23rd season came back in the autumn.

It was broadcast as part of BBC Pirate Radio Four, a children's magazine show aimed at attracting younger viewers. Perhaps giving the BBC the benefit of the doubt, the scheduling was meant with the best of intentions, designed to attract a new era to the tv show. To me, it seemed to me the BBC had the knives out for the show. Doctor Who was traditionally made by the drama department not the children’s department at the BBC so as a fan I felt a little uncomfortable at the scheduling. As a massive enthusiast about the show, it seemed the show’s status was being purposely demoted to “just a children's show”

[caption id="attachment_9616" align="alignleft" width="220"]Slipback published by Target Books in April 1986, Slipback was later published by Target Books in April 1986,[/caption]

“Slipback” is written by Eric Saward, author of one of my favourite classic Who stories on TV “Earthshock” so my expectations of this story would have been immense at the time. Its definitely lacking the atmosphere of  Earthshock. It shares a freighter and aspects of time travel but there the similarity ends. Is Slip back actually any good? Well, it's roughly an hour and for audio stories for me are about whether I can connect to the characters and their reasons for being there. We are introduced to Shellingbourne Grant, a first officer onboard the census ship Vipod Mor, alongside the ship's computer. Fair warning the child-like voice of the computer does quickly become annoying as it has been programmed to sound like a “ ditzy dame “ so your ears may feel assaulted as mine did. There seems to be Douglas Adams homage to the story as Eric Saward teases out some of the characters.

I got Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy vibes listening to the voice of the computer which reminded me of the American drawl of Trillian. and it seems a deliberate decision of the script.  There is also a service drone the Doctor encounters called Barton who much like Marvin, the paranoid android is voiced for dry comic relief. Jon Glover, who is an experienced actor, plays Shellingbourne Grant,( He was also in HGTTG ) as droll, smart, questioning, trying to complete his duty as systems and events are going spiralling out of control. He has a secret which his role facilitates but this soon catches up with him. I honestly wasn’t that keen on the policemen he encounters. The performance of them as atypical “evening all” policemen didn’t add much to the story and the monster prowling around was in the end inconsequential.

Captain Slarn is played by Valentine Dyall, who played the Black Guardian in several of the tv serials, The Armageddon Factor (1979)  the Mawdryn Undead, Terminus, Enlightenment trilogy (1983) I'm not surprised he was well known for being a voice actor for many years as, "The Man in Black" the narrator of the BBC Radio horror series Appointment with Fear. His distinctive low gravelly voice easily suites the nature of the self-important Captain who as an ill-tempered character, won't hesitate when roused in mustering his real and imagined illnesses to pass into his crew. Captain Slarn restricted to his cabin is quickly jealous at the thought of Peri and Grant being together so he delights in seeing his body swell with the Mors Immedicabilis the incurable death infection. It is wonderful listening to Valentine Dyall and I think children would have enjoyed his growling captain. Valentine Dyall plays the vindictive Captain with such lovely relish for what is really a small role. All the crew, including his masseuse Seedle acquiesce to the Captain so he doesn’t lose his temper. One thing omitted is the Doctor doesn’t meet the Captain which is a real shame. Dyall and Baker together now that would have been something but the fantastic Valentine Dyall died a few months after recording and “Slipback” was broadcast posthumously.

Doctor Who audio dramas, thanks due to (award-winning) Big Finish have gained a respectable following over the last few years and Colin Baker’s 6th Doctor has been able to expand his portrayal in audio in a way he never really was given time to do in his tv tenure (being sacked after the 23rd season) “Slipback”  is years before Big Finish and it does feel a product of its time, with many familiar aspects of classic Who embedded in the plot. Peri and the Doctor encounter a loud growly monster and they get chased. Peri falls down a ventilation shaft. The script doesn’t offer any new insight into the 6th Doctor or Peri as characters. They are atypical as they were in season 22.

It’s an energetic performance from Colin Baker as always although the script really gives him too little to do in the end. With the 6th Doctor and Peri the antagonistic aspects of their relationship which became so tiresome in their first season are still here. They are snippy with each other at times. Peri gets scared and the 6th Doctor is boastful, arrogant, brash, rushing in.  Nicola Bryant does feel poorly served at times by the way Peri is written. Colin has the last word in most of the cliff-hangers though. He enjoys doing them to leave the listener in no doubt this is a point of high drama and you should be on the edge of your seat.

Overall, I did like listening to "Slipback” again to an extent although at 55 minutes, except for the main villain’s motivation, we learn mostly superficial details about the characters just to enable the plot to move forward. Its a run of the mill story from Eric Saward and that pains me. I would have liked to have learned a bit more about why Grant, or the Captain were as they were but the time doesn’t allow it. There were some interesting elements such as the voicing of the villain with the mystery of the eclipse of time allowed to turn going full circle at the beginning and the confrontation with the Doctor  and the Inner Voice is energetically handled by the actors. But other times the story meanders too much in the early part with the Doctor and Peri running away from the monster. What I do like is the ditzy computer does gain some sense of understanding as events move to a conclusion.

The appearance of the Timelords is a surprise I don't remember. They are booming sounding almost godlike calling the Doctor. But they arrive near the end in the last ten minutes and their presence becomes too brief allowing the wrap up of the story. I suppose their entrance and the Doctor's comments about interference reflects the tensions of the time. Questioning the doctor’s actions is probably a foreshadowing of the themes of season 23.

“Slipback” is hardly ever mentioned in fandom and reviewing it again I can get a sense why. I think at the time in 1985 we felt just glad to have something whilst waiting for the new series. and although I liked it ( that is as strong as I can go)  It feels like it should have been so much more. But it was a sign of the times I guess that the series wasn't being loved as it should then. It feels as if the BBC were experimenting at the time with a different format (and probably saving money)  but without knowing how to exploit the format of audio drama to deliver for all ages.

6.5 / 10  Don't go down to the ducting or you could be lunch!

The post Doctor Who “Slipback” Review – A Radio Drama with Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant appeared first on The Doctor Who Big Blue Box Podcast.

]]>

Odd events are taking place as the Tardis materializes on board a space-craft: a mysterious killer stalks the ship's ducting; two dubious policemen are investigating the theft of art treasures, and the computer has taken on its own distinctive personality. Soon the doctor stumbles on a shocking secret, a secret upon which depends the fate of the entire universe... Thirty-five years ago in 1985, there was a first in Doctor Who as  Slipback starring Colin Baker as the 6th Doctor and Nicola Bryant as Peri became the first Doctor Who serial to be produced as a radio drama broadcast on Radio 4. Rummaging through my Doctor Who collection I came across my home-recorded audio cassette of the drama, which I haven’t listened to in many many years and didn’t remember at all. Listening to“Slipback” though brought back memories of a brief summer when Doctor Who was on hiatus and in danger of cancellation. Produced by the BBC and broadcast in the summer of 1985 it was a radio drama in six 10 minutes episodes broadcast from 25 July to 8 August 1985. These days I have become resigned to long delays between series, due to showrunners needing more time to or due to their commitments writing for multiple productions. Now with the coronavirus also affecting tv production schedules, we are having to wait even longer. In 1985, as a teenage fan, it came as a total shock that Doctor Who was on a break threatened with cancellation after a  relatively steady 22-season run since 1963. After the 22nd season, Colin Baker’s first series aired it had drawn criticism from viewers for its more “horrific”  violent tone. The BBC then decided to push back the programme for a whole year which stirred up everyone who loved the show. There was outrage in the tabloids at the decision and music producer and Doctor Who fan Ian Levine produced the protest music single Doctor in Distress  ( bless Colin. Nicholas and Anthony for having a go!). The BBC responded a few months later with “Slipback” as a kind of placatory offering to the fans during the hiatus filling the gap before the Trial of a Timelord 23rd season came back in the autumn. It was broadcast as part of BBC Pirate Radio Four, a children's magazine show aimed at attracting younger viewers. Perhaps giving the BBC the benefit of the doubt, the scheduling was meant with the best of intentions, designed to attract a new era to the tv show. To me, it seemed to me the BBC had the knives out for the show. Doctor Who was traditionally made by the drama department not the children’s department at the BBC so as a fan I felt a little uncomfortable at the scheduling. As a massive enthusiast about the show, it seemed the show’s status was being purposely demoted to “just a children's show” [caption id="attachment_9616" align="alignleft" width="220"]Slipback published by Target Books in April 1986, Slipback was later published by Target Books in April 1986,[/caption] “Slipback” is written by Eric Saward, author of one of my favourite classic Who stories on TV “Earthshock” so my expectations of this story would have been immense at the time. Its definitely lacking the atmosphere of  Earthshock. It shares a freighter and aspects of time travel but there the similarity ends. Is Slip back actually any good? Well, it's roughly an hour and for audio stories for me are about whether I can connect to the characters and their reasons for being there. We are introduced to Shellingbourne Grant, a first officer onboard the census ship Vipod Mor, alongside the ship's computer. Fair warning the child-like voice of the computer does quickly become annoying as it has been programmed to sound like a “ ditzy dame “ so your ears may feel assaulted as mine did. There seems to be Douglas Adams homage to the story as Eric Saward teases out some of the characters. I got Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy vibes listening to the voice of the computer which reminded me of the American drawl of Trillian. and it seems a deliberate decision of the script.  There is also a service drone the Doctor encounters called Barton who much like Marvin, the paranoid android is voiced for dry comic relief. Jon Glover, who is an experienced actor, plays Shellingbourne Grant,( He was also in HGTTG ) as droll, smart, questioning, trying to complete his duty as systems and events are going spiralling out of control. He has a secret which his role facilitates but this soon catches up with him. I honestly wasn’t that keen on the policemen he encounters. The performance of them as atypical “evening all” policemen didn’t add much to the story and the monster prowling around was in the end inconsequential. Captain Slarn is played by Valentine Dyall, who played the Black Guardian in several of the tv serials, The Armageddon Factor (1979)  the Mawdryn Undead, Terminus, Enlightenment trilogy (1983) I'm not surprised he was well known for being a voice actor for many years as, "The Man in Black" the narrator of the BBC Radio horror series Appointment with Fear. His distinctive low gravelly voice easily suites the nature of the self-important Captain who as an ill-tempered character, won't hesitate when roused in mustering his real and imagined illnesses to pass into his crew. Captain Slarn restricted to his cabin is quickly jealous at the thought of Peri and Grant being together so he delights in seeing his body swell with the Mors Immedicabilis the incurable death infection. It is wonderful listening to Valentine Dyall and I think children would have enjoyed his growling captain. Valentine Dyall plays the vindictive Captain with such lovely relish for what is really a small role. All the crew, including his masseuse Seedle acquiesce to the Captain so he doesn’t lose his temper. One thing omitted is the Doctor doesn’t meet the Captain which is a real shame. Dyall and Baker together now that would have been something but the fantastic Valentine Dyall died a few months after recording and “Slipback” was broadcast posthumously. Doctor Who audio dramas, thanks due to (award-winning) Big Finish have gained a respectable following over the last few years and Colin Baker’s 6th Doctor has been able to expand his portrayal in audio in a way he never really was given time to do in his tv tenure (being sacked after the 23rd season) “Slipback”  is years before Big Finish and it does feel a product of its time, with many familiar aspects of classic Who embedded in the plot. Peri and the Doctor encounter a loud growly monster and they get chased. Peri falls down a ventilation shaft. The script doesn’t offer any new insight into the 6th Doctor or Peri as characters. They are atypical as they were in season 22. It’s an energetic performance from Colin Baker as always although the script really gives him too little to do in the end. With the 6th Doctor and Peri the antagonistic aspects of their relationship which became so tiresome in their first season are still here. They are snippy with each other at times. Peri gets scared and the 6th Doctor is boastful, arrogant, brash, rushing in.  Nicola Bryant does feel poorly served at times by the way Peri is written. Colin has the last word in most of the cliff-hangers though. He enjoys doing them to leave the listener in no doubt this is a point of high drama and you should be on the edge of your seat. Overall, I did like listening to "Slipback” again to an extent although at 55 minutes, except for the main villain’s motivation, we learn mostly superficial details about the characters just to enable the plot to move forward. Its a run of the mill story from Eric Saward and that pains me. I would have liked to have learned a bit more about why Grant, or the Captain were as they were but the time doesn’t allow it. There were some interesting elements such as the voicing of the villain with the mystery of the eclipse of time allowed to turn going full circle at the beginning and the confrontation with the Doctor  and the Inner Voice is energetically handled by the actors. But other times the story meanders too much in the early part with the Doctor and Peri running away from the monster. What I do like is the ditzy computer does gain some sense of understanding as events move to a conclusion. The appearance of the Timelords is a surprise I don't remember. They are booming sounding almost godlike calling the Doctor. But they arrive near the end in the last ten minutes and their presence becomes too brief allowing the wrap up of the story. I suppose their entrance and the Doctor's comments about interference reflects the tensions of the time. Questioning the doctor’s actions is probably a foreshadowing of the themes of season 23. “Slipback” is hardly ever mentioned in fandom and reviewing it again I can get a sense why. I think at the time in 1985 we felt just glad to have something whilst waiting for the new series. and although I liked it ( that is as strong as I can go)  It feels like it should have been so much more. But it was a sign of the times I guess that the series wasn't being loved as it should then. It feels as if the BBC were experimenting at the time with a different format (and probably saving money)  but without knowing how to exploit the format of audio drama to deliver for all ages. 6.5 / 10  Don't go down to the ducting or you could be lunch!

