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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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: Doctor Who – Peladon

Review by Jacob Licklider


The 1963-1989 run of Doctor Who is fascinating in the fact that in the 160 serials (including The TV Movie in 1996), there are few stories that are direct sequels to previous stories, much less sequels within the same production team. Generally the closest you would get are stories like Attack of the Cybermen doing a sequel to The Tenth Planet and Attack of the Cybermen over a decade after the prequel’s release or Snakedance to Kinda and Mindwarp to Vengeance on Varos essentially being extensions of the themes of the previous story, but doing its own thing. The Curse of Peladon and The Monster of Peladon are an oddity as they both share the same setting, several of the characters, and feel like a natural extension of the same story. Peladon being the setting of both is a big factor in why the two stories feel so connected, the sets are the same and it feels like the planet is evolving and changing. The Curse of Peladon aired as the second story from Season 9 beginning at the end of January 1972, so as it is the 50th anniversary of Episode One while I am writing this, Big Finish Productions are celebrating with Peladon, a four story box set revisiting the planet throughout its history as well as continue the spirit of Peladon stories in reflecting the politics of the real world using allegory for a stark contrast of the good and bad of today’s world.

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Review: Doctor Who – Third Doctor Adventures (Volume 8)

Review by Jacob Licklider


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.

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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.

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Review: Doctor Who – The End Of The Beginning

Review by Jacob Licklider


So here we are. March 2021 and the end of The Monthly Range of Doctor Who. Over 20 years and 275 releases, and Big Finish Productions have decided to give their flagship range on final multi-Doctor send-off adventure. Relative newcomer Robert Valentine was given the task of writing The End of the Beginning, a story which harkens back to the very first release in the range, The Sirens of Time, telling three connected adventures for three Doctors before bringing them together for the final episode in one big overarching plan. Each episode adds to the drama and ends with the Doctor (and this time companion) in some sort of danger while everything builds towards some universe breaking danger. The production of The End of the Beginning is put in the hands of Ken Bentley, one of the range’s most prolific directors, and the sound design and music by Wilfredo Acosta. This is an entire story based on making an homage to the range; including appearances from range exclusive characters for one last hurrah before Big Finish moves into a new era of box-sets and new adventures with different Doctors and companions. There is at least one Monthly Range release which is still coming as it was delayed, but this truly is the end of an era for Big Finish Productions.

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Review: Doctor Who – The Lovecraft Invasion

Review by Michael Goleniewski


In the midst of an explosive unseen adventure, the Sixth Doctor and his TARDIS team of Philippa “Flip” Ramon and Constance Clarke are tracking a malevolent mind parasite through the Time Vortex. Joined by an interstellar bounty hunter, the group soon end up in 1937 Rhode Island hoping to capture it before it does any real damage. But they aren’t quick enough to stop it from attaching itself to a maligned author of the day but one with significant impact for the future: H.P. Lovecraft. As the monstrous gods of the ‘Lovecraftian’ universe including Cthulhu and Nyarlathotep emerge in full force to turn Earth into a nightmare-infested hellhole, the Doctor and Flip venture into the mind of the famed author himself while Constance remains behind to keep an eye on him. As the TARDIS team is thrown into a world of madness, racism, and death, it’s going to take everything they have to keep their minds intact whilst the end of days threatens to destroy the planet itself…..

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Review: The Paternoster Gang – Heritage 3

Review by Jacob Licklider


The Paternoster Gang: Heritage has been a four set miniseries exploring the characters which Steven Moffat retconned as the Paternoster Gang in The Name of the Doctor and the third set to be released from Big Finish Productions is the first to actually live up to the “heritage” subtitle. Heritage 3 is three stories each taking a look at the family or society that each member of the
Paternoster Gang hails from. It’s also the first set to feel like there may actually be a story arc forming for the next story with hints of a coming apocalypse that Madame Vastra has her own little part to play on. I’d say more on that later, but it is all setup and saved for the final set which has been announced and will be released later this year with a special guest appearance which I will not spoil here. Continue reading

Audio Review: Wireless Theatre Company – Red Moon (Parts 5 & 6)

Review by Ian McArdell



Across the Fifth and Sixth phases of Red Moon, The Wireless Theatre Company’s six-part alternate history of the space race, we finally get to the core of the conspiracy surrounding SpaceCom’s Eagle One nuclear base. Continue reading

Audio Review: The Wireless Theatre Company – Red Moon 3&4

Review by Ian McArdell


With the third and fourth instalments of Red Moon, The Wireless Theatre Company’s six-part alternate history take on the space race, the conspiracy escalates and tensions spill over into action as two of our principal characters collide.

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