Review: Doctor Who – The 11th Doctor Chronicles (Volume 2)

Review by Jacob Licklider


The ‘Doctor Chronicles’ is one of those ranges that exists out of necessity, despite what certain corners of social media would have you believe. With the acquisition of the Doctor Who license up to Twice Upon a Time, but only David Tennant officially coming back to the role of the Doctor (and even then not as much as Big Finish would like due to his busy schedule), the types of stories with New Series characters that could be told became limited. Essentially there had to be spin-offs such as Torchwood and The Paternoster Gang, or Short Trips like The Jago and Litefoot Revival. But with The Companion Chronicles being one of Big Finish’s more highly acclaimed ranges, adapting the format to the Ninth through Twelfth Doctors with one narrator and one guest, beginning release in 2017. After one release for each Doctor, the BBC intervened and suggested that the series move away from the initial format and into a full-cast audio format, making this range the only full-cast adventures for the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors (as Eccleston has returned to the role and Tennant has increased his output). This change begins with The Eleventh Doctor Chronicles: Volume Two which stars Jacob Dudman in the role as the Doctor. While Big Finish use Dudman for the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Doctors it is actually his Eleventh where his performance excels. Throughout this set he captures the voice of Matt Smith’s portrayal, while adding a depth that many of Smith’s episodes seemed to lack, an emotional core rarely seen during that period of the Moffat era. Each of these stories are set in between The Angels Take Manhattan and The Snowmen, and there is this something that Dudman can coax out of the character, it was seen here and in his cameo in Thin Time/Madquake last year. It is also perhaps important to note that this review is coming from the perspective of someone who is not the biggest fan of the Eleventh Doctor.

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Review: Doctor Who – The Lost Resort and Other Stories

Review by Jacob Licklider


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

Review: Doctor Who – The Eleven

Review by Jacob Licklider


There is often a complaint from Big Finish Productions that there are characters whom they put at one point before bringing them back making them confusing. The Eleven is one such character, being introduced in Doom Coalition as a Time Lord whose previous regenerations are still living in his consciousness before appearing through the Eighth Doctor box sets to the end of Ravenous, and being brought back with other Doctors. They appeared in The Legacy of Time, Dark Universe, and the Time War box sets, though often in past and future incarnations, and the latest release is The Eleven, a three-episode box set where the Sixth Doctor and Constance Clarke encounter the Eleven on the planet Molaruss. Like any of the new Big Finish box sets which have been successful, it’s essentially a three hour miniseries chronicling the Eleven’s rise and fall from power. Setting up a box set as a miniseries of connected stories flowing from one to the next is a brilliant setup as it allows an avoidance of a lot of the issues of one hour stories not living up to their full potential, and in The Eleven each installment manages to tackle different things involving generally small casts of characters going from each scenario to the next.

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Review: Torchwood – Empire of Shadows

Review by Michael Goleniewski


Big Finish’s Torchwood Monthly Range is no stranger to taking deep cuts from Whoniverse canon. Within the span of its range, it’s made Tom Price’s PC Andy one of the most developed characters in the series, saw Murray Melvin’s Bilis Manger return to cause more chaos in several creepy adventures, and even threw a weird trilogy of Queen Victorian stories together that turned out to be some of the best of its respective canon. But Empire of Shadows’ is aiming to take the biggest stab of all at time of writing, bringing back a well-liked but not particularly noteworthy character from the biggest (and best) two-parter from ‘Doctor Who Series 2’, Captain Zachary Cross Flane, for a sci-fi conspiracy thriller involving the death of royalty and a potential opportunity for Torchwood to regain its influence on the Earth Empire….

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Review: Phillip Hinchcliffe Presents – The God Of Phantoms

Review by Jacob Licklider


Philip Hinchcliffe Presents is a Big Finish range that is tangentially related to The Lost Stories in that it is a range from the mind of a previous writer doing stories that fit in line with that era of the television show, but not actual ideas which were ever proposed. Philip Hinchcliffe, enjoying the work done adapting his lost story The Valley of Death, began to work with Marc Platt to produce his ideas, alternating a six and four part story. Four stories were released across three releases between 2014 and 2017, so imagine the surprise when a fourth release was announced for August 2021. As described in the behind the scenes interviews, The God of Phantoms is a story that just came to Hinchcliffe and has been in development at Big Finish for a while as Platt worked and reworked the outline into a usable form. Recording actually happened in February of this year, not too long before it was officially announced, and like any Philip Hinchcliffe Presents release is one focused squarely on mixing gothic horror and science fiction. While the range itself has been incredibly varied with stories like The Ghosts of Gralstead and The Devil’s Armada being classic horror and The Genesis Chamber being more straight science fiction, The God of Phantoms actually most feels like a story produced by Hinchcliffe’s successor Graham Williams in The Stones of Blood.