The post Doctor Who “Slipback” Review – A Radio Drama with Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant appeared first on The Doctor Who Big Blue Box Podcast.

]]>
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Who added to online multiplayer, new t-shirts plus our review of The Nightmare Man https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/280/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=280 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/280/#respond Fri, 04 Sep 2020 06:00:09 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=9679 The Big Blue Box Podcast - Episode 280

The News

DW has been added, for a limited time, to the BBC online multiplayer game Nightfall to defend the Dream from the Daleks.

The Merch

Two new t-shirts have been added for pre-order over at Forbidden Planet featuring new artwork for The Time Lord Victorious story.

Review story this episode: SJA - The Nightmare Man

We're kicking-off Series 4 (yes, we're at Series 4 already!) with a creepy one featuring an often highly reviewed story and character. A welcome return for SJA?

Coming next week: Terror of the Autons

It's been ages since we watched any 3rd Doctor stories so it's about time we dived in to see what The Doctor, Jo and Unit are up to.

Thank you all for listening, and until then have a great week, take care of yourselves, stay healthy and remember – Allons-y!

The post Who added to online multiplayer, new t-shirts plus our review of The Nightmare Man appeared first on The Doctor Who Big Blue Box Podcast.

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The Big Blue Box Podcast - Episode 280

The News

DW has been added, for a limited time, to the BBC online multiplayer game Nightfall to defend the Dream from the Daleks.

The Merch

Two new t-shirts have been added for pre-order over at Forbidden Planet featuring new artwork for The Time Lord Victorious story.

Review story this episode: SJA - The Nightmare Man

We're kicking-off Series 4 (yes, we're at Series 4 already!) with a creepy one featuring an often highly reviewed story and character. A welcome return for SJA?

Coming next week: Terror of the Autons

It's been ages since we watched any 3rd Doctor stories so it's about time we dived in to see what The Doctor, Jo and Unit are up to. Thank you all for listening, and until then have a great week, take care of yourselves, stay healthy and remember – Allons-y!

The post Who added to online multiplayer, new t-shirts plus our review of The Nightmare Man appeared first on The Doctor Who Big Blue Box Podcast.

]]>
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The Great Virgin New Adventures Review: Legacy & Theatre of War https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/the-great-virgin-new-adventures-review-legacy-theatre-of-war/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-great-virgin-new-adventures-review-legacy-theatre-of-war https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/the-great-virgin-new-adventures-review-legacy-theatre-of-war/#respond Thu, 03 Sep 2020 15:09:03 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=9604

After a little break, we've jumped back into the Virgin New Adventures. The next two books took me a rather long time to read, mainly because I wasn't feeling very well for a while and I didn't have the energy for them. But we're back with Legacy and Theatre of War. Legacy sees Gary Russell take us back to Peladon for a third story on that planet and Theatre of War, from Justin Richards sees a Doctor Who story told in a rather new and interesting way!

Legacy

Written by: Gary Russell

I'll be honest, I'm not a massive fan of the Pertwee-Peladon stories. They aren't bad, just not my cup of tea, so the third outing for me seemed one two many. And unfortunately upon finishing this book, my fears weren't entirely wrong. However, what I did like, was that this story sees Peladon leave the Federation. Looking back at The Curse of Peladon, it sees Peladon joining the Federation at the same time Britain joined the EU, The Monster of Peladon was a direct parallel on people's fears of being in the union at that time and Legacy, albeit about twenty years beforehand, sees Peladon leave the Federation, just like Britain has just left the EU. Could original writer Brian Hayles have been unwittingly predicting the future? Gary Russell certainly seemed to be.

Despite being set on Peladon, the politics of the planet doesn't play much of a part to the main story, which Russell hands over to the quest to get a device called the Diadem, something that gives people dominance over other's minds. We do still have all the Peladon-stables though, we've got royalty in charge, an untrusting chancellor obsessed with Aggedor. We've got Aggedor, Ice Warriors and Alpha Centauri.

[caption id="attachment_9647" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Legacy's striking cover artwork Legacy's striking cover artwork[/caption]

Russell sets up the story with a flashback featuring a previous Doctor and aliens called Pakhurs, creatures which go on to appear in a few of Russell's later works too. With Ace chasing down the Diadem, the climax to the story doesn't really do much to get across how powerful this device is despite the bodies it leaves in its wake throughout the rest of the novel. Worse still, Russell leaves it on something of a cliffhanger promising a continuation to the Diadem when he doesn't really finish things up here.

I don't know if this was Russell's very first time writing any form of Doctor Who story but he really doesn't have a handle on dialogue. No one speaks how he makes his characters speak. Kort, a spoilt brat who goes to Peladon with the Doctor and Bernice doesn't get any scenes which make the reader actually think he's changed over the course of the book and Russell pairs him with a Pakhur called Keri who ends every sentence with "Yeah", which get very annoying very quickly. And for some reasons, the Ice Warriors make a comment about Bernice wearing Chinos but I don't know when in conversion Bernice would have told them what she was wearing. He doesn't have a great handle on Bernice either. Part of her character is that she is a studier of human behaviour but we get inner monologues about how she's noticed that a particular person is or isn't smiling. It doesn't add anything to the story, makes Bernice sound rather stupid and doesn't give her anything interesting to contribute to the story.

Ace is treated even worse and is hardly in it. But given how little Bernice gets to do on Peladon, perhaps it's a good job she doesn't go with them as she certainly wouldn't have had anything to do. While I'm more than happy to read more from Bernice, basically dumping Ace at the beginning of the story is a rather inelegant way of making sure Bernice gets the 'solo-companion' role.

Mismanaging the two companions, you'd think Russell would at least get the Doctor right. Given how much he wanted to write a new Peladon story but you'd be very wrong. Instead, the Seventh Doctor here feels like he's been pulled right out a Target novelisation. Nevermore than a few feet away from his umbrella and sporting his question-mark jumper once more. What's even more shocking is that the Seventh Doctor seems to have an internal hatred for the Ice Warriors despite getting over this in Curse of Peladon. It's almost embarrassing to read, given how it doesn't fit the characterisation for who the Doctor is at all. The Doctor should always believe the best in people, not always expect the worst.

