Review: Doctor Who Interludes – The Dream Nexus

Review by Jacob Licklider


The Interludes range is the newest addition to Big Finish Productions’ Doctor Who output, released exclusively to the website with specific releases (currently the first yearly release of the Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Doctor Adventures), and seem to be yet another chance to bring in new talent by giving them a trial hour long audiobook featuring the Fifth, Sixth, or Seventh Doctor. The inaugural release was I, Kamelion allowing Dominic G. Martin a story, and the second released with The Sixth Doctor Adventures: Water Worlds from Adam Christopher, a New Zealand writer who has also written for the Star Wars expanded media. The Dream Nexus is very much a novella style audiobook set in between The Tides of the Moon and Maelstrom, which was honestly a surprise. The expectation wasn’t that it would be a continuation of the box set, but for The Dream Nexus it really works to continue what made Water Worlds work in exploring the team dynamic of this TARDIS team. Christopher’s story perhaps suffers most from being limited to a single hour as this is a story which almost needs the full novel length to really do anything conclusive with its plot as it feels as if things finish just as the story gets going. Continue reading

Review: The Sixth Doctor Adventures – Water Worlds

Review by Jacob Licklider


Disability in Doctor Who has never been it’s strong suit. Perhaps the most prominent disabled character has been Davros, a genocidal maniac who created the Daleks, aka space Nazis whose purpose is exterminating all other life. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s there was a streak of characters with physical disfigurements as a mark of villainy, though by 1989 there was some small instances of complexity with disabled characters in Battlefield and The Curse of Fenric while the New Series has been mostly neutral in disability representation with some exceptions (Under the Lake/Before the Flood comes to mind for deaf representation). Oddly enough the 1960s were more progressive than much of the 1970s and 1980s with serials like Galaxy Four where the monstrous Rills being the good guys and The Dalek Invasion of Earth including a good scientist in a wheelchair who dies at about the halfway point of that story. So, here we are in 2022, and Big Finish Productions are once again making a push ahead of television series in terms of representation by introducing the first disabled Doctor Who companion in Dr. Hebe Harrison in The Sixth Doctor Adventures: Water Worlds, a marine biologist who uses a wheelchair. Like their push with trans representation in Rebecca Root’s Tania Bell, Hebe is played by disabled actress Ruth Madeley and producer Jacqueline Rayner worked closely with Madeley to ensure all three scripts from this set reflected disability representation well.

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Review: The War Doctor Begins – Battlegrounds

Review by Jacob Licklider


Perhaps one aspect of The War Doctor Begins I have found myself undervaluing is the format. While the first set is a three episode miniseries about the immediate aftermath of the regeneration of the Eighth Doctor, the second established itself as its own self-contained miniseries, though early in the War Doctor’s life. Battlegrounds, the third set in the series, follows this pattern as well cementing the fact that this range isn’t going to be an actual miniseries, but four sets exploring early parts of the character’s life. This third set has the linking theme of exploring war and the various battlegrounds war is waged upon: physical, mental, and spiritual. Three scripts from three stylistically different writers each tacking a different type of battleground makes The War Doctor Begins: Battlegrounds three episodes with very different tones and a focus on character pieces above everything else which keeps the link strong, but each of the stories can find themselves separate. The other link throughout the stories is the directing from Louise Jameson, who should be singled out for being responsible for how The War Doctor Begins sounds. Her directorial style is distinct and steeps the sets in this almost ethereal atmosphere where things feel ever so slightly out of phase to give the Time War this mythical quality.

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Review: The Ninth Doctor Adventures – Back To Earth

Review by Jacob Licklider


Old Friends ended the first series of Ninth Doctor Adventures with a genuinely brilliant series finale that felt like a lead in to Rose, something my review of that set had some pushback since it had already been announced that Series 2 would essentially be continuing where Series 1 left off with the Ninth Doctor still travelling alone. Now Series 1 spent quite a bit of time developing the idea that this was one continuous series, including by designing the covers to mimic the single DVD releases of Series 1 of the show. Series 2 seems to be less a full series with a central character arc for the Ninth Doctor and more of a series of themed box sets with new styles of cover art, this first one being from the wonderful Caroline Tankersley, with the theme of going Back to Earth. It’s three stories set at various points in Earth’s history, mainly in the past ranging from the early 17th century to the early 1990s, with one story having some pieces in the modern day, but not really. All three of the authors here do an excellent job of taking their piece of Earth and doing something interesting with it, overcoming my initial hesitation of going into a set not really following up the character development of the Ninth Doctor within the first few minutes of the first story.

