Season 6B is something of a controversial subject amongst fans; many like the use of the Doctor as a Gallifreyian agent being part of his punishment prior to regeneration while others see it as undermining the very effective and emotional ending of The War Games (a personal favourite of the regeneration stories, narrowly beaten by Logopolis). Personally I’m relatively indifferent to Season 6B since, or at least until this boxset, it was something that just seemed slightly lame. But now I must admit I am fully sold on telling stories during this sub-season since Beyond War Games is shockingly compelling and some of the best Second Doctor material Big Finish have published in a long long time; not since The Black Hole have I been this enthusiastic about dedicated releases from one of my favourite Doctors.
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.
British actor Stewart Bevan, best known for his performances in both film and television has died aged 73.
His extensive career include the films Brannigan (1975), The Ghoul (1975), House of Mortal Sin (1976), Ivanhoe (1982), Chromophobia (2005) and The Scouting Book for Boys (2009) while on television, he is best known for playing Clifford Jones in Doctor Who (1973) and Ray Oswell in Emmerdale (1977).
The Third Doctor Adventures for 2021 were announced as two sets exploring essentially every part of the Third Doctor’s run; with Volume 7 exploring the Season 7 team and the space faring version of the Third Doctor during the later half of Season 11, and now we have Volume 8 exploring the Doctor and Jo as well as a UNIT story post-The Three Doctors which much like The Time Warrior and Planet of the Spiders. Volume 8 takes two very different stories and makes them work together in a package much like Volume 7 had to do with The Unzal Incursion and The Gulf.
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.
“I am usually referred to as the Master…universally.”
This immortal line, first aired 50 years ago, introduced Doctor Who fans to Roger Delgado and the Doctor’s arch enemy the Master. And now, to celebrate this momentous occasion, Big Finish Productions has brought together all surviving TV incarnations of the Master and a host of others for a three hour audio drama, ‘Masterful’. Released 50 years to the day of Episode One of ‘Terror of the Autons‘, there are two editions of this release; the standard three disc edition and the limited eight disc edition which contains a disc of bonus features, an original audiobook by Trevor Baxendale, and two previously released Short Trips. This review is only looking at Masterful the story (see our Terror of the Master review here) So, should you buy Masterful? Short answer, yes, of course you should, James Goss provides three hours with a brilliant cast pitting Master against Master, playing to each incarnation’s strengths and giving listeners a real treat to see how dysfunctional each incarnation can be when forced to cooperate. Continue reading →
UNIT has been employed to handle security concerns at a new air filtration center that promises to help rid the planet of atmospheric pollution forever. The Third Doctor, Jo Grant, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, and Sergeant Benton arrive to lend their expertise (and hopefully their endorsement) as necessary despite the Doctor’s personal suspicions and the somewhat rude comments of the leading professor on the project. But something strange is going on behind the scenes hinted at when a strange battered man suddenly appears out of nowhere asking for help before dying right in front of them. It’s not long before the UNIT family discover a dark connection to a whole other planet filled with killer plants, oddly familiar robot men, and occupied by an old foe lurking in the shadows waiting to strike…..
The Third Doctor Adventures range has always been a very strong one boasting many memorable stories under its belt. Volume 5, however, is a particularly exciting one as for the first time we not only have an actor taking over the voice of the Third Doctor but also a new actor to play Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart and a new actress for the role of Liz Shaw after the passing of Nicholas Courtney and Caroline John in recent years.