It is difficult to find anything good to say about Legacy, the writing is just awful, its clichéd, its overly long, the dialogue is horrendous, the characterisation of everyone involved is shockingly bad. And like I said, I've never been a massive fan of the Peladon stories but perhaps it would have been better had it not featured the Seventh Doctor but instead a different, earlier incarnation. It's not really a setting that lends itself well to The New Adventures format. Being a Gary Russell book, there are plenty of continuity references but despite the pros and cons of those types of references, Legacy still isn't a good book. The plot begins to stall and fall flat pretty early on, the vast majority of characters are unlikable and the regulars don't really get out this without egg on their faces. It's not a good book for anyone involved and good have done with a few more drafts before submitting it to print. Hopefully, this will be the last I ever have to hear, watch or read from Peladon in a very long time.

Theatre of War

Written By: Justin Richards

Like Legacy, Theatre of War is the debut of another first-time novelist. This time its Justin Richards. However, unlike other first time novelists, Richards actually seems to have read through what he's written first, as this time, the prose reads really easily.

Richards is one of my favourite Doctor Who writers and I believe wrote one of my favourite Doctor Who books, The  Sands of Time and I was a little wary of going into this one, given how it was his first book and these novels don't have the greatest track record of new incoming authors. There is a patience to the prose that lends itself quite well to being able to either read in one go or like I did, in small chunks if you're busy with other things. It was the sort of breather we really needed after the last arc finished with No Future.

That's not to say that Richard's prose is slow going, but he isn't afraid to stop and smell the roses for a moment before continuing. And given out its based a lot on different aspects of Shakespeare, that a lot of this book is about building the anticipation and waiting for things to happen. The book opens with Bernice taking a look around the Braxiatel Collection, a large library with almost everything you can think of in or around it. It sounds like a fascinating place and is brilliantly realised by Richards. Likewise is the theatre, the main bulk of this story takes place in. You instantly get used to the layout and remember the grisly deaths like something out of your nightmares.

[caption id="attachment_9648" align="aligncenter" width="359"]Artwork for Theatre of War Artwork for Theatre of War[/caption]

Perhaps its because I'm a member of a dramatic society and love acting, that the layout of this book made it a real easy read for me. It's not something that I can see everyone liking and I'll admit that I did think it was a little too long for the story that it was trying to tell. But for once, this is a new author who seems to have the story sorted out nonetheless and knows what he's trying to do with it even though there were a few bits and bobs I didn't quite grasp!

One of those things is the main villain of the piece, a machine that can bring any play to vivid life. While I get it as a concept, in practice, the rules Richard's puts in place for the machine seem to be in as much flux as the machine's sense of reality. It can put people from plays into the real world with real weaponry but can also transport you within itself. It's not just fictional characters it can reproduce, it makes clones and holograms of real people too. One thing I did like but doesn't get used again is in the first half of the book, it kills a number of archaeologists in ways they remember from their past. But this doesn't come up again, despite being a brilliant concept.

Despite the elegant prose, where Theatre of War doesn't quite reach the bar is in its characters, namely because there isn't enough for them all to do. Bernice comes across rather well though, finally getting a version of her character close to what Paul Cornell created in Love & War is nice too. And Ace gets plenty to do, including a rather movie-ish moment where she jumps out the back of a space-ship to destroy their pursuers. Richards should be praised for handling two companions much better than many other writers before him.

And we finally get a Seventh Doctor who feels like the McCoy incarnation. Yes, there is the usual manipulations from him but even that doesn't feel as bad as it could have been, especially as he gets as caught up in his machinations as everyone else does. It's nice to have a book where this feels like the Doctor and not a dark-imposter.

While I doubt that Theatre of War will connect with people on any form of emotional level, there is still plenty to enjoy here and it's never boring. Its got one eye on culture and isn't afraid to smell the roses, while the other eye is an action movie, throwing characters from one gruesome moment to another. While some of the supporting cast don't really get much to do, we are finally introduced to Braxiatel, a character who plays an important part in the life of Bernice Summerfield as well as the Gallifrey range from Big Finish, though he did leave me wanting to hear more from the character in these pages.

This is a very elegant book, maybe not expertly written but for a debut novelist, its nice that it is clear Richards has done his homework and a good few drafts beforehand. And it feels like we've finally gotten the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Bernice right. Hopefully, that will continue in the upcoming books, I guess time will tell.

Next Time: All-Consuming Fire and Blood Harvest

The post The Great Virgin New Adventures Review: Legacy & Theatre of War appeared first on The Doctor Who Big Blue Box Podcast.

]]>

After a little break, we've jumped back into the Virgin New Adventures. The next two books took me a rather long time to read, mainly because I wasn't feeling very well for a while and I didn't have the energy for them. But we're back with Legacy and Theatre of War. Legacy sees Gary Russell take us back to Peladon for a third story on that planet and Theatre of War, from Justin Richards sees a Doctor Who story told in a rather new and interesting way!

Legacy

Written by: Gary Russell I'll be honest, I'm not a massive fan of the Pertwee-Peladon stories. They aren't bad, just not my cup of tea, so the third outing for me seemed one two many. And unfortunately upon finishing this book, my fears weren't entirely wrong. However, what I did like, was that this story sees Peladon leave the Federation. Looking back at The Curse of Peladon, it sees Peladon joining the Federation at the same time Britain joined the EU, The Monster of Peladon was a direct parallel on people's fears of being in the union at that time and Legacy, albeit about twenty years beforehand, sees Peladon leave the Federation, just like Britain has just left the EU. Could original writer Brian Hayles have been unwittingly predicting the future? Gary Russell certainly seemed to be. Despite being set on Peladon, the politics of the planet doesn't play much of a part to the main story, which Russell hands over to the quest to get a device called the Diadem, something that gives people dominance over other's minds. We do still have all the Peladon-stables though, we've got royalty in charge, an untrusting chancellor obsessed with Aggedor. We've got Aggedor, Ice Warriors and Alpha Centauri. [caption id="attachment_9647" align="aligncenter" width="350"]Legacy's striking cover artwork Legacy's striking cover artwork[/caption] Russell sets up the story with a flashback featuring a previous Doctor and aliens called Pakhurs, creatures which go on to appear in a few of Russell's later works too. With Ace chasing down the Diadem, the climax to the story doesn't really do much to get across how powerful this device is despite the bodies it leaves in its wake throughout the rest of the novel. Worse still, Russell leaves it on something of a cliffhanger promising a continuation to the Diadem when he doesn't really finish things up here. I don't know if this was Russell's very first time writing any form of Doctor Who story but he really doesn't have a handle on dialogue. No one speaks how he makes his characters speak. Kort, a spoilt brat who goes to Peladon with the Doctor and Bernice doesn't get any scenes which make the reader actually think he's changed over the course of the book and Russell pairs him with a Pakhur called Keri who ends every sentence with "Yeah", which get very annoying very quickly. And for some reasons, the Ice Warriors make a comment about Bernice wearing Chinos but I don't know when in conversion Bernice would have told them what she was wearing. He doesn't have a great handle on Bernice either. Part of her character is that she is a studier of human behaviour but we get inner monologues about how she's noticed that a particular person is or isn't smiling. It doesn't add anything to the story, makes Bernice sound rather stupid and doesn't give her anything interesting to contribute to the story. Ace is treated even worse and is hardly in it. But given how little Bernice gets to do on Peladon, perhaps it's a good job she doesn't go with them as she certainly wouldn't have had anything to do. While I'm more than happy to read more from Bernice, basically dumping Ace at the beginning of the story is a rather inelegant way of making sure Bernice gets the 'solo-companion' role. Mismanaging the two companions, you'd think Russell would at least get the Doctor right. Given how much he wanted to write a new Peladon story but you'd be very wrong. Instead, the Seventh Doctor here feels like he's been pulled right out a Target novelisation. Nevermore than a few feet away from his umbrella and sporting his question-mark jumper once more. What's even more shocking is that the Seventh Doctor seems to have an internal hatred for the Ice Warriors despite getting over this in Curse of Peladon. It's almost embarrassing to read, given how it doesn't fit the characterisation for who the Doctor is at all. The Doctor should always believe the best in people, not always expect the worst. It is difficult to find anything good to say about Legacy, the writing is just awful, its clichéd, its overly long, the dialogue is horrendous, the characterisation of everyone involved is shockingly bad. And like I said, I've never been a massive fan of the Peladon stories but perhaps it would have been better had it not featured the Seventh Doctor but instead a different, earlier incarnation. It's not really a setting that lends itself well to The New Adventures format. Being a Gary Russell book, there are plenty of continuity references but despite the pros and cons of those types of references, Legacy still isn't a good book. The plot begins to stall and fall flat pretty early on, the vast majority of characters are unlikable and the regulars don't really get out this without egg on their faces. It's not a good book for anyone involved and good have done with a few more drafts before submitting it to print. Hopefully, this will be the last I ever have to hear, watch or read from Peladon in a very long time.

