What’s always fascinating for a range is what happens when a cast member cannot return for a range.Time War: Cassis one such release, continuing the Eighth Doctor releases from Time War: Volume Four but without the character of Bliss due to scheduling conflicts with Rakhee Thakrar.Luckily, unlike the issues that arose with Dark Eyes and the scheduling conflicts Ruth Bradley faced, the setting of Time War: Cass is one where due to the universe being in a constant state of flux due to the Time War.This is something that the writers of this box set are keenly aware of with each of the three stories featured doing something with the ‘time’ element of the Time War which is already a recipe for success when dealing with this era.There is a clear reason (or at least an appearance of a reason) for why Bliss isn’t there, though the details of this are not given to the listener partially for intrigue and partially because there is not a guarantee that she will be available to record with Big Finish anytime soon.Instead this set picks up some time after the cliffhanger ending of Time War: Volume Four with the Doctor traveling with Alex Campbell, once again played by Sonny McGann, with an unspecified amount of time having past and this is an interesting premise since when we last saw Alex he was dead.Continue reading →
Big Finish did the impossible; they made Class one of my favourite Doctor Who spin-offs. Prior to hearing Secret Diary I was well accustomed to the first two volumes of the audio stories set within Coal Hill Academy, and I absolutely adored them and hold them up as a pair of Big Finish’s best New Series era boxsets. They have stories which explore new ideas, really interesting small scale sci-fi threats, and have outstanding character development and characterisation. As of time of writing I am yet to hear the later two series of stories, I have been put off due to the recasts, but the finale of Volume 4 was penned by one Blair Mowat; composer extraordinaire who has done Big Finish’s best musical suites as well as composing the excellent score for Class’ TV series. In recent years he has stepped into the world of writing, first with Queen of Rhodia and now with Secret Diary of a Rhodian Prince. Which, with no word of exaggeration, is the best Class story and an easy early contender for favourite release of 2023.
The third season for Jon Pertwee‘s Third Doctor is the next release to come to Blu-ray with Season 9.
Across an action-packed twenty-six episodes, the Doctor and Jo (Katy Manning) face off against Daleks, Ogrons, Sea Devils, Ice Warriors, Mutants and their old enemy the Master (Roger Delgado). Joining them in their adventures are the UNIT team of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart (Nicholas Courtney), Captain Yates (Richard Franklin) and Sergeant Benton (John Levene).
The Audio Novels range after three releases has taken a very important step. Big Finish Productions has deemed it profitable to publish an audio novel without a returning villain such as the Cybermen or the Daleks. The Dead Star doesn’t have a returning villain and that alone would be enough to get me excited, but then Big Finish made my New Adventures loving heart sing with the triumphant return of Kate Orman to Doctor Who. Orman is perhaps my favorite writer of Doctor Who and for a whole new generation of fans (and several old generations of fans) this will be their introduction to just what she does oh so well, and what an introduction. The Dead Star is going right into new territory for Orman, her first story to feature the Second Doctor and only written because Orman and her husband and frequent collaborator Jonathan Blum were watching the recent animations. While Orman in the behind the scenes doesn’t mention which animation in particular inspired this story, there is a great sense of a direct continuation from The Power of the Daleks as well as The Macra Terror specifically for its aesthetics.
Of all the Blake’s 7 characters destined to grab centre stage in their own spin-off, I’m not sure I had ever anticipated Arlen (Sasha Mitchell). However, in retrospect, she’s one who was begging for a backstory; the insidious Federation security officer was responsible for bringing down the errant Blake, and all of Avon’s crew, during the show’s shocking finale.
Following Arlen’s story, this boxset has a wide timeframe. In the first adventure she encounters Cally prior to the telepath’s time with Blake, the second sits somewhere in Series B, and the third brings us Jenna Stannis, after her Liberator days.
The final Big Finish release of 2022 is upon us; the latest entry in the Paul Spragg memorial competition. This yearly event has gifted us with some genuinely fantastic talent, each and every story does feel genuinely fresh and new so it’s great to see that tradition is being upheld by The World Tree from Nick Slawicz. This story has a lot of DNA in common with stories like Landbound or The Last Day at Work where the primary story is all about how a single person has their life shifted by a meeting with the Doctor. The Doctor in question is Eleven, who I think Big Finish have done excellent work with this year as Geronimo was a real highlight. The World Tree further shows how Big Finish really want to push the limits of the stories you can tell with this Doctor, and Slawicz story is successful at demonstrating the depths of Eleven’s character.