The three episode format is one that Big Finish Productions has often neglected as a possibility for storytelling.The Monthly Range in the late 2000s experimented with splitting stories into 1 three part story and a single part story in releases like Exotron, The Wishing Beast, and The Death Collectors, but by the time Season 27’s scripts were adapted for audio, they were all presented as four episode stories.Now that Big Finish have moved to the box set model of three discs it was quite surprising that it took over a year to reinstate the three part stories with the Fifth Doctor Adventures taking the leap in Conflicts of Interest, still having three discs, but adjusting to this format addresses a major issue the Big Finish box set format has been suffering from.Three episodes essentially means two 90 minute stories, the episodes reaching approximately 30 minutes apiece, allowing both stories to have the breathing room to really explore the ideas John Dorney and Jonathan Barnes bring to the proceedings.These are technically both stories that could be told in the 1 hour format, but that extra 30 minutes allows the chance to slow down and broaden the focus in the best way.
Companions become just as much of a friend to the audience as they do to the Doctor, so seeing them return by having them reunited with Doctor after ages can be really refreshing and rewarding. However this concept is only going to really work if we have actually spent some time away from those characters, which with Big Finish is nigh on impossible because every companion is omnipresent there and you can find a new Peri audio just as much as you can a new Jamie story. Tegan and Ace returning to TV feels significant since they’ve not been seen for ages, but we have heard so many extended adventures with them so having them meet a later Doctor on audio doesn’t hit that spot. This is where we come to the main issue with Tenth Doctor, Classic Companions; it’s too much of a gimmick. Sure Classic Doctors, New Monsters is a gimmick but you can understand it more with the monsters than you can with the companions. This set feels like it exists solely to give Ten some stories with older companions as opposed to crafting interesting stories based around the way their relationships have changed, which doesn’t exactly make this an enticing listen. Continue reading →
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic making time feel incredibly compressed, it is now 2022, and with 2022 comes Big Finish Productions’ new format for release, something that had been slowly introduced throughout 2021. Everything’s a three-disc box set and the first release of the year, like the first release of 2021, is a celebratory anniversary set, this time celebrating Peter Davison’s 40th anniversary as the Fifth Doctor with the first of two box sets under the umbrella label Forty. The premise of what is essentially the Fifth Doctor’s consciousness being catapulted across his timeline in no particular order, both forwards and backwards from his second story, Four to Doomsday, to Season 20, and as the brief for the second set implies, Season 21. Unlike last year’s Masterful, Forty isn’t a single story, but a series of interconnected stories with this volume containing the four-part Secrets of Telos and the two-part God of War with the second not currently having all of its story details announced (only one story has a title, The Auton Infinity). The story arc of the sets doesn’t actually get close to an explanation, ending with the Doctor still being catapulted around his timeline. There is a nice thematic through-line for the first set with the Doctor being taken in the first story to a time after Earthshock where he finds out Adric’s fate while going back in the second story to several stories below the young companion’s demise meaning the Doctor has to face the fact that he knows where Adric is going and actively has to move him towards that fate.Continue reading →
The 2020 Monthly Range releases from July to October were initially announced as the yearly anthology release Time Apart, followed by a trilogy of Fifth Doctor stories: Thin Time/Madquake, The Lost Resort, and Perils and Nightmares. These releases were recorded, edited, and ready for release until the COVID-19 pandemic shut the world down and Big Finish Productions decided that one of these releases would not be suitable as it came too close to real world issues, so The Lost Resort and its follow up Perils and Nightmares were pulled from the release schedule, the other prepared main range releases The Flying Dutchman/Displaced was pulled ahead and plans were changed. So here we are, a year later and the pandemic while still ravaging the world, has an endpoint in sight with the development of the vaccines, Big Finish have released these three stories as a box set, capitalising on the idea of it as a continuation of the early 1980s era of Doctor Who in the wonderful video trailer as The Lost Resort and Other Stories.Continue reading →
What made the first two instalments of The War Master work incredibly well was the decision to have the Master acting as a background character, working his scheme and influencing people to do things that seem to be good before things fall right apart at the end and it turns out the Master’s been in control all along. Killing Time, the sixth installment (though the fifth to be recorded, switched due to the COVID-19 pandemic) places the Master on the Stagnant Protocol. The planet is one that is out of the way and only noticed when people think that it can be taken over for its own gain. Currently there is a viral plague which the government has been inefficiently handling allowing for a new empress to take power with the Master working from behind the scenes. Now, this series was recorded in 2019 before the COVID-19 virus even existed, yet James Goss and Lou Morgan, in writing a science fiction set where the government doesn’t take the plague seriously, and the scientists are trying desperately to find a cure to the variants. In the behind the scenes interviews, the absurdism of Goss and Morgan’s premises for these episodes, as they weren’t expecting a global pandemic to take the world into one where the situation of the Stagnant Protocol is one that we now all know far too well. Even more coincidentally, this isn’t the only time this happened for Big Finish, two main range releases were delayed for similar reasons.
THE DOCTORS: HEROES AND VILLAINS is a newly filmed DVD release set of interviews with the team of actors who brought the heroes and villains in Doctor Who to life and sent you ‘behind the sofa’! This production is distributed Koch Media; the company behind Doctor Who spin-offs such as Wartime (starring John Levene) and the Mindgame Saga (starring Sophie Aldred).
“For all Doctor Who fans, this 2-disc special collector’s edition is 5 hours of pure nostalgia, which will give you a whole new insight into the making of your favourite science fiction series!”