Theatre of War

Written By: Justin Richards Like Legacy, Theatre of War is the debut of another first-time novelist. This time its Justin Richards. However, unlike other first time novelists, Richards actually seems to have read through what he's written first, as this time, the prose reads really easily. Richards is one of my favourite Doctor Who writers and I believe wrote one of my favourite Doctor Who books, The  Sands of Time and I was a little wary of going into this one, given how it was his first book and these novels don't have the greatest track record of new incoming authors. There is a patience to the prose that lends itself quite well to being able to either read in one go or like I did, in small chunks if you're busy with other things. It was the sort of breather we really needed after the last arc finished with No Future. That's not to say that Richard's prose is slow going, but he isn't afraid to stop and smell the roses for a moment before continuing. And given out its based a lot on different aspects of Shakespeare, that a lot of this book is about building the anticipation and waiting for things to happen. The book opens with Bernice taking a look around the Braxiatel Collection, a large library with almost everything you can think of in or around it. It sounds like a fascinating place and is brilliantly realised by Richards. Likewise is the theatre, the main bulk of this story takes place in. You instantly get used to the layout and remember the grisly deaths like something out of your nightmares. [caption id="attachment_9648" align="aligncenter" width="359"]Artwork for Theatre of War Artwork for Theatre of War[/caption] Perhaps its because I'm a member of a dramatic society and love acting, that the layout of this book made it a real easy read for me. It's not something that I can see everyone liking and I'll admit that I did think it was a little too long for the story that it was trying to tell. But for once, this is a new author who seems to have the story sorted out nonetheless and knows what he's trying to do with it even though there were a few bits and bobs I didn't quite grasp! One of those things is the main villain of the piece, a machine that can bring any play to vivid life. While I get it as a concept, in practice, the rules Richard's puts in place for the machine seem to be in as much flux as the machine's sense of reality. It can put people from plays into the real world with real weaponry but can also transport you within itself. It's not just fictional characters it can reproduce, it makes clones and holograms of real people too. One thing I did like but doesn't get used again is in the first half of the book, it kills a number of archaeologists in ways they remember from their past. But this doesn't come up again, despite being a brilliant concept. Despite the elegant prose, where Theatre of War doesn't quite reach the bar is in its characters, namely because there isn't enough for them all to do. Bernice comes across rather well though, finally getting a version of her character close to what Paul Cornell created in Love & War is nice too. And Ace gets plenty to do, including a rather movie-ish moment where she jumps out the back of a space-ship to destroy their pursuers. Richards should be praised for handling two companions much better than many other writers before him. And we finally get a Seventh Doctor who feels like the McCoy incarnation. Yes, there is the usual manipulations from him but even that doesn't feel as bad as it could have been, especially as he gets as caught up in his machinations as everyone else does. It's nice to have a book where this feels like the Doctor and not a dark-imposter. While I doubt that Theatre of War will connect with people on any form of emotional level, there is still plenty to enjoy here and it's never boring. Its got one eye on culture and isn't afraid to smell the roses, while the other eye is an action movie, throwing characters from one gruesome moment to another. While some of the supporting cast don't really get much to do, we are finally introduced to Braxiatel, a character who plays an important part in the life of Bernice Summerfield as well as the Gallifrey range from Big Finish, though he did leave me wanting to hear more from the character in these pages. This is a very elegant book, maybe not expertly written but for a debut novelist, its nice that it is clear Richards has done his homework and a good few drafts beforehand. And it feels like we've finally gotten the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Bernice right. Hopefully, that will continue in the upcoming books, I guess time will tell. Next Time: All-Consuming Fire and Blood Harvest

The post The Great Virgin New Adventures Review: Legacy & Theatre of War appeared first on The Doctor Who Big Blue Box Podcast.

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A Charitable Earth – Series 1: Pitch https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/a-charitable-earth-series-1-pitch/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=a-charitable-earth-series-1-pitch https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/a-charitable-earth-series-1-pitch/#respond Mon, 31 Aug 2020 19:00:03 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=9455

As many showrunners have done before, Doctor Who isn't the only Whoniverse-related show to be on the air under their era. Russell T. Davies had Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, Steven Moffat had Class and I suppose to some degree the short-lived Australian-K-9 series, even John Nathan-Turner had K-9 and Company. Nowadays spin-off's are a staple of television. But much like Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, I want my proposed three or four spin-offs to compliment the main programme, not seem to ignore it as Class did for the most part.

If you are a fan of the Arrowverse which features shows like the now ended-Arrow and continuing, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning, The Flash and Batwoman, you'll know that every year or 'season', they do a massive crossover episode that has gradually gotten bigger with each year. Most recently we had Crisis on Infinite Earths and it's always surprised me that Doctor Who didn't do something similar. Across the three different spinoff's I've got in mind as well as one episode of the main Doctor Who series, there will be a big crossover story, which will gradually get bigger with each passing series of the show.

The three spinoff's I've got in mind are:

  • A Charitable Earth
  • UNIT
  • Torchwood

And I'd also possibly like to do a spinoff set on Gallifrey. But I need to think more about that one so not to retrace the same steps Big Finish took in their spinoff series about the Doctor's homeworld.

[caption id="attachment_9580" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Ace will lead the first of three spin-off shows A Charitable Earth, the first two episodes of which will see her assembling her crew of old friends Ace will lead the first of three spin-off shows A Charitable Earth, the first two episodes of which will see her assembling her crew of old friends[/caption]

And if you've recently seen the latest Star Trek outing, Picard, then you'll no doubt have enjoyed seeing old faces from across the Star Trek canon turning up. A Charitable Earth will be like that, with a number of Doctor Who characters either in main or supporting roles. These characters will also come from other spinoffs including The Sarah Jane Adventures, as the first episode will also deal with the fallout of Sarah's death as well as setting up the new series and characters from Class as well as one or two surprise character-appearances.

While we will be featuring new and old villains from all over the Whoniverse, the main villain for Series 1, which will run for thirteen episodes, will be The Faction Paradox, a cult who despise time-lords and time travel and will stop at nothing to put a stop to it. Below is a list of the main characters and supporting characters, as well as a list and blurb for each episode. I've also included a few lines and scene descriptions in prose form, to show I have a great handle on the characters.

Main Characters

Ace: Following her departure from the Doctor, Ace founded A Charitable Earth, an organisation that was designed to send aid to countries and peoples in trouble. Ace, though she is now known by her actual name - Dorothy McShane - is happy in her new life. She thinks of herself as 'The Doctor' now, helping those who can't help themselves. But what she keeps secret from the rest of the world is that she also helps aliens, either stranded, stuck, exiled or fleeing wars, to set up new lives on Earth. She also isn't afraid to send invaders packing either. Following the 'death' of Sarah Jane Smith, she also found herself acquiring K-9 and Mr. Smith.

While K-9 helps her scientists catalogue and analyse alien technology, as well as helping Dorothy, Mr. Smith has detected strange goings-on from a seemingly normal club. Dorothy finds herself up against the Faction Paradox, a cult who hates Time-Lords and time-travel. And they know all about the mysterious Dorothy McShane. Ace knows she's going to need all the help she can get.

Professor Bernice Summerfield: At a dig in her own time in the future, Bernice finds herself uncovering the frozen remains of a spaceship. When she gets inside she finds a number of stasis-pods. Inside each one is a friend of the Doctor's, including Ace and herself?! When she's pulled back through time by the machinations of The Faction Paradox, she sets out to warn her old friend about what is happening and that at some point, they'll all find themselves stuck in the future. But Bernice finds herself now stuck in the past and has to adapt to life in a time period that isn't her own.

[caption id="attachment_9581" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Ace's old friend Bernice Summerfield will play a large part in Series 1 as she falls through time as part of the Faction Paradox's plan Ace's old friend Bernice Summerfield will play a large part in Series 1 as she falls through time as part of the Faction Paradox's plan[/caption]

Melanie Bush: An old friend of Ace's, Mel has returned to her own time-zone and set up another company creating computers. Mel has come into a lot of money and like Ace, gives much of it away to charitable causes. Ace uses much of Mel's technology in her own company and calls on Mel to try and find anything on the Faction Paradox online and throughout history. What Mel finds out chills her to her core, the Faction Paradox has been on Earth since its the very beginning and even had a hand in the formation of her company, forcing her to wonder who she can trust.

Rani Chandra: Following on in the steps of her mentor, Sarah Jane Smith, Rani has begun a formidable journalistic career and following her ground-breaking piece on Project: Refreeze, Rani is finding her life a little difficult. She's got government officials at her door, threatening legal action because he piece is threatening to destabilise parliament and as someone who has travelled through time and journeyed in the TARDIS, she finds herself hunted by members of the Faction Paradox when she stumbles across them investigating for another article. This leads to her joining forces with Ace to stop the Faction Paradox.

[caption id="attachment_9582" align="aligncenter" width="577"]Mel would be brought into A Charitable Earth as Ace needs her help and she discovers something is going wrong with her computer company Mel would be brought into A Charitable Earth as Ace needs her help and she discovers something is going wrong with her computer company[/caption]

Andrea Quill: Following on from the ending of Class, Miss. Quill has given birth and left her job at Coal Hill School. Ace offers her a position as her head of security, which allows her to get much more hands-on than teaching ever did. Which is just the way, Miss. Quill likes it. But she slowly begins to find herself adapting to life on Earth, even getting human emotions slowly. When the Faction Paradox kidnaps her baby, wounding Charlie and Mattuesz in the process, Miss. Quill sets out with the help of A Charitable Earth to get her child back before her child is sacrificed too.

Iris Wildthyme and Panda: Having arrived on Earth, in her TARDIS disguised as a double-decker bus, Iris Wildthyme decides to visit a few old friends and decides to join A Charitable Earth, even though no one particularly wants her. Iris isn't bad, she just doesn't have the best track record intact, something Ace needs when dealing with alien threats. But as a time-traveller and someone who could be a Time-Lord, Iris can't remember she's had too many gin and tonics, the Faction Paradox plan to sacrifice her, not only to remove one more time-traveller, but a time-lord's blood will release an ancient demon across the planet.

[caption id="attachment_9583" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Rani would follow Sarah Jane's footsteps as an investigative journalist Rani would follow Sarah Jane's footsteps as an investigative journalist[/caption]

Racing into the expansive courtyard, Iris found herself forced to a stop. She felt a small bump in the back of her legs, nearly toppling her over.

"Blimey Iris, when we are running away, you don't just stop suddenly like that! You could have fallen on me and in that puff-skirt you're wearing, I'd have been a flat pancake Panda on this surprisingly beautiful mosaic floor!" Panda looked down at the patterned stones once again, trying to memorise the intricate details and patterns featured there.

Panda came out of his revere at the sound of a number of guns being cocked in his direction. Iris turned to face him. "Oh 'hecky-thump Panda. I think we're in a spot of bother here."

"Really Iris?" Panda looked up at the woman incredulously. "What gave that away, the fact we're surrounded by a load of nuns with very big guns?" - Excerpt from the third episode, The Trans-temporal Adventuress

[caption id="attachment_9585" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]A Charitable Earth would see Miss. Quill working as the Head of Security A Charitable Earth would see Miss. Quill working as the Head of Security[/caption]

Supporting Characters

There will be a number of supporting characters across the series, both old characters the viewers will be familiar with and new characters, allowing the former friends of the Doctor's to have lives. These include husbands and wives, though they won't feature heavily, but will all form a lure for Ace and the gang to fall for the Faction Paradox's trap.

