Review by Doctor Squee (Host of Gallifrey Stands Podcast)
Escape from Kaldor by Matt Fitton
The Doctor takes Liv home to catch up with her sister Tula (Claire Rushbrook), which Liv isn’t in a hurry to do. As she deals with her past, the now usually peaceful robots of Kaldor from the Doctors past, more resemble the Robots of Death he met before.
This is a really nice Liv centric story with an equally satisfying classic Who style Robots gone bad story and one of mans greed and selfishness causing destruction. We get to fill in a bit of what happened in Liv’s past and with her Dad and Sister and she is forced to confront things from someone else’s perspective. This gives a perfect role for Helen to play guiding Liv toward listening to her sister when she doesn’t want to, freeing up the Doctor to confront the Robot problem, which also forces Liv and her sister to work together to get through it. A really tight story by Fitton.
Better Watch Out & Fairytale of Salzburg by John Dorney
In this 2-part adventure the Doctor and friends find themselves in Salzburg where they hear tale of local myth the Krampus and St Nick and their competition for the soles of humanity. But when the mythical Krampus becomes all too real, will anyone stay off the naughty list?This is a Christmas story for Doctor Who like no other. Coming in, in October, just later enough in the year to loosely get away with it. It’s great when someone finds an unexplored part of the mythologies around the festive period so they don’t tread on anything Doctor Who on TV or audio has done before. But of course you still need an engaging story and Dorney’s script gives that too. He throws in a family being evicted at Christmas by an evil landlord who becomes an emotional drive for the story and the Krampus is such a good festive bad guy and they bring him to life with great effect.
Seizure by Guy Adams
As in the prior boxset, the final story brings us up against the titular Ravenous. The Eleven (Mark Bonner) puts out a destress call to the Doctor, who against his companion’s better judgement he feels compelled to still answer lest he becomes what he hates. When they get stuck on a dying Tardis who is screaming in the Doctors head in pain and they find themselves split the Doctor & Helen with the Ravenous and Liv with the mysterious Jaxa (Pippa Haywood), all persued by the Ravenous out to feast on them, they may regret coming.
At last, the Ravenous in action and another wonderful Eleven story. He is a great addition to the Doctors rogues gallery of foes from his home planet. Like the Master Evil, like the Rani he has brains, but he has a wild lack of control that makes him the ultimate wild card. He will do the wrong thing, but the question is how? This story like all of them also shows the faith the 8th Doctor has in his companions. Yes, he is there when they need him but he is often separated from them and he knows they can work through problems without him sometimes. Something I feel we are seeing in Doctor Who on TV right now.
Each of these stories are wonderfully written and a perfect fit for this Tardis crew as well as well directed by Ken Bentley and cast. My only slight qualm, as with the last set is calling a set after a monster we only hear from in the last story. That isn’t a bad thing to do, but why not just make these the “8th Doctor adventures” if you aren’t going to go for a theme throughout. With Charlotte Pollard we had a running theme but lots of stand alone stories and this feels more like that than say “Dark Eyes” which followed a theme. A wonderful set, just a misleading title. Unless they are playing a long game where these seemingly unrelated stories turn out to be connected into the theme. If so, I’ll take this back later. Either way, this set is still one to buy. Put it on your list and check it twice. 8/10.
And buy it you can now, on CD or Download here https://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/ravenous-2-1798