Ever since Doctor Who returned to television in 2005, the showrunners have continued to introduce interesting and unique alien races (or “monsters” in the parlance of the show’s fans). Quite often, though, species new to the audience will be introduced but the Doctor will already be familiar with them. I know he’s the Doctor and he’s expected to know and all that, but did you ever wonder when he encountered a particular race for the first time, and in which incarnation?

This (relatively) new series from Big Finish may answer those questions.

Then again, it may not.

Let’s find out.

1.1 Fallen Angels (Fifth Doctor) by Phil Mulryne
1.2 Judoon in Chains (Sixth Doctor) by Simon Barnard and Paul Morris
1.3 Harvest of the Sycorax (Seventh Doctor) by James Goss
1.4 The Sontaran Ordeal (Eighth Doctor) by Andrew Smith [no relation]

2.1 Night of the Vashta Nerada (Fourth Doctor) by John Dorney
2.2 Empire of the Racnoss (Fifth Doctor) by  Scott Handock
2.3 The Carrionite Curse (Sixth Doctor) by Simon Guerrier
2.4 Day of the Vashta Nerada (Eighth Doctor) by Matt Fitton

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DAY OF THE VASHTA NERADA by Matt Fitton:

“As the Time War rages, Cardinal Ollistra of Gallifrey seeks to create ever more dangerous weapons to deploy against the enemy.

“When the Doctor stumbles across Synthesis Station, he discovers that the Time Lords have sponsored a project to weaponise already-lethal creatures. But in doing so, Eva Morrison and her team have unwittingly used a colony of Vashta Nerada with a very unfortunate history of humanoid contact.

“The Doctor finds himself leading a desperate race for survival, in which the shadows may be the least of their worries…”

WRITER’S NOTES:

“How to make one of Doctor Who’s scariest post-2005 monsters even scarier? That was the challenge set in the finale to this second volume of Classic Doctors facing all-new foes. You can’t reason with Vashta Nerada: they’re animal, pure predator when driven to it, and very, very hungry. Once you realize they’ve got you in their sights, it’s already too late. In fact, with a little tinkering, they could become a very effective weapon…

“When John Dorney and I were talking about the links between our two stories, something struck a chord. With his tale of a hunter setting out to bag a predator more dangerous than they realize, I was reminded of Jaws. So, for our next encounter with the ‘piranhas of the air’, I went bigger and brasher. In Spielberg terms, it’s Jurassic Park; in shark terms, it’s Deep Blue Sea!

“The theme of meddling with things we shouldn’t fitted the Time War and Cardinal Ollistra’s agenda perfectly, so it was a joy to revisit her frosty relationship with the Eighth Doctor. Jacqueline Pearce is always a delight, and what a cast Barnaby Edwards has assembled around our leads! It’s a pleasure to work with Barney on these releases, as he runs a meticulous director’s eye over the scripts, picking up every nuance for performance and sound design, through to the happy atmosphere of his recording days. That’s where my involvement ends, but I know with the genius of music maestro and sound designer Howard Carter — and Russell McGee elsewhere on this set — under Barney’s guidance, these stories will materialize as something very special. And I’m looking forward to hearing how some particular Vashta Nerada will sound…”

COMMENTARY: That’s it for “Classic Doctors, New Monsters”, at least for the time being. Producer David Richardson says, “The first box set was a big success, and we got e-mails from lots of listeners asking us to do more. Actually, there aren’t a huge number of options of mixing classic Doctors with new series monsters.

“We couldn’t, for example, do the Sixth Doctor and the Ood, because it wouldn’t make any sense continuity wise. But I was keen to do the Carrionites and Racnoss, and I loved the idea of bringing back the Vashta Nerada to encounter two different Doctors. But I suspect this may be the last box set of its kind… at least for now.”

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