These characters will include:

Will Buckland: First mentioned in the novel, At Childhood's End, Will was an ex-boyfriend of Ace's when she initially founded her charity. He will feature throughout the series and will pose as the potential love interest for Ace.

Ben Hayworth: Mel's husband, first mentioned in the novel, Heritage, his origins will be different here and he won't kill Mel as he does in the book, he provides stability for Mel who sometimes has her head in the clouds, the pair live happily together and he is a joint owner of the company that Mel founded.

Charlie Smith & Mateusz: Still living with Miss. Quill, Charlie and Mattuesz find themselves looking after her baby and teaching her the ways of the Earth. The pair have gradually come to like Miss Quill over the years but they along with the baby find themselves kidnapped by the Faction Paradox in an attempt to trap Miss. Quill.

Jason Kane: The husband of Bernice Summerfield, Jason works in archaeology with his wife. When Bernice falls for one of the Paradox's traps and finds herself stranded in the twenty-first century, Jason has to find out what happened to her and if he can, get a message of warning to her.

Kelsey Hooper: There was a time when Kelsey was in Sarah Jane Smith's orbit. One of the unwitting victims of the Bane and their Bubbleshock scandal, Kelsey soon found herself in the orbit of the Faction Paradox instead. Now she's a fully-fledged member of their cult, hunting down anyone the Paradox tell her to. Even if it means she has to kill some old friends.

[caption id="attachment_9587" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Rounding out the main gang is Iris Wildthyme, joined by Panda Rounding out the main gang is Iris Wildthyme, joined by Panda[/caption]

Melanie Bush heard the door to her office open, with a soft hiss. For a moment she didn't look up, and finished typing up a report. Taking off her reading glasses, she pushed her red hair away from her face. She'd kept it virtually the same and she was happy that any signs of age hadn't begun to creep in. Maybe something in the TARDIS fought off grey-hairs. Now her hair more controlled and even she had to admit it made life much easier.

Closing her laptop she looked up at her secretary. "Julie?"

Her secretary stepped forward. "I'm sorry to disturb you Mrs. Bush, but there is someone here to see you. She's not got an appointment but she's refusing to leave, says she's an old friend of yours." She swallowed nervously.

Melanie looked past her secretary and out into the corridor, the glass wall allowed her a good look at the coming and goings of her employees. There, in a rather familiar jacket stood her old friend. She waved from the other side of the glass. Melanie felt a smile cross her face. "It's alright Julie, let her in and cancel all my other appointments for the day. Tell them I'm feeling a little under the weather."

Julie nodded and opened the door again, stepping aside as the woman with shoulder length dark hair and the jacket covered in badges to step into the office. Ace waited for the door to close. "Hello Mel, long time no see."

Mel stood up and the pair hugged. "How long has it been?" She asked Ace.

"About six years."

Mel hugged her old friend again.

"I wish I could be here under better circumstances. But you see, there's a spot of bother and I really need you're help."

Mel nodded and headed to the door, opening it she called across the lobby to Julie. "Better cancel all the appointments for the week." When Julie nodded in response, Mel turned back to Ace. "Now, what seems to be the matter?" - Mel and Ace reunite in an excerpt from the second episode, Some Assembly Required.

[caption id="attachment_9588" align="aligncenter" width="841"]The members of A Charitable Earth would be aided along the way by K-9 and Mr. Smith The members of A Charitable Earth would be aided along the way by K-9 and Mr. Smith[/caption]

The Series

1. A Charitable Earth

It all starts here! Find out what happened to Ace after she left the Doctor and what her charity actually does. Ace is happy, but she feels empty and as she gets older, she finds herself missing the old days, the aliens, the danger, her old friends and the Doctor. She's suddenly thrust into her old world again of danger and monsters. When an alien refugee from a far flung war arrives on Earth, it seeks sanctuary in one of the outreach buildings for the charity. Ace finds herself flung into a feud between two alien families, two planets at war and a star crossed relationship that could hold the secret of planetary peace.

2. Some Assembly Required

Ace needs a team of specialists if she's going to put together a covert team to tackle the alien division of A Charitable Earth. Luckily for her though, an old acquaintance of Sarah Jane's, Rani Chandra is trying to write a piece about her charity, her head of security is an alien herself, her technology expert is a robotic dog, an old friend has just fallen through time and her predecessor in the TARDIS, Melanie Bush is happy to help. Can Ace assemble them all in time for their first mission?

3. The Trans-temporal Adventuress

With reports of a rogue Double Decker Bus having hit the streets of London, Bernice Summerfield has a feeling she knows whose behind the wheel. Iris Wildthyme and Panda have just narrowly escaped a deadly predicament and crash landed on Earth. But they don't know that the Faction Paradox have followed them and are lying in wait. But Ace fears it could be worse than that, what if Iris was the bait and the Paradox are the trap?

[caption id="attachment_9589" align="aligncenter" width="512"]The Trans-Temporal Adventuress would introduce properly Iris and Panda as well as really set up the Faction Paradox as the villains of the series The Trans-Temporal Adventuress would introduce properly Iris and Panda as well as really set up the Faction Paradox as the villains of the series[/caption]

4. The House of God

People have been disappearing around St. Judes Church, vanishing a puff of blue smoke. Ace fears something alien is behind it all and when the team investigate the Church, they find a deadly trap laid out by the mysterious Blue-Angels, creatures that have recently faced the Doctor. The walls of reality are weaker around St. Judes Church and could the Blue Angels be a precursor for something much worse? Something that has been waiting for a long time. Something hungry for the souls of the human race.

5. Time Team

When A Charitable Earth funds an archaeological dig, Ace sends Bernice along as a consultant in an attempt to cheer her old friend up. At the dig of what is believed to be a roman palace, Bernice finds herself caught up in the black market. In between having to stop smugglers getting away with priceless treasures and alien devices, she soon finds that the dig has disturbed an old evil. Can she stop that evil before it spreads across the whole planet?

6. Conversion - Part 1

Part One of the four part crossover epic. Years ago, Tobias Vaughn entered into a partnership with the Cybermen. As a result, the Cybermen used London's sewer system to put a number of drones in hibernation. There were a number of hibernation chambers that had never been found. When a team of surveyors accidently stumble upon one of these chambers, the Cybermen wake up. Learning of their defeat, they set out to convert the city of London and then the world.

Investigating the disappearance of the survey team, Ace and her friends come up against the might of the Cybermen. But they know they can't handle this alone. Its time for A Charitable Earth, UNIT, Torchwood and the Doctor to team up once again. But the Cybermen are determined to survive and will stop at nothing to see that goal achieved.

Conversion will be continued in Doctor Who - Series 5.

[caption id="attachment_9590" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]The Invasion-style Cybermen would be returning across the four-part Conversion storyline The Invasion-style Cybermen would be returning across the four-part Conversion storyline[/caption]

7. A Charitable Earth At Sea

Following the invasion of the Cybermen, Ace decides that her staff need a holiday and books them all on a Caribbean cruise. While Mel, Miss. Quill and Rani are happy to lounge around sunbathing, Ace, Bernice and Iris stumble upon an old temple when the ship docks. Inside the old inhabitants used to worship the Sea Devils. When the Sea Devils attack the ship, unaware of the truce met between the human race and their people in the Doctor Who story, Waters of Death, Ace and the gang must protect the crew and passengers of the ship, before the Sea Devils kill everyone on board.

8. Target Located

Picking up strange transmissions from a nearby ship, Rani, K-9, Ace and Mel find themselves up against some robotic enemies. Rani has faced the Automatons before, last time her Clyde found themselves the only people on the planet. But what do they want this time? They need to find out in a race against time as the Earth as forty-minutes before it's destroyed completely.

9. The Many Faces of Iris Wildthyme

As the Faction Paradox close in, Iris finds time swelling around her with many different incarnations of herself arriving on Earth. What's going on, Iris knows she's crucial to the plans of the Paradox but she can't let her friends die for her, so she takes all her previous incarnations and flies them away in the double-decker bus, leaving Panda stranded on Earth.

Ace and the gang follow her in a captured time-ship and run into many people throughout time who both love and hate Iris when they track her down, they find her TARDIS crashed on an alien moon but Iris is nowhere to be found.

[caption id="attachment_9505" align="aligncenter" width="624"]The Sea Devils make an appearance in A Charitable Earth at Sea The Sea Devils make an appearance in A Charitable Earth at Sea[/caption]

10. Kidnapped!

With Iris in the hands of the Faction Paradox, their plans are coming to fruition. They begin to use the friends of Ace's associates to lure them into their trap. First up is Miss. Quill who returns home to find her baby, Charlie and Mattuesz missing. Ace can't find her on-off boyfriend Will and Bernice has to face the idea that her husband, Jason Kane is a member of the Paradox. Its time for Ace and the gang to take the offensive.

11. Old Friends that are New Enemies

There was a time when Kelsey Hooper was a normal girl. She had music channels, dressed in the latest clothes, had loads of friends and drank Bubbleshock. But then the Bane came and her life was turned upside down. When she turned eighteen the Paradox came for her. Now, sporting a cybernetically enhanced body, she is a hunter for the Paradox and her new target is A Charitable Earth. And she's out to terminate them all.

[caption id="attachment_9591" align="aligncenter" width="848"]Rani, K-9, Ace and Mel find themselves face to face with the Automatons once again in Target Located Rani, K-9, Ace and Mel find themselves face to face with the Automatons once again in Target Located[/caption]

12. The Faction Paradox

With Iris, Miss. Quill, Rani and K-9 prisoners of the Paradox, plans are coming to fruition. Soon Time Lord blood will flow and the Paradox's master will rise to conquer the earth and kill anyone who has ever travelled through time. Ace, Mel, Bernice and Panda make a last-ditch attempt to free their friends and loved ones. But the Faction Paradox has been planning this resurrection a long time ago and they are prepared for every eventuality. Will anyone make it out alive?

