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.

Continue reading

Review: Doctor Who – Forty

Review by Jacob Licklider


Despite the COVID-19 pandemic making time feel incredibly compressed, it is now 2022, and with 2022 comes Big Finish Productions’ new format for release, something that had been slowly introduced throughout 2021. Everything’s a three-disc box set and the first release of the year, like the first release of 2021, is a celebratory anniversary set, this time celebrating Peter Davison’s 40th anniversary as the Fifth Doctor with the first of two box sets under the umbrella label Forty. The premise of what is essentially the Fifth Doctor’s consciousness being catapulted across his timeline in no particular order, both forwards and backwards from his second story, Four to Doomsday, to Season 20, and as the brief for the second set implies, Season 21. Unlike last year’s Masterful, Forty isn’t a single story, but a series of interconnected stories with this volume containing the four-part Secrets of Telos and the two-part God of War with the second not currently having all of its story details announced (only one story has a title, The Auton Infinity). The story arc of the sets doesn’t actually get close to an explanation, ending with the Doctor still being catapulted around his timeline. There is a nice thematic through-line for the first set with the Doctor being taken in the first story to a time after Earthshock where he finds out Adric’s fate while going back in the second story to several stories below the young companion’s demise meaning the Doctor has to face the fact that he knows where Adric is going and actively has to move him towards that fate. Continue reading

Review: The Year of Martha Jones

Review byJacob Licklider


 

The Year of Martha Jones is the third Big Finish Box Set spin-off featuring a companion from Russell T. Davies’ run as Doctor Who’s showrunner. Recorded in February 2020, but not released until December 2021, this release was a long time coming, having been leaked on performer’s online CVs, but it was only announced in 2021. While certain forums have speculated what kept this release on the back-burner for so long (only Tom Baker’s banked releases, which have been kept back for a number of years, and the missing Fifth Doctor/Marc Monthly Range stories, which were pulled due to the pandemic, have had this kind of a delay in even being announced), yet the only concrete development can be gained from the behind the scenes mentioning that it was originally planned to be a four disc set, reduced to three, and that the same month that this was being recorded, Freema Agyeman reprised her role as Martha Jones in Torchwood: Dissected.

Continue reading

Review: 12th Doctor Chronicles (Vol 2) – Timejacked!

Review by Jacob Licklider


 

The Twelfth Doctor Chronicles, like the other instalments in the Doctor Chronicles range from Big Finish Productions started as a replacement for the Companion Chronicles and a chance to give the New Series Doctors a chance to shine while the actors playing those Doctors don’t come to Big Finish. Jacob Dudman is the actor who headlines the range, performing the Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Doctors. His Eleven is actually pitch perfect and his Tenth Doctor isn’t too far off, but his Twelfth Doctor was the performance that left audiences and myself cold in his Short Trips performances for being further away from Peter Capaldi, but for The Twelfth Doctor Chronicles: Timejacked! a switch occurs. Writers Matt Fitton and Lou Morgan implement a story arc and new companion for the Twelfth Doctor, young Time Agent Keira Sanstrom, played by Bhavnisha Parmar, and a tighter focus on the three stories bringing it in line with the new Big Finish style of box sets being either miniseries or separate serials in their own right. Dudman has also developed his impression of Peter Capaldi into less of an attempt to imitate the character but instead as a friend of mine noted, take inspiration from Peter Purves’ First Doctor in attempting to get the mannerisms and characterisation down, which makes Timejacked! feel more like a Twelfth Doctor story than anything else with Dudman in the role.

Continue reading

Review: Doctor Who – Dalek Universe 3

Review by Jacob Licklider


With each installment in Dalek Universe, the scope and tension has been building to unravel the mystery of just what’s happening with the universe that the Tenth Doctor is now before the Time War and with Anya Kingdom and Mark Seven. The initial promotion as a full fourth series for the Tenth Doctor was perhaps the most accurate description of the three box sets as a whole, all taking place right after The Waters of Mars; and Dalek Universe 3 sets up The Day of the Doctor, and actually helps transition the Tenth Doctor towards the end of his life. Like the first set, Dalek Universe 3 is only two stories, a single episode and two parts, essentially echoing the structure of one of his televised series (without the third two-parter to fill in the usual thirteen episodes as this is only nine episodes). And with any finale, this set is built around wrapping everything up from the heartbreaking installments at the end of Dalek Universe 2. This review will contain spoilers for Dalek Universe 2, so it is highly recommended to at least be caught up with the stories to this point before continuing. This is also a set which cannot be listened to in isolation, despite its high quality.

