Review by Jacob Licklider
When Torchwood was first conceived as an arc for Series 2 of Doctor Who it was established in universe by Queen Victoria, so having Big Finish Productions producing a series of audio dramas based on Torchwood, doing releases with Queen Victoria as a prominent character is a given. Big Finish Productions cast Rowena Cooper in the role; and several monthly range releases, and an appearance in The Torchwood Archive established her as the definitive Queen Victoria. The final Torchwood monthly range release for 2020 is The Crown which is promoted with a striking image of Her Majesty, Queen Victoria in a straitjacket and padded cell with a skeleton looming. This image, combined with a vague product description, can only lead a potential listener to buy this on intrigue.
Review by Jacob Licklider
The War Master since its inception in 2017, has become one of Big Finish Productions’ most consistent ranges, with three of the four previous sets being released to critical acclaim with only one falling short. The range has been characterised by an exploration of darker themes throughout the Time War, giving Derek Jacobi one of the darkest incarnations of the Master to portray and explore. War is the prominent theme and how war changes people and planets, the hopelessness associated with a war to end all wars such as the Time War, and the atrocities which arise from two societies being pushed to their limit. The audio format is perfect for this type of story as it allows the cast and crew to go as dark as possible, using the power of suggestion to depict such atrocities and the listener’s mind is responsible for the gruesome images, all the while never having to restrict themselves to an adult only audience. These types of stories were best explored by the first, third, and fourth sets, while the fifth sets, Hearts of Darkness, instead decides to focus in on how the war is most effecting the two Time Lords set to survive the Time War, the Doctor, here played by Paul McGann, and, of course, the Master. Keeping the established format of four stories written by two authors, in this case David Llewellyn and Lisa McMullin, telling a linked tale over the four-hour period. Unlike previous sets, Hearts of Darkness employs several plot twists which recontextualises what has come before in the set, making it near impossible to separate each episode from one another. Things change, and like any good story, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Continue reading
Review by Doctor Squee (Host of Gallifrey Stands Podcast)
It’s another moment when Big Finish find something new to do you never would have thought of and you suddenly realise it’s what you never knew you always wanted.
Since they have gone down the road of ‘The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield’ it’s been great to see the Doctor paired with Bernice and how they have managed to keep Bernice as the central character without lessening the Doctor. But to then throw in a whole new universe from a range that hasn’t had a release in 8 years, it’s both insane and genius!
“This really feels like an ambitious collection of stories that each work on their own but also feel like part of one bigger story that doesn’t get lost in the mix. The whole cast and crew behind this story are on their A game to say the least.”