13. Origins and Endings

With Ace and the Gang under the control of the Paradox, the preparations for Iris' death is underway. When Ace finds a way out of the Paradox's lair, they discover the ship that Kelsey Hooper came to Earth on, with a number of stasis pods inside. Bernice realises this is what leads her to find Ace and her friends in the far future, but first they need to stop the Paradox, free Iris and stop the rise of the Great One, an ancient vampire that fell through time during their war with Gallifrey. This is a battle to the death but its a battle that Ace and the gang have been preparing for some time for. This is it, if they fail then they doom the entire human race.

[caption id="attachment_9592" align="aligncenter" width="691"]The Faction Paradox would make their first on-screen appearance in the first series, using Ace and her friends to resurrect an ancient vampire The Faction Paradox would make their first on-screen appearance in the first series, using Ace and her friends to resurrect an ancient vampire[/caption]

That's a brief outline for the first series of A Charitable Earth. A lot of the appeal of this series will no doubt come from the fact that there are a number of returning established Doctor Who characters. Those characters are appearing from across all different Doctor Who formats, TV, books and audio. But hopefully, it'll capture some of the charm and brilliance of The Sarah Jane Adventures as Ace would have been the natural continuation for the series.

The Faction Paradox is an interesting inclusion to the Doctor Who universe and while in the books they are something of a confused mythos. But they are a villainous entity that I'm surprised never turned up in the show proper. They'd certainly prove an interesting problem for the Doctor! While I'd love for Katy Manning take up the role of Iris Wildthyme on screen but if she didn't want to, then we'd have to recast, Iris is such a brilliant character, as is Panda and I'd love to see them both appear on screen.

Conversion would be a four-part story that sees the return of the Sixties Troughton Cybermen that would begin in A Charitable Earth and then continue in Doctor Who, UNIT and come to its conclusion in Torchwood. As much as I really like The Stolen Earth/Journey's End, the inclusion of everyone feels much more like 'oh remember them', by dedicating an episode of each series to the story, it'll give it a much more cohesive feel and give people a chance to experience each series if they've chosen not to watch one.

Also by connecting all the spin-off shows as well as the main Doctor Who series, we'll have something of a TV universe and a way of connecting everything. Repercussions from events in all the shows will be felt in all the shows as well as honouring the legacy of everything that came before.

Moving into Series 2 of A Charitable Earth, we'll see the repercussions of the cliff-hanger of this series as Ace and the Gang find themselves in the far-flung future. Their mission will be to get back to present-day. Along the way, they'll meet old and new enemies as well as a few old friends, maybe tying some other continuity plot threads up along the way. And it'll culminate in the conclusion with a showdown between the gang and a fan-favourite Sarah Jane Adventures villain. There is a lot of brilliant stuff to come!

The post A Charitable Earth – Series 1: Pitch appeared first on The Doctor Who Big Blue Box Podcast.

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As many showrunners have done before, Doctor Who isn't the only Whoniverse-related show to be on the air under their era. Russell T. Davies had Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, Steven Moffat had Class and I suppose to some degree the short-lived Australian-K-9 series, even John Nathan-Turner had K-9 and Company. Nowadays spin-off's are a staple of television. But much like Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, I want my proposed three or four spin-offs to compliment the main programme, not seem to ignore it as Class did for the most part. If you are a fan of the Arrowverse which features shows like the now ended-Arrow and continuing, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning, The Flash and Batwoman, you'll know that every year or 'season', they do a massive crossover episode that has gradually gotten bigger with each year. Most recently we had Crisis on Infinite Earths and it's always surprised me that Doctor Who didn't do something similar. Across the three different spinoff's I've got in mind as well as one episode of the main Doctor Who series, there will be a big crossover story, which will gradually get bigger with each passing series of the show. The three spinoff's I've got in mind are:
  • A Charitable Earth
  • UNIT
  • Torchwood
And I'd also possibly like to do a spinoff set on Gallifrey. But I need to think more about that one so not to retrace the same steps Big Finish took in their spinoff series about the Doctor's homeworld. [caption id="attachment_9580" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Ace will lead the first of three spin-off shows A Charitable Earth, the first two episodes of which will see her assembling her crew of old friends Ace will lead the first of three spin-off shows A Charitable Earth, the first two episodes of which will see her assembling her crew of old friends[/caption] And if you've recently seen the latest Star Trek outing, Picard, then you'll no doubt have enjoyed seeing old faces from across the Star Trek canon turning up. A Charitable Earth will be like that, with a number of Doctor Who characters either in main or supporting roles. These characters will also come from other spinoffs including The Sarah Jane Adventures, as the first episode will also deal with the fallout of Sarah's death as well as setting up the new series and characters from Class as well as one or two surprise character-appearances. While we will be featuring new and old villains from all over the Whoniverse, the main villain for Series 1, which will run for thirteen episodes, will be The Faction Paradox, a cult who despise time-lords and time travel and will stop at nothing to put a stop to it. Below is a list of the main characters and supporting characters, as well as a list and blurb for each episode. I've also included a few lines and scene descriptions in prose form, to show I have a great handle on the characters.

Main Characters

Ace: Following her departure from the Doctor, Ace founded A Charitable Earth, an organisation that was designed to send aid to countries and peoples in trouble. Ace, though she is now known by her actual name - Dorothy McShane - is happy in her new life. She thinks of herself as 'The Doctor' now, helping those who can't help themselves. But what she keeps secret from the rest of the world is that she also helps aliens, either stranded, stuck, exiled or fleeing wars, to set up new lives on Earth. She also isn't afraid to send invaders packing either. Following the 'death' of Sarah Jane Smith, she also found herself acquiring K-9 and Mr. Smith. While K-9 helps her scientists catalogue and analyse alien technology, as well as helping Dorothy, Mr. Smith has detected strange goings-on from a seemingly normal club. Dorothy finds herself up against the Faction Paradox, a cult who hates Time-Lords and time-travel. And they know all about the mysterious Dorothy McShane. Ace knows she's going to need all the help she can get. Professor Bernice Summerfield: At a dig in her own time in the future, Bernice finds herself uncovering the frozen remains of a spaceship. When she gets inside she finds a number of stasis-pods. Inside each one is a friend of the Doctor's, including Ace and herself?! When she's pulled back through time by the machinations of The Faction Paradox, she sets out to warn her old friend about what is happening and that at some point, they'll all find themselves stuck in the future. But Bernice finds herself now stuck in the past and has to adapt to life in a time period that isn't her own. [caption id="attachment_9581" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Ace's old friend Bernice Summerfield will play a large part in Series 1 as she falls through time as part of the Faction Paradox's plan Ace's old friend Bernice Summerfield will play a large part in Series 1 as she falls through time as part of the Faction Paradox's plan[/caption] Melanie Bush: An old friend of Ace's, Mel has returned to her own time-zone and set up another company creating computers. Mel has come into a lot of money and like Ace, gives much of it away to charitable causes. Ace uses much of Mel's technology in her own company and calls on Mel to try and find anything on the Faction Paradox online and throughout history. What Mel finds out chills her to her core, the Faction Paradox has been on Earth since its the very beginning and even had a hand in the formation of her company, forcing her to wonder who she can trust. Rani Chandra: Following on in the steps of her mentor, Sarah Jane Smith, Rani has begun a formidable journalistic career and following her ground-breaking piece on Project: Refreeze, Rani is finding her life a little difficult. She's got government officials at her door, threatening legal action because he piece is threatening to destabilise parliament and as someone who has travelled through time and journeyed in the TARDIS, she finds herself hunted by members of the Faction Paradox when she stumbles across them investigating for another article. This leads to her joining forces with Ace to stop the Faction Paradox. [caption id="attachment_9582" align="aligncenter" width="577"]Mel would be brought into A Charitable Earth as Ace needs her help and she discovers something is going wrong with her computer company Mel would be brought into A Charitable Earth as Ace needs her help and she discovers something is going wrong with her computer company[/caption] Andrea Quill: Following on from the ending of Class, Miss. Quill has given birth and left her job at Coal Hill School. Ace offers her a position as her head of security, which allows her to get much more hands-on than teaching ever did. Which is just the way, Miss. Quill likes it. But she slowly begins to find herself adapting to life on Earth, even getting human emotions slowly. When the Faction Paradox kidnaps her baby, wounding Charlie and Mattuesz in the process, Miss. Quill sets out with the help of A Charitable Earth to get her child back before her child is sacrificed too. Iris Wildthyme and Panda: Having arrived on Earth, in her TARDIS disguised as a double-decker bus, Iris Wildthyme decides to visit a few old friends and decides to join A Charitable Earth, even though no one particularly wants her. Iris isn't bad, she just doesn't have the best track record intact, something Ace needs when dealing with alien threats. But as a time-traveller and someone who could be a Time-Lord, Iris can't remember she's had too many gin and tonics, the Faction Paradox plan to sacrifice her, not only to remove one more time-traveller, but a time-lord's blood will release an ancient demon across the planet. [caption id="attachment_9583" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]Rani would follow Sarah Jane's footsteps as an investigative journalist Rani would follow Sarah Jane's footsteps as an investigative journalist[/caption]
Racing into the expansive courtyard, Iris found herself forced to a stop. She felt a small bump in the back of her legs, nearly toppling her over. "Blimey Iris, when we are running away, you don't just stop suddenly like that! You could have fallen on me and in that puff-skirt you're wearing, I'd have been a flat pancake Panda on this surprisingly beautiful mosaic floor!" Panda looked down at the patterned stones once again, trying to memorise the intricate details and patterns featured there. Panda came out of his revere at the sound of a number of guns being cocked in his direction. Iris turned to face him. "Oh 'hecky-thump Panda. I think we're in a spot of bother here." "Really Iris?" Panda looked up at the woman incredulously. "What gave that away, the fact we're surrounded by a load of nuns with very big guns?" - Excerpt from the third episode, The Trans-temporal Adventuress
[caption id="attachment_9585" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]A Charitable Earth would see Miss. Quill working as the Head of Security A Charitable Earth would see Miss. Quill working as the Head of Security[/caption]

