The first appearance of the Eighth Doctor was in 1996 in a TV movie designed to be the pilot for a new TV show. The series wasn’t picked up, though, so by that measure, the Eighth Doctor might be considered to be the least successful of Doctors. In 2001, though, the Eighth Doctor began appearing in a series of audio adventures from Big Finish which continue to this day with no end in sight, so by that measure the Eighth Doctor might be considered to be among the most successful of Doctors. Paul McGann would eventually be featured in more than 30 adventures in Big Finish’s “main range” of Doctor Who audios, but in January 2007 he was awarded his own series of “Eighth Doctor Adventures” released in four “seasons” co-starring Sheridan Smith as new companion Lucie Miller.
I’m going to skip over the early audio adventures in the main range for now and concentrate on “The Eighth Doctor Adventures” beginning with season one. This may be an overly ambitious objective, but it is my intention to cover every episode of all four seasons (as listed below). At that point, I will either go back to the beginning, or continue on with the series “Dark Eyes” and “Doom Coalition”. As with my discussion of Dark Shadows audios, I will maintain an index in this initial post.
1.1 Blood of the Daleks, Pt. 1 - p1
1.2 Blood of the Daleks, Pt. 2 - p1
1.3 Horror of Glam Rock - p2
1.4 Immortal Beloved - p2
1.5 Phobos - p2
1.6 No More Lies - p3
1.7 Human Resources, Pt. 1 - p3
1.8 Human Resources, Pt. 2 - p3
2.1 Dead London - p3
2.2 Max Warp - p4
2.3 Brave New Town - p4
2.4 The Skull of Sobek - p4
2.5 Grand Theft Cosmos - p5
2.6 The Zygon Who Fell to Earth - p5
2.7 Sisters of the Flame - p5
2.8 Vengeance of Morbius - p5
3.1 Orbis - p5
3.2 Hothouse - p5
3.3 The Beast of Orlok - p6
3.4 Wirrn Dawn - p6
3.5 The Scapegoat - p6
3.6 The Cannibalists - p6
3.7 The Eight Truths - p7
3.8 Worldwide Web - p7
An Earthly Child - p7
4.1 Death in Blackpool - p7
4.2 Situation Vacant - p7
4.3 Nevermore - p8
4.4 The Book of Kells - p8
4.5 Deimos - p8
4.6 The Resurrection of Mars - p9
4.7 Relative Dimensions - p9
4.8 Prisoner of the Sun - p10
4.9 Lucie Miller - p10
4.10 To the Death - p10
HORROR OF GLAM ROCK:
The title of this adventure purposefully evokes the Fourth Doctor TV adventure “The Horror of Fang Rock,” but it is actually a reference to the kind of music associated with singers such as David Bowie. Also, although seriocomic in nature, with people getting ripped to shreds by giant beasts it is an actual horror story. Thematically, it reminds me a bit of the Fifth Doctor audio adventure “1963: Fanfare for the Common Men” discussed elsewhere on this board (consult the index). It features an original song, “Children of Tomorrow,” performed by the actors who play Tommy and Trisha Tomorrow in the story. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The story opens with the Doctor once again trying to return Lucie to her proper time and place (North England, 2006), but the closest he is able to come is London, 1974. They soon meet musicians Tommy and Trisha Tomorrow, as well as their manager, Arnold Korns (played by Doctor Who alum Bernard Cribbins). Tommy composes his music on a stylophone (Google it), and gets his ideas from “outer space”; beings known as the “Only Ones” contact him telepathically.
Lucie (born in 1987) meets her aunt as a young woman. Aunty Pat was an aspiring musician whose band was shot down years ago by Arnold Korns. Apparently the Doctor has not yet explained to Lucie about the Web of Time, because she blurts out to Aunty Pat exactly who she is and when she’s from as soon as she realizes Pat is her aunt. Pat doesn’t necessarily believe her at first, but is disheartened to learn that, in the future she is “nothing… well, nothing special.”
The Only Ones tell Tommy that they are the only sentient race in the universe other than humans (a blatant lie). They appear to him as ethereal beings, but their corporeal form is that of a hairy, slathering beast. What they are really after are the Tomorrow Twins’ fans for use as foodstuffs.
I’m not going to say how the situation is resolved, but the Doctor and Lucie start to bond by the end.
The song "Children of Tomorrow" and a glam rock version are both included as CD bonus tracks.
Tracy of Moon-T said:
A glam rock version of the Doctor Who theme, he meant.
Yes, Tec, this adventure contains many such in-joke references. There are also allusions to certain sings, such as "Tommy Can You Hear Me?"
One other note about Bernard Cribbins: thjis audio pre-dates his appearances on TV as Wilfred Mott, but he's still a Doctor Who alum from the second 1960s Doctor Who movie.
“The TARDIS arrives on Kaleva. The Doctor and Lucie interrupt two star-crossed lovers, Kalkin and Sararti, who have fled their censorious ‘parents’. Lucie is rather pleased, since this apparently minor romantic angst is the kind of problem she feels she excels at solving (thereby giving her one up on the Doctor for once), but the deeper she delves, the stranger it looks… Greek gods with helicopters? What’s really going on?”