Continue reading

River Song meets the Third Doctor

Tim Treloar’s Third Doctor and Alex Kingston’s Professor River Song are colliding in a brand new box set of adventures from Big Finish.

River-Song-New-Recruit-Doctor


Continue reading

Freema Agyeman reprises Martha Jones role in new audio adventures from Big Finish Productions

Freema Agyeman returns in her own triumphant trio of audio adventures, to be released in December 2021.

After more than a decade away from the TARDIS, the Tenth Doctor’s companion, Martha Jones, is returning to the world of Doctor Who, in a brand-new box set of full-cast audio drama from Big Finish Productions.


Continue reading

Review: The War Doctor Begins – Forged in Fire

Review by Jacob Licklider


The War Doctor range was one of the Big Finish ranges sadly cut off due to the passing of Sir John Hurt.  A fifth box set was actually planned and some of those scripts have been used in other ranges such as The War Master, at least in similar premises.  Now that time has passed, the character has been recast with Jonathon Carley, most well known for several fan Doctor Who productions, and instead of continuing John Hurt’s legacy as the character which may have been insensitive if done incorrectly, goes back to the beginning of the character to explore what the War Doctor actually kind of means.  The War Doctor Begins was announced as four box sets, starting release in June 2021 all looking to lead to essentially where their War Doctor releases began.  Forged in Fire sports a beautifully painted cover by Claudia Gironi featuring Daleks and Thals and a younger John Hurt.  It also is a set which sets up something interesting for the character, taking a step away from what Steven Moffat implied with the character, that he was the version of the Doctor who went against everything that the Doctor stood for, that his purpose was to be a warrior.  There is something to be said to the recast; Carley joins Jon Culshaw’s Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, Sadie Miller’s Sarah Jane, and Elliot Chapman’s Ben Jackson (among others) in Big Finish’s roster of perfect recasts.  Carley worked closely with director Louise Jameson to ensure that his impression was more than just an impression, but really embodying the younger version of the character.  He makes it his own and Jameson’s direction is also a welcome change as her touch makes the entire set have a different atmosphere to Big Finish’s usual output. Continue reading

Review: ‘Master!’

Review by Jacob Licklider


With the acquisition of Eric Roberts returning to the role of the Master in The Diary of River Song, Ravenous 4, and Masterful, it became a matter of time before Big Finish Productions gave him his own spin-off box set.  Announced in 2020, Master! is essentially a precursor to Big Finish’s new three disc box set model for releases going forward.  Eric Roberts’ Master is also a character who does not actually have a fully fleshed out character.  He is a character who was over the top and camp in his one television appearance, under the guidance of a director who simply did not understand who the Master was and didn’t allow Roberts to actually give any menace in his performance.  Big Finish obviously worked to correct this in his first three appearances, but giving him a full length box set audiences finally get the chance to explore just what this version of the Master is and what he actually stands for.  Master! contains three stories from three writers, all telling an overarching story of how Eric Roberts’ Master escaped the time vortex and was eventually tracked down by an assassin and the Daleks, and of course escaped.  Interestingly unlike The War Master and Missy where the Master is a protagonist, Master! actually plays it with the Master directly the role of the antagonist, with each story essentially following other characters interacting with the Master and essentially trying to stop him from succeeding in each episode’s plan as things escalate towards the eventual conclusion.

full

Continue reading

Review: Doctor Who – Stranded 2

Review by Jacob Licklider


Stranding the Eighth Doctor on Earth was by no means a new idea, it had been done in the Eighth Doctor Adventures novels, but making him a landlord with Liv and Helen made for an interesting change. Stranded 1 was released way back in June 2020 when we were all in lockdown and the future releases were sadly delayed, with Stranded 2 moving from its original November release date to March 2021. Stranded 1 was one of those releases while where I enjoyed it quite a bit, I felt slightly underwhelmed by the premise as it was very much Doctor Who does a soap opera, but sitting down to listen to Stranded 2 made me acutely aware of how I have missed this ensemble cast and their interactions. Like Jon Pertwee’s second season bringing some time travel back, Stranded 2 still contains four earthbound stories, it is the first to actually bring these new companions and residents of Baker Street into the TARDIS and exploring their history and interpersonal relationships. This premise allows it to stand out from the first set and the Pertwee era in a number of ways which makes it incredibly fun. As Stranded 2 is still kind of like Doctor Who does a soap opera, this review may contain minor spoilers for certain plot developments in the characters. This review was also written with each section right after listening, so each section may not reflect how any story arcs happen.

Continue reading