Supporting Characters

There will be a number of supporting characters across the series, both old characters the viewers will be familiar with and new characters, allowing the former friends of the Doctor's to have lives. These include husbands and wives, though they won't feature heavily, but will all form a lure for Ace and the gang to fall for the Faction Paradox's trap. These characters will include: Will Buckland: First mentioned in the novel, At Childhood's End, Will was an ex-boyfriend of Ace's when she initially founded her charity. He will feature throughout the series and will pose as the potential love interest for Ace. Ben Hayworth: Mel's husband, first mentioned in the novel, Heritage, his origins will be different here and he won't kill Mel as he does in the book, he provides stability for Mel who sometimes has her head in the clouds, the pair live happily together and he is a joint owner of the company that Mel founded. Charlie Smith & Mateusz: Still living with Miss. Quill, Charlie and Mattuesz find themselves looking after her baby and teaching her the ways of the Earth. The pair have gradually come to like Miss Quill over the years but they along with the baby find themselves kidnapped by the Faction Paradox in an attempt to trap Miss. Quill. Jason Kane: The husband of Bernice Summerfield, Jason works in archaeology with his wife. When Bernice falls for one of the Paradox's traps and finds herself stranded in the twenty-first century, Jason has to find out what happened to her and if he can, get a message of warning to her. Kelsey Hooper: There was a time when Kelsey was in Sarah Jane Smith's orbit. One of the unwitting victims of the Bane and their Bubbleshock scandal, Kelsey soon found herself in the orbit of the Faction Paradox instead. Now she's a fully-fledged member of their cult, hunting down anyone the Paradox tell her to. Even if it means she has to kill some old friends. [caption id="attachment_9587" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Rounding out the main gang is Iris Wildthyme, joined by Panda Rounding out the main gang is Iris Wildthyme, joined by Panda[/caption]
Melanie Bush heard the door to her office open, with a soft hiss. For a moment she didn't look up, and finished typing up a report. Taking off her reading glasses, she pushed her red hair away from her face. She'd kept it virtually the same and she was happy that any signs of age hadn't begun to creep in. Maybe something in the TARDIS fought off grey-hairs. Now her hair more controlled and even she had to admit it made life much easier. Closing her laptop she looked up at her secretary. "Julie?" Her secretary stepped forward. "I'm sorry to disturb you Mrs. Bush, but there is someone here to see you. She's not got an appointment but she's refusing to leave, says she's an old friend of yours." She swallowed nervously. Melanie looked past her secretary and out into the corridor, the glass wall allowed her a good look at the coming and goings of her employees. There, in a rather familiar jacket stood her old friend. She waved from the other side of the glass. Melanie felt a smile cross her face. "It's alright Julie, let her in and cancel all my other appointments for the day. Tell them I'm feeling a little under the weather." Julie nodded and opened the door again, stepping aside as the woman with shoulder length dark hair and the jacket covered in badges to step into the office. Ace waited for the door to close. "Hello Mel, long time no see." Mel stood up and the pair hugged. "How long has it been?" She asked Ace. "About six years." Mel hugged her old friend again. "I wish I could be here under better circumstances. But you see, there's a spot of bother and I really need you're help." Mel nodded and headed to the door, opening it she called across the lobby to Julie. "Better cancel all the appointments for the week." When Julie nodded in response, Mel turned back to Ace. "Now, what seems to be the matter?" - Mel and Ace reunite in an excerpt from the second episode, Some Assembly Required.
[caption id="attachment_9588" align="aligncenter" width="841"]The members of A Charitable Earth would be aided along the way by K-9 and Mr. Smith The members of A Charitable Earth would be aided along the way by K-9 and Mr. Smith[/caption]

The Series

1. A Charitable Earth It all starts here! Find out what happened to Ace after she left the Doctor and what her charity actually does. Ace is happy, but she feels empty and as she gets older, she finds herself missing the old days, the aliens, the danger, her old friends and the Doctor. She's suddenly thrust into her old world again of danger and monsters. When an alien refugee from a far flung war arrives on Earth, it seeks sanctuary in one of the outreach buildings for the charity. Ace finds herself flung into a feud between two alien families, two planets at war and a star crossed relationship that could hold the secret of planetary peace. 2. Some Assembly Required Ace needs a team of specialists if she's going to put together a covert team to tackle the alien division of A Charitable Earth. Luckily for her though, an old acquaintance of Sarah Jane's, Rani Chandra is trying to write a piece about her charity, her head of security is an alien herself, her technology expert is a robotic dog, an old friend has just fallen through time and her predecessor in the TARDIS, Melanie Bush is happy to help. Can Ace assemble them all in time for their first mission? 3. The Trans-temporal Adventuress With reports of a rogue Double Decker Bus having hit the streets of London, Bernice Summerfield has a feeling she knows whose behind the wheel. Iris Wildthyme and Panda have just narrowly escaped a deadly predicament and crash landed on Earth. But they don't know that the Faction Paradox have followed them and are lying in wait. But Ace fears it could be worse than that, what if Iris was the bait and the Paradox are the trap? [caption id="attachment_9589" align="aligncenter" width="512"]The Trans-Temporal Adventuress would introduce properly Iris and Panda as well as really set up the Faction Paradox as the villains of the series The Trans-Temporal Adventuress would introduce properly Iris and Panda as well as really set up the Faction Paradox as the villains of the series[/caption] 4. The House of God People have been disappearing around St. Judes Church, vanishing a puff of blue smoke. Ace fears something alien is behind it all and when the team investigate the Church, they find a deadly trap laid out by the mysterious Blue-Angels, creatures that have recently faced the Doctor. The walls of reality are weaker around St. Judes Church and could the Blue Angels be a precursor for something much worse? Something that has been waiting for a long time. Something hungry for the souls of the human race. 5. Time Team When A Charitable Earth funds an archaeological dig, Ace sends Bernice along as a consultant in an attempt to cheer her old friend up. At the dig of what is believed to be a roman palace, Bernice finds herself caught up in the black market. In between having to stop smugglers getting away with priceless treasures and alien devices, she soon finds that the dig has disturbed an old evil. Can she stop that evil before it spreads across the whole planet? 6. Conversion - Part 1 Part One of the four part crossover epic. Years ago, Tobias Vaughn entered into a partnership with the Cybermen. As a result, the Cybermen used London's sewer system to put a number of drones in hibernation. There were a number of hibernation chambers that had never been found. When a team of surveyors accidently stumble upon one of these chambers, the Cybermen wake up. Learning of their defeat, they set out to convert the city of London and then the world. Investigating the disappearance of the survey team, Ace and her friends come up against the might of the Cybermen. But they know they can't handle this alone. Its time for A Charitable Earth, UNIT, Torchwood and the Doctor to team up once again. But the Cybermen are determined to survive and will stop at nothing to see that goal achieved. Conversion will be continued in Doctor Who - Series 5. [caption id="attachment_9590" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]The Invasion-style Cybermen would be returning across the four-part Conversion storyline The Invasion-style Cybermen would be returning across the four-part Conversion storyline[/caption] 7. A Charitable Earth At Sea Following the invasion of the Cybermen, Ace decides that her staff need a holiday and books them all on a Caribbean cruise. While Mel, Miss. Quill and Rani are happy to lounge around sunbathing, Ace, Bernice and Iris stumble upon an old temple when the ship docks. Inside the old inhabitants used to worship the Sea Devils. When the Sea Devils attack the ship, unaware of the truce met between the human race and their people in the Doctor Who story, Waters of Death, Ace and the gang must protect the crew and passengers of the ship, before the Sea Devils kill everyone on board. 8. Target Located Picking up strange transmissions from a nearby ship, Rani, K-9, Ace and Mel find themselves up against some robotic enemies. Rani has faced the Automatons before, last time her Clyde found themselves the only people on the planet. But what do they want this time? They need to find out in a race against time as the Earth as forty-minutes before it's destroyed completely. 9. The Many Faces of Iris Wildthyme As the Faction Paradox close in, Iris finds time swelling around her with many different incarnations of herself arriving on Earth. What's going on, Iris knows she's crucial to the plans of the Paradox but she can't let her friends die for her, so she takes all her previous incarnations and flies them away in the double-decker bus, leaving Panda stranded on Earth. Ace and the gang follow her in a captured time-ship and run into many people throughout time who both love and hate Iris when they track her down, they find her TARDIS crashed on an alien moon but Iris is nowhere to be found. [caption id="attachment_9505" align="aligncenter" width="624"]The Sea Devils make an appearance in A Charitable Earth at Sea The Sea Devils make an appearance in A Charitable Earth at Sea[/caption] 10. Kidnapped! With Iris in the hands of the Faction Paradox, their plans are coming to fruition. They begin to use the friends of Ace's associates to lure them into their trap. First up is Miss. Quill who returns home to find her baby, Charlie and Mattuesz missing. Ace can't find her on-off boyfriend Will and Bernice has to face the idea that her husband, Jason Kane is a member of the Paradox. Its time for Ace and the gang to take the offensive. 11. Old Friends that are New Enemies There was a time when Kelsey Hooper was a normal girl. She had music channels, dressed in the latest clothes, had loads of friends and drank Bubbleshock. But then the Bane came and her life was turned upside down. When she turned eighteen the Paradox came for her. Now, sporting a cybernetically enhanced body, she is a hunter for the Paradox and her new target is A Charitable Earth. And she's out to terminate them all. [caption id="attachment_9591" align="aligncenter" width="848"]Rani, K-9, Ace and Mel find themselves face to face with the Automatons once again in Target Located Rani, K-9, Ace and Mel find themselves face to face with the Automatons once again in Target Located[/caption] 12. The Faction Paradox With Iris, Miss. Quill, Rani and K-9 prisoners of the Paradox, plans are coming to fruition. Soon Time Lord blood will flow and the Paradox's master will rise to conquer the earth and kill anyone who has ever travelled through time. Ace, Mel, Bernice and Panda make a last-ditch attempt to free their friends and loved ones. But the Faction Paradox has been planning this resurrection a long time ago and they are prepared for every eventuality. Will anyone make it out alive? 13. Origins and Endings With Ace and the Gang under the control of the Paradox, the preparations for Iris' death is underway. When Ace finds a way out of the Paradox's lair, they discover the ship that Kelsey Hooper came to Earth on, with a number of stasis pods inside. Bernice realises this is what leads her to find Ace and her friends in the far future, but first they need to stop the Paradox, free Iris and stop the rise of the Great One, an ancient vampire that fell through time during their war with Gallifrey. This is a battle to the death but its a battle that Ace and the gang have been preparing for some time for. This is it, if they fail then they doom the entire human race. [caption id="attachment_9592" align="aligncenter" width="691"]The Faction Paradox would make their first on-screen appearance in the first series, using Ace and her friends to resurrect an ancient vampire The Faction Paradox would make their first on-screen appearance in the first series, using Ace and her friends to resurrect an ancient vampire[/caption] That's a brief outline for the first series of A Charitable Earth. A lot of the appeal of this series will no doubt come from the fact that there are a number of returning established Doctor Who characters. Those characters are appearing from across all different Doctor Who formats, TV, books and audio. But hopefully, it'll capture some of the charm and brilliance of The Sarah Jane Adventures as Ace would have been the natural continuation for the series. The Faction Paradox is an interesting inclusion to the Doctor Who universe and while in the books they are something of a confused mythos. But they are a villainous entity that I'm surprised never turned up in the show proper. They'd certainly prove an interesting problem for the Doctor! While I'd love for Katy Manning take up the role of Iris Wildthyme on screen but if she didn't want to, then we'd have to recast, Iris is such a brilliant character, as is Panda and I'd love to see them both appear on screen. Conversion would be a four-part story that sees the return of the Sixties Troughton Cybermen that would begin in A Charitable Earth and then continue in Doctor Who, UNIT and come to its conclusion in Torchwood. As much as I really like The Stolen Earth/Journey's End, the inclusion of everyone feels much more like 'oh remember them', by dedicating an episode of each series to the story, it'll give it a much more cohesive feel and give people a chance to experience each series if they've chosen not to watch one. Also by connecting all the spin-off shows as well as the main Doctor Who series, we'll have something of a TV universe and a way of connecting everything. Repercussions from events in all the shows will be felt in all the shows as well as honouring the legacy of everything that came before. Moving into Series 2 of A Charitable Earth, we'll see the repercussions of the cliff-hanger of this series as Ace and the Gang find themselves in the far-flung future. Their mission will be to get back to present-day. Along the way, they'll meet old and new enemies as well as a few old friends, maybe tying some other continuity plot threads up along the way. And it'll culminate in the conclusion with a showdown between the gang and a fan-favourite Sarah Jane Adventures villain. There is a lot of brilliant stuff to come!

