With the release of Gallifrey: Time War: Volume Fourthe general consensus was that the series was over. Romana was punished to chronicle the Time War, Gallifrey was in the throws of a fascist dictatorship under Rassilon’s thumb, Leela was captured, and Narvin was essentially sent off to his suspected death. And then the Gallifrey One convention for 2022 happened and Big Finish Productions announced not one, but four new Gallifrey box sets under the series name War Room with the first set releasing this August, over a week ago at the time of writing. Yes, I am a bit late because this released while I was sick, so here we are finally taking a look at Gallifrey: War Room: Allegiance.
Brigadier Winifred Bambera is a Doctor Who character who is interesting. Appearing on television in Battlefield played by the wonderful Angela Bruce and created by Ben Aaronovitch, had the show lasted past Season 26 there was a good chance she would reappear especially since Andrew Cartmel had what would become the ‘lost story’ Animal in his head as a story at the time. So it became puzzling that in the Virgin New Adventures, while UNIT featured heavily especially in books like Blood Heat,No Future, and Eternity Weeps, Bambera herself would only appear twice, in Head Games and The Dying Days as cameos. The UNIT stories of the New Adventures were more concerned with deconstructing the UNIT family and the Pertwee era as it was the era many of the writers grew up with and were fond of. She had a similar cameo in the novelisation of Downtime by Marc Platt, but after that didn’t appear in any of the novels by BBC Books. Then in 1999 Big Finish acquired the Doctor Who license and begun their takeover of Doctor Who dominating the early 2000s until the revival, yet Bambera only appeared in Animal released in 2011. So it became a surprise with the success of the UNIT spin-off, Angela Bruce was brought back in the second set of UNIT: Nemesis as a backdoor pilot for UNIT: Brave New World, a currently two set release giving Bambera her own UNIT team in the late 1990s post-Battlefield, focusing on incursions from Earth itself and not the standard alien invasions.
The Lone Centurion was kind of a dark horse for Big Finish Productions, coming in under the radar with a premise of being a spin-off set in between The Pandorica Opens and The Big Bang, in Roman times with Rory trying to survive while guarding the Pandorica and Amy inside of it. Because of an already vague premise it meant that the writers could really do anything with the premise, the first volume being a three part miniseries in the Roman empire while The Lone Centurion: Camelot does what it says on the tin, a three part miniseries in Camelot. There is one overall issue with the set, it follows the same formula as the first set to the letter with the first story being mostly set up of the world ending with Rory in a position of power that he doesn’t quite want, the second being an interlude leading to an ending with Rory at a low point, and the third being the finale ending with a large set piece as a conclusion before Rory moves on to pastures new. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, formulas work for a reason and there are plenty of amazing stories that follow established formulas, but for a spin-off it isn’t something that can always be relied upon to the letter. Going forward Big Finish will have to mix things up if the want this spin-off to stay interesting. That isn’t to say the formula can’t be followed, it just needs to be mixed up a bit, especially if there is going to be a third box set. The Lone Centurion: Camelot also has an interesting setting, being mostly fictional and not really based on anything in history while doing three stories in a pure historical mood. There aren’t any science fiction elements outside of the Pandorica being a McGuffin that the villain of the set is after, the fact that Rory is an Auton. Some of the science seems a bit too advanced for the era, but there are no instances of magic or sorcery that you would expect from a King Arthur legend.
Echoes of Extinction is a release with a troubled history. Originally announced for a November 2020 release with the final Big Finish release for the Time Lord Victorious event as a download and vinyl exclusive at certain UK supermarkets, boasting Paul McGann and David Tennant both portraying the Doctor before the COVID-19 pandemic delayed it, making the vinyl exclusive to Big Finish’s own website. Now it is April 2021 and Echoes of Extinction has finally been released, making it the final installment in the event to actually be released in the event. It is also interesting as being made for vinyl, it is essentially two interconnected stories, each approximately 28 minutes to accommodate the vinyl’s limitations. This is also a multi-Doctor story in the vein of Heart of TARDIS, where each Doctor’s plot affects the other’s while never actually meeting each other. The story follows the same format as the main range story Flip Flop which each disc could be listened to individually and in either order. For full transparency, I listened to the story in the order they were presented in the Big Finish app, with the Eighth Doctor’s story first followed by the Tenth Doctor’s story, rounded off with the customary bonus interviews as is with these ranges.
If you follow the reviews I have written in the past for IndieMacUser I have indulged in discussions on how Big Finish have during the COVID-19 pandemic, but what hasn’t been discussed yet is the releases which have been disrupted. Luckily Big Finish Productions rarely announce releases before recording has at the very least began, yet The Diary of River Song Series 8 has become one of those releases which had to be changed while recording was occurring due to the pandemic. Continue reading →
Four more pieces of the Time Lord Victorious jigsaw are revealed – four audio dramas will be released by Big Finish Productions from October.
Paul McGann leads a trilogy of exciting full-cast audio dramas, as the Eighth Doctor faces his old enemies, the Daleks. Plus, two Short Trips will accompany these adventures, featuring two incarnations of the Master narrated by Jon Culshaw.
In the midst of his self-imposed exile in Victorian London during “The Snowmen”, the Eleventh Doctor decides to ‘investigate’ a spike in levels of artron energy coming from a mortuary nearby. He soon encounters a man with greying hair who claims to be him trapped and channeling regenerative energy into the dead bodies in the room around him. The Twelfth Doctor has been drawn into a nasty and rather terrifying deathtrap with his entire future at stake and it’s going to take the help of his previous self to save the day…..if the two can find a way to get along that is……
Class is simply an odd series at its conception and connection to Doctor Who. Announced in 2015 as a spin-off, the reaction to it was overall negative and who could blame it? The only connection the show has is that it takes place at the same school as the first ten minutes of An Unearthly Child and that the Doctor shows up in the first episode. It ran for eight episodes in 2016, ended on a cliffhanger, and was quietly cancelled a year later. Major criticisms of the show were that it was generic and had characters closer to a soap opera than a science fiction program. The show was revived in 2018 by Big Finish Production with a deal to make 12 hour long episodes set during the series, though not following up on the cliffhanger and released their first six. It would not be until late April of 2020 that the other six would be produced and released as Class: Volume 3 and Class: Volume 4 and like most things in the Doctor Who universe that isn’t well received, Big Finish Productions have taken the potential Class had and allowed the actors to fulfil said potential.