This autumn has seen a few audio Doctor Who re-releases from Big Finish.
First the epic 50th Anniversary series ‘Destiny of the Doctor’ in new packaging, and secondly a bunch of hard to find tales under the banner of ‘Short Trip Rarities’.
‘Destiny of the Doctor – The Complete Adventure’
Originally appearing monthly throughout 2013, this gently linked series features an adventure for each of the first eleven Doctors, narrated by an era appropriate reader.
Produced in the Companion Chronicles format, with a primary narrator plus an additional voice actor, the stories fit well within the eras they represent; the Second Doctor’s tale concerns a base-under-siege, while the Third Doctor is accompanied by UNIT and the Fourth Doctor’s story is in the vein of a Douglas Adams script.
Across the months, Nev Fountain’s Sixth Doctor tale ‘Trouble in Paradise’ was a highlight, both highly entertaining and gloriously silly, while ‘Enemy Aliens’ starring Eight and Charlie, evoked the energetic spirit of the TV movie. In a rare trip into the Eccleston era, the series also took us on an adventure with Nine, Rose and Jack, throwing the trio into a vivid comic book-story set in the 23rd Century environment of New Vegas.
Released before Big Finish broke through their contractual time lock and were allowed to play with post-2005 elements, the series was a partnership with AudioGo – who then held a licence for new series related content.
At CultBox, we covered most of the tales during their original release but sadly the schedule rather fell foul of AudioGo’s financial problems, which ultimately led to its demise. Consequently, a couple of the later titles, plus the accompanying documentary had become hard to come by.
With a stellar cast list of DW luminaries reading- Carole Ann Ford, Frazer Hines, Richard Franklin, Lalla Ward, Janet Fielding, Nicola Bryant, Sophie Aldred, India Fisher, Catherine Tate all reprise their companion roles – plus Jenna Coleman and Nicholas Briggs, and with the collection re-released at a steal, we would heartily recommend joining the adventure again.
Short Trips Rarities
These narrated ‘Short Trip’ stories were all previously available either Subscriber bonus Short Trips, or in one case as a CD exclusive (to accompany the ‘Doctor Who – The Complete History’ part work). For the first time, all are now available on download and there is plenty to enjoy.
Written by Nigel Fairs and performed by Sarah Sutton, this TARDIS bound tale begins with a nightmare for Nyssa as something calls to her from the depths of the ship. What follows has echoes of both Gallifrey and Traken, as we delve into the past of both Nyssa and the Doctor.
Nicholas Briggs performs this tale, written as a coda to the Dalek Empire spin-off series and featuring Kalendorff in his later years. Visiting a war museum, the former warrior reflects on the uncomfortable aftermath of war and is visited by a troubled Eighth Doctor.
Written by James Swallow, the story asks questions about the uncomfortable status of old soldiers in peacetime and whether there can ever truly be an end to the Dalek menace.
‘Lepidoptary for Beginners’
Read by Duncan Wisbey, this John Dorney penned tale sees the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe trapped by an insecure and rather petulant villain.
Relying on his fiendish supercomputer, with which he has reverse-engineered chaos theory to predict the future, Iolas intends to kill the time travellers according to a detailed, pre-ordained schedule
‘The Little Drummer Boy’
Eddie Robson’s Christmas themed tale is set directly after ‘The Daleks’ Master Plan: The Feast of Stephen’ and thus features the First Doctor, travelling with Steven and Sara Kingdom.
On the run from the Daleks with the vital taranium core, the element needed to power their Time Destructor weapon, the TARDIS is meant to be making random landings but it soon becomes clear that they keep arriving at Christmas time in different eras – including the famous Christmas Day Armistice in the trenches in 1914.
Read by Beth Chalmers, the story becomes a heart-breaking mystery which surrounds a little boy they repeatedly encounter and it is our favourite of the five releases.
‘Sound the Siren and I’ll Come To You Comrade’
Intending to meet Czar Peter the Great, the Fourth Doctor and Leela instead end up as witnesses to a post-WWII nuclear test on the Russian Steppes.
John Pritchard’s involving story, read by Stephen Critchlow, sees the Doctor dealing not only with a haunting alien creature, but also the dangerous tensions between levels of the Soviet hierarchy, from the Engineer to the political Major of State Security.