The Doctor and Lucie landed on a cliff in what appears to be ancient Greece. The development of the Doctor/Companion relationship continues to evolve as soon as they step out of the TARDIS and introduce themselves.
LUCIE: “Hello, I’m Lucie Miller and this is my bumbling assistant the Doctor.”
DOCTOR (aside): “How flattering.”
Kalkin and Sarati were about to commit suicide by leaping off the cliff. The Doctor and Lucie stop them, but soon they are all surrounded by helicopters. General Ares is mortally wounded. Back at the palace, Ares’ mind is transferred into the body of one of his soldiers. The soldier willingly sacrifices his “destiny” to save Ares’ life. The leader of this society (who refer to guns as “magic wands” and the hi-tech mind transfer device as an “incarnation chamber”) is “Zeus.” Zuea admits he is not a god, but rather the leader of a lost Earth colony. Her and his wife, Hera (what else?), created this society based on ancient Greek mythology.
Kalkin turn out not to be Zeus’ son, but rather his next generation clone. When the time comes, Kalkin is to willingly surrender his mind to oblivion so that the mind of Zeus can occupy his youthful body, but Kalkin has rebelled against his fate. Zeus also has another clone, Ganymede, but his body is too young for Zeus’ mind to be transferred into. (They can make clones, but they cannot artificially age them.) The ruling class periodically transfers their minds into their younger clone selves, an abomination which the Doctor says has been abolished, making them, for all intents and purposes, immortal.
Zeus has the hots for Lucie, despite insisting that he and Hera share a 1,000 year-old love. He demands that the Doctor repair the immortality machine (which Lucie likens to a human copy machine that has out of toner). The Doctor refuses, until Zeus threatens to endlessly clone and torture Lucie. Hera suffers a heart attack, but her transfer into the unwilling Sarati fails. Pretending all is well, Sarati stabs Zeus, necessitating the transfer of his mind into Kalkin’s body. The Doctor pretends to comply, but ultimately causes the process to fail.
Kalkin and Sarati pretend to be the new Zeus and Hera, and promise not to use the machine. Lucie believes them, but the Doctor reminds her that these two are essentially younger versions of the two they just overthrew.
“The TARDIS arrives on Phobos, a moon favored by adrenaline-seekers for its vast array of naturally occurring adventure activities. Here you can pot-hole, mountain-climb, abseil, bungee-jump, gravboard—you name it, it’s available in Lunar Park. Originally designed to be a high-grade vacation center, Phobos is now looked after by Kai and Eris. But Kai fears that all is not well—and when people start turning up dead, it seems his worries are well-founded. But why would anyone target the ‘drennies’? And just what is at the bottom of the never-ending “Wormhole”? It’s not for nothing that ‘Phobos’ is the ancient word for ‘fear’.”
Phobos has become a popular resort destination for extreme sports in the 26th century due to many supposedly naturally occurring features which make extreme sports popular. Chief among these is what they call a “wormhole” on the surface, a sort of bottomless pit in which gravitic forces make it impossible to hit the sides while bungee jumping down it. Kai Tobias tells stories of monsters on the surface, but no one takes him seriously. Later the monsters appear and begin attacking vacationers. When the Doctor discovers that the monsters are just robots, Tobais reveals that a powerful entity has opened the wormhole to feed on the emotions brought on by adrenaline rushes. Once it is strong enough, it will cross over.
Tobias has discovered that the creature is hurt by real fear, however, and created the tourist-killing robots to kill it. The Doctor enters the wormhole and kills it by showing it all of his own fears. After the Doctor and Lucie leave, we discover that the Headhunter had preceded them there, but was injured “falling off a bike” (?) and was unconscious until after they left. She vows to catch up to Lucie soon.
One thing I’ve discovered about these “Eighth Doctor Adventures” series which sets them apart from other Big Finish productions is that the various seasons actually aired on BBC7 radio. Whereas the standard BF audio is of no set length and run for maybe 80 minutes, these shows are proscribed to a set length of 50 minutes.
The Doctor enters the wormhole and kills it by showing it all of his own fears.
Sort of how the eleventh Doctor tried to hurt the "god" in "Rings of Akhaten" by sharing his memories with it.
There are similarities between several of these audios and things that would later be done on TV. In one of the audio extras, Nicholas Briggs explained they were directed by the BBC to make the dramas both like the old show and the new. I think they succeeded on both counts.I'm not going to miss the new show after it goes on hiatus because I'll have these to keep my interest in the interum. I which I'd've started listening to these years ago.
Last Saturday was Paul McGann's birthday, BTW. Big Finish was offering Eighth Doctor adventures at a discount.
I forgot to mention something about Phobos yesterday. In Immortal Beloved, the TARDIS lands on a cliff. In Phobos Lucie rushes out of the TARDIS and exclains, "What, a cliff again!?" The Doctor asks, "How many times have I asked you not to rush out of the TARDIS without first checking conditions?" to which Lucie replies, "I don't think you ever told me that." The banter between the Doctor and Lucie is really quite funny (in one of them she accuses the Doctor of looking at her bum), but I don't really have the opportunity to take notes because I listen to them in my car.
Another similarity these audios have to the new TV show is that, although each of the stories are standalone (with a few two-parters thrown into the mix), there is an underlying arc which runs behind them all (in this case, the Headhunter), which is resolved in the series finale.