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: Bernice Summerfield – The Slender-Fingered Cats of Bubastis

Review by Jacob Licklider


The Slender-Fingered Cats of Bubastis is the second Bernice Summerfield audiobook to be released this year, as well as the final audiobook to be announced this year for the range. It is the debut novel of Xanna Eve Chown who would go on to be the editor and producer of the Big Finish books and many of the audiobooks, including all of the Bernice Summerfield audiobooks. Her first effort is a near perfect example of Big Finish recruiting new talent, despite some short stories, this novel is an utter delight. Chown doesn’t quite cross the line into farce, but integrates farcical elements incredibly well with a setting going back to Benny’s archeological roots while integrating a plot by her companion Jack who promises a publisher a book of poetry which has already been featured in a library which includes books from the future projected back into the past. The planet Bubastis has several categories of religious thought on the stone cats, each with eleven fingers on their hands while new age archeologist Prof. Neon Tsara has a fanatical devotion to the number 23, and the “fact” that one of the cats has twenty three fingers (23 rules this woman’s life).

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Audio Review: The Worlds of Blake’s 7 – The Terra Nostra

Review by Ian McArdell


The Terra Nostra returns us to the criminal organisation first glimpsed in the Blake’s 7 episode Shadow, for a set of stories in the shady underworld of the Federation. Taking their inspiration from the Mafia, the Terra Nostra seemingly stretched throughout the galaxy and it was heavily implied that they existed as a form of Federation soft power within the criminal classes. This boxset also draws together strands from the previous two in The Worlds of Blake’s 7, The Clone Masters and Bayban the Butcher – notably the story of the psycho-strategist Hinton. Continue reading

Review: Bernice Summerfield – The Weather on Versimmon

Review by Jacob Licklider


As The Two Jasons was brought forward from its initial January 2022 to October 2021, Big Finish Productions commissioned two further Bernice Summerfield audiobooks to replace that slot plus an additional slot for February 2022. The January slot was taken by The Weather on Versimmon by Matthew Griffiths, a novel released during the box set era of the Bernice Summerfield range to coincide with the release of Road Trip, the second box set. Luckily, unlike the initial five Bernice Summerfield novels, while plot points are referenced, but not integral to understanding that box set or the events of this book. This is essential as I have not heard any of the box sets yet. The plot sees Benny with Ruth searching for her son Peter who has gone missing. They find themselves on the planet Versimmon which is essentially a world of ecological artists, but the weather seems to be going haywire. There’s a hailstorm as climate change begins to ravage the planet for reasons that nobody is entirely sure of why as fauna has begun to join the flora.

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Audio Review: The Worlds of Blake’s 7 – The Clone Masters

Review by Ian McArdell


The Clone Masters once again takes a step away from the Liberator, providing another angle on The Worlds of Blake’s 7. Despite being framed as a spin-off, it actually stars two Blake’s 7 regulars, Sally Knyvette (Jenna) and Jan Chappell (Cally), and well as the recurring menace(s) of Travis in two aspects, as played by Brian Croucher and Stephen Greif.

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Review: Bernice Summerfied – The Two Jasons

Review by Jacob Licklider


Before we continue with this review for The Two Jasons, a little warning. This book deals with the fallout of the events of Series 8 of the Bernice Summerfield single releases and as such those spoilers must be discussed as well as certain plot threads from the Virgin New Adventures, mainly Death and Diplomacy and Happy Endings. If you have not listened to or read those stories, please be careful reading ahead as there will be spoilers in this review for those story arcs. It’s also a release with adult themes as it is a Benny book outside of her Doctor Who Big Finish audios so isn’t quite as family friendly. Continue reading

Review – Jago & Litefoot: Series 14

Review by Jacob Licklider


This review (a week late….) is going to be a bit different from the other reviews I’ve written for this site. Other reviews often go into the performances and a bit of the plot and makes a judgment based on that, however, Jago & Litefoot: Series 14 is a release that shouldn’t necessarily be looked at like a standard release, being presented as four audiobooks adapted from the scripts of an unrecorded Jago & Litefoot written before the tragic passing of Trevor Baxter. It is Baxter to whom this release is dedicated, giving the series one last hurrah and allowing four of the remaining stars one final chance to shine telling a story. Paul Morris and Julian Richards were put in charge of adapting the scripts into audiobook format for one narrator, originally with the idea being only one long audiobook, but due to the second episode being told in the first person while the other three are in third person limited. This format shift in one long audiobook would have been jarring. It also allowed Morris the chance to adapt the scripts which he had a hand in writing so the adaptation could be a bit smoother as Simon Barnard, Jonathan Barnes, and Justin Richards had no hand in changing their scripts for the project.

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Review: Torchwood – Drive

Review by Jacob Licklider


When adapting Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet for the modern day, Steven Moffat noticed that everyone trusts a cabbie.  They’re paid to take you from point A to point B, putting up with your terrible drunkenness and your insults.  Torchwood: Drive by David Llewellyn uses the back of a cab as its primary setting with Toshiko Sato on her own with the rest of Torchwood Three off on other missions leaving Tosh in charge of saving the world.

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Review: Bernice Summerfield – Tree of Life

Review by Jacob Licklider


Continuing Big Finish’s re-releases of out of print Bernice Summerfield novels on audiobook is The Tree of Life.  Continue reading

Review: Bernice Summerfield – The Big Hunt

Review by Jacob Licklider


Over the past two years, Big Finish Productions have been rereleasing their out of print Bernice Summerfield books as audiobook readings for the low price of $10 a book with the first five full length novels already being released (interestingly they haven’t done any of the anthologies or novella collections yet). A surprise December 2020 announcement gave listeners the opportunity to add three new Benny books to their audiobook collections: The Big Hunt, The Tree of Life, and The Two Jasons, all set for release in 2021 and 2022. The Big Hunt by Lance Parkin leads these audiobooks, released this month and available for download right now. Now, it is important to note that this is not a new release, nothing has been changed from the text of the 2005 book release, just put into an audiobook reading with Benny herself, Lisa Bowerman. Perhaps listeners were spoiled by Terror of the Master in Masterful, but going from that right into The Big Hunt, the lack of music and sound effects in the audiobook may detract. Potential listeners shouldn’t go in expecting them in any way as this is a release. The Big Finish website shows this as being recorded completely remotely in November and December which is confirmed by the included Q&A. Bowerman, as always, is an excellent narrator using her impressive range to bring to life several characters, only one of which actually appeared previously (that being Benny).

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