Written by Doctor Squee (Host of Gallifrey Stands Podcast)
The following review contains mild spoilers!!!
Anyone might have had the idea to put 4 new monsters with Doctors from the classic series, but only Big Finish would bring together the best writers, actors and producers with the best music score to bring it to life. The pairings of Doctor to monster are pitch perfect too and it shows they thought this through.
The Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison) was always a methodical, thoughtful character. So who better to put in a suspenseful psychological tale with the Weeping Angels?
The Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker), always had a flare for the dramatic and was upon occasion familiar with the inside of a court room, so who better to put in a courtroom drama with a Judoon who is somehow gaining humanity.
The Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) seemed to always battle larger than life foes and use their seriousness against them, thus making him the perfect spur to the Sycorax.
And as the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) is in the midst of the time war, trying to remain the Doctor, doesn’t it make sense that an encounter with the relentlessly warlike Sontarans might just push him closer to making the choice to become the War Doctor?
The guest star power in these adventures makes for a cast to die for.
As well as Dan Starkey popping up in every story in a variety of roles (yes as a Sontaran amongst them) which he performs with relish. You also have Matthew Kelly (Stars in their Eyes), Diane Morgan (Alan Partridge), Christopher Ryan (Doctor Who), Nisha Nayar (Doctor Who) and so many more great performers acting their pantaloons off!
Even any concerns about how some monsters might translate to audio are niftily quelled. For instance, Ben from the Indie Mac User team was concerned how the Weeping Angels might do without their scary appearance, but instead as in all their best stories the writers concentrate on their more psychologically scary side with building tension and fear amongst the characters and musical cues that also help ramp up the tension.
I was wondering how the Judoon could be given new life when their character is purposely quite one dimensional (the letter of the law must be followed, that’s it); but they give us a Judoon with depth and layers that gives the traditional Judoon in the story something wonderful to play off.
Finally I just want to give a nod to the fantastic writing. With writers who have proven track records in Doctor Who like James Goss (currently helming the Torchwood audios), Andrew Smith (Full Circle on TV as well as many an audio for Big Finish), Phil Mulryne (Big Finish writer and actor) and Simon Barnard & Paul Morris (Big Finish writing duo from Doctor Who and many other ranges) you know you are in safe and experienced hands.
It’s great to see classic and new Who meet like this and further strengthen the stitches between what has always really been one show for the fans. I was wondering if we would see the introduction of any of these foes first meeting the Doctor, but so far the Doctors have already met all the monsters they are meeting in this set, which leaves it open for earlier as well as later encounters. It will be interesting to see who the next wave of new monsters to come up against the classic Doctors will be. I can’t wait for the next set, which is already listed on the Big Finish website.
Order your copy of Classic Doctors, New Monsters volume one here.
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