Every so often Big Finish will give us the chance to explore new characters within the Torchwood universe, offering us a look at branches and agents we may never would have seen onscreen. We’ve been to a Third Reich occupied Paris in The Dying Room, a Charlie’s Angels inspired LA in The Dollhouseand most famously we’ve had a glimpse into Norton Folgate’s Soho based branch. Doublefollows suit and takes back to a world where the Autons are slowly plotting their global take-over through corporate subterfuge and how a 70s British Torchwood may go around dealing with this hostile threat. Double’s strength lies in its longer format as we get to feel more involved with the world we see in Guy Adams’ script, everything is given the room it needs to breathe and we are offered an Auton story that feels genuinely fresh and expectedly bleak. Although there are some issues with how long it takes Adams to breathe, which ultimately does leave us with a big cluster of brilliant ideas and characters trapped within a narrative which ends up being somewhat confusing for the listener.
The Fourth Doctor Adventures: The Nine has a weird title. Originally announced years back as simply The Fourth Doctor Adventures: Series 11: Volume 2 following the naming scheme of Series 7-10, but with the transition of the greater Big Finish output going to box set releases with their own individual subtitles is given the title The Nine because the character of the Nine appears in the first story, The Dreams of Avarice, alone. The other two stories, Shellshock and Peake Season, are completely unrelated adventures for the Fourth Doctor, Peake Season not even meant to be released in this series as it was added later and recorded in 2020 and not in 2017-2018. A more fitting subtitle would have been Solo Volume 2 since this is a set which contains three stories where the Fourth Doctor is travelling alone after The Deadly Assassin and a friend of mine suggested on Twitter that this series was similar to the run of Virgin New Adventures which in the span of four books would pitch a potential companion, with Bernice Summerfield being the companion chosen. For this series it would be Margaret in the winning role but The Dreams of Avarice, Shellshock, and Peake Season have characters who feel as if they are meant to be companion candidates which would have enhanced the set had this been called Solo Volume 2.
There is something odd about the First Doctor Adventures Big Finish range. As it features the cast from An Adventure in Space and Time in the roles of the Doctor, Susan, Ian, and Barbara it is classified as a range for the New Series, however, each set has been in some way or another a fitting tribute for the television show’s first few years, especially Season 1, where each story essentially alternates science fiction and pure historical with the occasional a la The Space Museum or The Edge of Destruction thrown in for good measure. Each episode even is given its own individual title as the first three seasons would often do, and they move directly one into the next, with The First Doctor Adventures: Volume Five even ending implying that there will be a volume six. This is also a range which has lost the novelty of having full cast First Doctor stories, which isn’t a bad thing, and was indicated by the previous volume including the Daleks in a sequel to the very first Dalek story. Volume Five goes back away from bringing back any returning elements, though the second story does take some cheeky nudges to future stories and events for the Doctor in particular, selling itself on two very interesting titles and the promise of a story with William Shakespeare and pairing a veteran writer with a new writer.
Children of the Stonesis a new podcast audio drama, produced by BaffleGab for BBC Radio 4, and based on a story first presented in the 1977 HTV television series, which starred a pre-Blakes’s 7 Gareth Thomas. Famously terrifying, it follows the story of the Brake family, a father and son who move to Milbury; a village famous for its prominent circle of standing stones. This new interpretation, from writers AK Benedict and Guy Adams, comprises ten episodes which vary in length from twelve to twenty-one minutes, and runs to just over two and a half hours. The bones of the tale remain as before; although the writers have shifted a few of the pieces around to suit more modern ears.
The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfieldis one of those Big Finish ranges which slips under the radar of quite a lot of people. Bernice Summerfield is one of those characters who has a big role in the greater Doctor Who universe, as the companion most associated with the Virgin New Adventures range of novels and the character which gave Big Finish Productions their start. Benny’s own range has been running since 1998 through eleven series of single releases and five box sets before being rebranded in a box set series of ‘New Adventures’; fitting considering where the character came from. The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield has been releasing one box set each year since 2014, with a small hiatus in 2018 to celebrate 20 years of Big Finish by reviving the classic range. 2016’s The Unbound Universe took Benny out of her universe while 2017’s Ruler of the Universe brought the character and the David Warner Doctor, right back into our universe. Now, two volumes later, Big Finish are finally dealing with the fallout in Lost in Translation, as Benny and the Doctor spend a set on the run from the Time Lords who have deemed the Doctor an aberration, unfit to exist.Continue reading →
Conversion ended with the Doctor abandoning his companions on the planet Callanna as he has an emotional breakdown. July’s Monthly Range release Time Apart shows the Doctor attempting to cope with the end of Conversion through for with mixed results, leaving August’s release to provide catharsis to this little arc. Thin Time and Madquake is a double feature which shows how each group apart from one another can come to terms with the events of Conversion, facing their own demons in their own stories. Dan Abnett (in a return to Big Finish in over a decade) and Guy Adams both tell character focused stories overcoming their own traumas and issues in their own way.
UNIT has been employed to handle security concerns at a new air filtration center that promises to help rid the planet of atmospheric pollution forever. The Third Doctor, Jo Grant, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, and Sergeant Benton arrive to lend their expertise (and hopefully their endorsement) as necessary despite the Doctor’s personal suspicions and the somewhat rude comments of the leading professor on the project. But something strange is going on behind the scenes hinted at when a strange battered man suddenly appears out of nowhere asking for help before dying right in front of them. It’s not long before the UNIT family discover a dark connection to a whole other planet filled with killer plants, oddly familiar robot men, and occupied by an old foe lurking in the shadows waiting to strike…..
Since 1989’s Survival there has always been a question of what exactly happened to Ace? She obviously didn’t appear in the TV Movie, and the expanded universe has had several explanations for what fate she underwent, ranging from death, to becoming Time’s Vigilante in Paris, and even entering the Academy on Gallifrey. Now in my personal opinion there is a way to reconcile all of these, the Time War does allow for separate fates, and now Big Finish has released Dark Universe. Continue reading →