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Review: Doctor Who – Early Adventures (Series 7)

Review by Jacob Licklider


It is always a special day when Big Finish Productions revives a range previously thought ended. The Lost Stories easily come to mind over the past few years having two series of previously unseen stories released over the last three years, and after another near two year break The Early Adventures returns for a seventh series of two releases celebrating the William Hartnell era of the show. This year also perhaps went in a different direction in connecting both stories as a sequel and a prequel to 1960s stories, the first giving the audience an idea of what happened to Susan immediately after The Dalek Invasion of Earth while the other shows just how the Doctor acquired the Holy Ghanta seen in The Abominable Snowmen. Like Series 6 of The Early Adventures each story is told at different ends of the First Doctor’s life, the first being right near the beginning of his travels while the second being right near the end with his last regular TARDIS team, both focusing deeply on the companions and their time with the Doctor and just what it means to be a companion in these early days of Doctor Who and how that role has changed over the years.


The first release is After the Daleks by Roland Moore and is odd for a release in that it doesn’t feature the Doctor. Set in the immediate aftermath of The Dalek Invasion of Earth, just as the TARDIS has dematerialised and Susan has dropped her key to the TARDIS. As the title implies it’s all about how humanity can pick up the pieces after the Dalek forces have all been defeated, and despite having a Dalek emblazoned on the cover, they don’t actually play an active role in the plot. The entire story is focused directly on humanity and what the Daleks have left behind: Susan is finding her equilibrium in the decision that her grandfather made for her, Jenny Chaplin has found her robotised brother and is attempting to save his life, and David is trying to get some sort of government. The Daleks are a threat which could always be coming back and there is a single Dalek left alive, immobilised, planning and scheming to find a way to retake the Earth.

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Review: Doctor Who – Respond To All Calls

Review by Jacob Licklider


“The big drawback here is that there is a lot more they could do as playing it safe on a release which was sure to sell left the listeners wanting more. Still, go and give this a listen just to hear a Doctor we haven’t heard from in over 15 years as there’s still the standard Big Finish charm.”

This is how I closed my review for Ravagers, the first volume of Ninth Doctor Adventures from Big Finish productions which was enjoyable, but had the problem of playing it far too safe, a trend Big Finish continued when David Tennant began recording audio dramas. This second volume, Respond to All Calls, is immediately in stark contrast as it does anything else but be safe, telling three tales unconnected by plot, but deeply connected by the theme. The title of the set is important here: ‘Respond to All Calls’. The Ninth Doctor is fresh from the Time War and in each of the three stories the TARDIS essentially drags the Doctor into the situation, further expanded upon by the video trailer showing the TARDIS broken, but coming back to life. This does not occur literally in the set and is used as a metaphor for the Doctor becoming the Doctor again, which was the essential drive of Eccleston’s series on television. The set is three episodes from three vastly different writers all doing something to bring the Doctor back to being the Doctor before he meets Rose and can actually begin the full process of healing from the Time War.

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‘Sherlock’ actress Una Stubbs passes away aged 84

The BBC is reporting that Actress Una Stubbs, known for her roles in TV shows like Worzel Gummidge, Till Death Us Do Part, BBC’s Sherlock and EastEnders, has died at the age of 84.

Stubbs found fame in the 1960s, appearing in films like Sir Cliff Richard’s Summer Holiday, and remained one of the UK’s best-loved screen stars.

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Audio Review: Blake’s 7 – The Palluma Project

Review by Ian McArdell


The Palluma Project is the latest Blake’s 7 audiobook from Big Finish. Set in early Series B, it tells the story of a secretive Federation base and its off-book project which Blake and the Liberator’s crew stumble into. Continue reading

Review: The War Master – Killing Time

Review by Jacob Licklider


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.

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