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Review: The Companion Chronicles – The Second Doctor (Vol 3)

Review by Jacob Licklider


The Companion Chronicles have the distinction of being the second longest and consistently running Doctor Who range at Big Finish Productions. They began in 2007 and released several single releases to 2014 before switching to yearly boxsets between 2015 and 2019. A box set was announced for release in June 2020, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Second Doctor: Volume Three was plagued with production delays, finally having production finish in late 2021 for release in 2022. Among this rumours spread that the Companion Chronicles would be ending with this volume which have not yet been confirmed, though there is some contradictory evidence of actors mentioning recording a release which hasn’t been announced while higher ups mentioning that this would be the final installment in the range.If this truly is to be the final release of the range (and I truly hope it isn’t) it is a stellar release for the range to go out on, finding creative ways to explore the entirety of the Second Doctor’s era and not limit itself to the Companion Chronicles’ two-hander format as it’s rumoured Big Finish will be taking the range towards a more full cast approach if it is to continue.

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Review: Doctor Who – Stranded 4

Review by Jacob Licklider


Just over one year ago, in March 2021, the Main Range ended from Big Finish Productions as the box set format took root before being firmly established for 2022. Now, one other long running institution from Big Finish Productions is at an end, the 16 part, four disc set, Eighth Doctor miniseries which has been the format of Eighth Doctor releases for nearly a decade. Dark Eyes, Doom Coalition, Ravenous, and Stranded have all been released to acclaim and here we are with Stranded 4, the final set in this style.

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Review: Doctor Who – Mind Of The Hodiac

Review by Jacob Licklider


There isn’t often the opportunity to see some of the first work of an author that has gone on to make an impact. Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson had both early works published in some form (Jordan’s being published by hid wife and Sanderson publishing a first draft as a Kickstarter reward), yet with Big Finish it’s almost surprising that something like Mind of the Hodiac hasn’t happened sooner. Russell T. Davies found the initial script for Part One and storyline for Part Two in a box in 2020 when Emily Cook was doing the Lockdown watch-alongs on Twitter which he wrote at some point between 1986 and 1987 before even making it into TV, the first script he sent to the Doctor Who Production Office which was, of course, rejected. In finding the script, pictures were posted on Twitter of some of the pages as a treat and in Davies’ mind that was the end of that. But then Scott Handcock, director and writer for Big Finish, contacted Davies with Emily Cook in tow as one of the newer producers to acquire a copy of the script (apparently physically and not just scanned into a computer if the behind the scenes interviews are correct in its implication). Continue reading

Review: The Fourth Doctor Adventures – Solo

Review by Jacob Licklider


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Audio Review: The Worlds of Blake’s 7 – Bayban the Butcher: Bayban Ascending

Review by Ian McArdell


Bayban Ascending is the latest tie-in audiobook release for The Worlds of Blake’s 7, Big Finish’s spin-off range exploring wider elements in the Federation universe. While born of necessity, due to the sad passing of a number of core cast members, the range has opened up all sorts of interesting stories away from the Liberator.978-1-83868-607

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Review: Doctor Who – The 8th Of March: Protectors of Time

Review by Jacob Licklider


The Eighth of March was a special release on International Women’s Day 2019 to celebrate the female characters of Doctor Who, essentially serving as example episodes for various series from (mostly new) female writers: The Paternoster Gang, The Diary of River Song, UNIT, and a story set in the Virgin New Adventures. Here we are, three years later and for International Women’s Day 2022, a three disc follow up has been released in the form of The Eighth of March: Prisoners of Time, exploring Lady Christina, Jenny: The Doctor’s Daughter, a Romana spin-off, and a tribute to The Sarah Jane Adventures with two new writers, Abigail Burdess and Nina Millns and an opening story from Lizbeth Myles (who has been contributing to Big Finish since 2014). Like the previous box set, this is an incredibly versatile set as the only real brief is that there is a female lead and it is set in the Doctor Who universe, giving the writers free rein on what they wish to play with. There also are two female directors assigned to this release, Louise Jameson tackling the first episode while Helen Goldwyn directs the other two, both bringing their distinct style to give each story its own flair.

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