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Torchwood: Save our Souls – Review https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/torchwood-save-our-souls-review/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=torchwood-save-our-souls-review https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/torchwood-save-our-souls-review/#respond Mon, 31 Aug 2020 09:00:21 +0000 https://www.bigblueboxpodcast.co.uk/?p=9554 Review: Torchwood - Save Our Souls

Something that has been really good to see in the Torchwood range is the expansion of characters that Big Finish have been playing with. We've seen the return of Yvonne Hartman and Torchwood One, seen what Ianto's life was like before we knew him, seen PC Andy get some much-needed exploration, the further adventures of Gwen and Rhys, the list goes on. One of the best ideas the range ever had was to include stories from Torchwood's creator, Queen Victoria. Save Our Souls sees Rowena Cooper make her tremendous return to the character.

[caption id="attachment_9555" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Save our Souls Save our Souls[/caption]

Rowena Cooper has been playing Queen Victoria in Big Finish since 2016's Torchwood release, The Victorian Age. Since then she's played the monarch in a further five outings, including the finale of Jago and Litefoot. A further story, The Crown is set for release in December 2020.

Save our Souls, written by Scott Handcock sees Queen Victoria arriving on an island where the inhabitants of a lighthouse have been conducting experiments with the supernatural and built a machine which can receive messages from 'The Other Side'. Along with Victoria, there are four other people, all of whom receive warnings, because all but one is doomed to die.

Handcock makes sure that Victoria is strong right off the bat and listening to the CD extras at the end, director Lisa Bowerman gets it right when she says that this version of Victoria is soft and kind when she needs to be but will always slip back into the role she's been given to play. At that point in history, she was one of the most important people of the planet and she'd do anything to survive, even if it means everyone else has to sacrifice themselves for her.

Handcock makes sure that Victoria has a little moral grey area. While one can't condone some of the actions, well, the action she takes at the end to make sure she survives. But you know that for the sake of history she has to survive.

[caption id="attachment_9556" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]The cast of Save our Souls The cast of Save our Souls[/caption]

What helps is that every character here has some kind of flaw and a reason why they die. One is a liar, the other a murderer, a traitor and I suppose you could say two are cowards. But even if some of them only have brief airtime, Handcock makes sure to make each of them sympathetic and each death is a shock.

One of my favourite ever Doctor Who stories is Horror of Fang Rock and Handcock takes all the very best elements of that outing, the isolated setting, the spooky atmosphere, the deeply flawed characters that you root for nonetheless and an unrelenting enemy. The enemy is also a look at what Torchwood does best, giving us an alien threat without much of an explanation as to where it comes from and in this case, what it even is and as a result puts the heroes of the audio in the losing field.

This is my first time hearing Rowena Cooper as Queen Victoria in the Torchwood range, for some reason I never got around to listening to her previous story, Fortitude, but Save our Souls has succeeded in making her one of my favourite parts of the Torchwood range. Handcock makes her engage in a battle of wits with the alien menace and Cooper equips herself well, and dare I say she's better than Pauline Collins who played the same role on screen in Tooth and Claw? There is a nice reference to that story here too, which pleased me because it's one of my favourite modern-era stories. She displays a much more manipulative streak here than she did on-screen when everyone seemed happy to die for her, on audio though, the characters aren't quite as happy to do that for her, and as a result, puts her at odds with almost every character she encounters.

As a result, Save our Souls rattles towards its far-from-predictable conclusion and Handcock offers us some interesting reflections on the idea of free-will and predestination. I always like stories that make me think 'what would I do here' and Save our Souls is one of those. What would you do if you were faced with the knowledge that in a matter of hours, you were going to die horribly? Would you surrender to it, or would you fight? Rightly so Save our Souls offers us no easy answers.

The post Torchwood: Save our Souls – Review appeared first on The Doctor Who Big Blue Box Podcast.

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Review: Torchwood - Save Our Souls

Something that has been really good to see in the Torchwood range is the expansion of characters that Big Finish have been playing with. We've seen the return of Yvonne Hartman and Torchwood One, seen what Ianto's life was like before we knew him, seen PC Andy get some much-needed exploration, the further adventures of Gwen and Rhys, the list goes on. One of the best ideas the range ever had was to include stories from Torchwood's creator, Queen Victoria. Save Our Souls sees Rowena Cooper make her tremendous return to the character. [caption id="attachment_9555" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Save our Souls Save our Souls[/caption] Rowena Cooper has been playing Queen Victoria in Big Finish since 2016's Torchwood release, The Victorian Age. Since then she's played the monarch in a further five outings, including the finale of Jago and Litefoot. A further story, The Crown is set for release in December 2020. Save our Souls, written by Scott Handcock sees Queen Victoria arriving on an island where the inhabitants of a lighthouse have been conducting experiments with the supernatural and built a machine which can receive messages from 'The Other Side'. Along with Victoria, there are four other people, all of whom receive warnings, because all but one is doomed to die. Handcock makes sure that Victoria is strong right off the bat and listening to the CD extras at the end, director Lisa Bowerman gets it right when she says that this version of Victoria is soft and kind when she needs to be but will always slip back into the role she's been given to play. At that point in history, she was one of the most important people of the planet and she'd do anything to survive, even if it means everyone else has to sacrifice themselves for her. Handcock makes sure that Victoria has a little moral grey area. While one can't condone some of the actions, well, the action she takes at the end to make sure she survives. But you know that for the sake of history she has to survive. [caption id="attachment_9556" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]The cast of Save our Souls The cast of Save our Souls[/caption] What helps is that every character here has some kind of flaw and a reason why they die. One is a liar, the other a murderer, a traitor and I suppose you could say two are cowards. But even if some of them only have brief airtime, Handcock makes sure to make each of them sympathetic and each death is a shock. One of my favourite ever Doctor Who stories is Horror of Fang Rock and Handcock takes all the very best elements of that outing, the isolated setting, the spooky atmosphere, the deeply flawed characters that you root for nonetheless and an unrelenting enemy. The enemy is also a look at what Torchwood does best, giving us an alien threat without much of an explanation as to where it comes from and in this case, what it even is and as a result puts the heroes of the audio in the losing field. This is my first time hearing Rowena Cooper as Queen Victoria in the Torchwood range, for some reason I never got around to listening to her previous story, Fortitude, but Save our Souls has succeeded in making her one of my favourite parts of the Torchwood range. Handcock makes her engage in a battle of wits with the alien menace and Cooper equips herself well, and dare I say she's better than Pauline Collins who played the same role on screen in Tooth and Claw? There is a nice reference to that story here too, which pleased me because it's one of my favourite modern-era stories. She displays a much more manipulative streak here than she did on-screen when everyone seemed happy to die for her, on audio though, the characters aren't quite as happy to do that for her, and as a result, puts her at odds with almost every character she encounters. As a result, Save our Souls rattles towards its far-from-predictable conclusion and Handcock offers us some interesting reflections on the idea of free-will and predestination. I always like stories that make me think 'what would I do here' and Save our Souls is one of those. What would you do if you were faced with the knowledge that in a matter of hours, you were going to die horribly? Would you surrender to it, or would you fight? Rightly so Save our Souls offers us no easy answers.

The post Torchwood: Save our Souls – Review appeared first on The Doctor Who Big Blue Box Podcast.

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