For a while now, I’ve been posting reactions to big “meaty” arcs such as The Eighth Doctor Adventures, Dark Eyes, Doom Coalition and The Collected War Doctor. Some of the stories I plan to listen to in the near future, though, are either one-off adventures or three story arcs. I thought it would be easier on the indexer (Hi, Bob!) if I started one “catch-all” thread and maintain the index in the initial post myself. I invite others to contribute to this discussion as well, and it doesn’t have to be strictly Doctor Who, either; anything from Big Finish will qualify. I’m going to start in a couple of days) with…
The Four Doctors - (Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors) - p16
The Company of Friends - (Eighth Doctor)
Benny's Story - p1
Fitz's Story - p1
Izzy's Story - p2
Mary's Story - p2
The Transposition Trilogy
The Defectors - (Seventh Doctor and Jo Grant) - p2
Last of the Cyberman - (Sixth Doctor, Jamie and Zoe) - p2, 15
The Secret History - (Fifth Doctor, Stephen and Vicki) - p2
The Masters Trilogy
And You Will Obey Me - (Fifth Doctor and old Master) - p3
Vampire of the Mind - (Sixth Doctor and new Master) - p3, 15
The Two Masters - (Seventh Doctor and both Masters) - p4
Doctor Who "Bonus Releases"
Her Final Flight - (Sixth Doctor and Peri) - p4
Cryptobiosis - (Sixth Doctor and Peri) - p4
Return of the Daleks - (Seventh Doctor) - p5
Return to the Web Planet - (Fifth Doctor and Nyssa) - p5
Trial of the Valeyard - (Sixth Doctor) - p3
Doctor Who - Novel Adaptations
Love & War
Sixth Doctor Reunited with Peri
The Widow's Assassin - p4, 14
Masters of Earth
The Rani Elite
Eighth Doctor and Mary Shelley
The Silver Turk - p5
The Witch from the Well - p7
Army of Death - p7
The Third Doctor Adventures
Prisoners of the Lake - p5
The Havoc of the Empires - p5
The Tenth Doctor Adventures (Vol. 2)
Infamy of the Zaross - p6
The Sword of the Chevalier - p6
Cold Vengeance - p6
4.12. Solitaire - (Charlotte Pollard vs. The Celestial Toymaker) - p12
3. Whispers of Terror – (Sixth Doctor & Peri) - p16
6. The Marian Conspiracy – (Sixth Doctor & Evelyn) - p15
11. The Apocalypse Element – (Sixth Doctor) - p15
27. The One Doctor – (Sixth Doctor & Mel) - p16
46. Flip Flop – (Seventh Doctor & Mel) - p16
51. The Wormery – (Sixth Doctor) - p7
57. Arrangements for War – (Sixth Doctor & Evelyn) - p8
60. Medicinal Purposes – (Sixth Doctor & Evelyn) - p8, 12
65. The Juggernauts – (Sixth Doctor & Mel) - p8
68. Catch 1872 – (Sixth Doctor & Mel) - p8
73. Thicker Than Water – (Sixth Doctor, Mel & Evelyn) - p9
75. Scaredy Cat – (Eighth Doctor, Charley & C'rizz) - p9
77. Other Lives – (Eighth Doctor, Charley & C’rizz) - p9
78. Pier Pressure – (Sixth Doctor & Evelyn) - p9
80. Time Works – (Eighth Doctor, Charley & C’rizz) - p9
83. Something Inside – (Eighth Doctor, Charley & C’Rizz) - p9
84. The Nowhere Place – (Sixth Doctor & Evelyn) - p9
86. The Reaping – (Sixth Doctor & Peri) - p7
90. Year of the Pig – (Sixth Doctor & Peri) - p7
88. Memory Lane – (Eighth Doctor, Charley & C’rizz) - p10
94. I.D. – (Sixth Doctor) - p10
97. The Wishing Beast – (Sixth Doctor & Mel) - p10
100. 100 – (Sixth Doctor & Evelyn) - p11
101. Absolution – (Eighth Doctor, Charley & C’rizz) - p10
103. The Girl Who Never Was – (Eighth Doctor & Charley) - p11
107. The Haunting of Thomas Brewster – (Fifth Doctor & Nyssa) - p12
108. Assassin in the Limelight – (Sixth Doctor & Evelyn) - p11
110. The Boy That Time Forgot – (Fifth Doctor & Nyssa) - p12
113. Time Reef – (Fifth Doctor & Nyssa) - p12
123. The Company of Friends – (Eighth Doctor & Benny, Fitz, Izzy. Mary) - p1-2
140. A Death in the Family – (Seventh Doctor & Evelyn) - p12
143. The Crimes of Thomas Brewster – (Sixth Doctor & Evelyn) - p12
144. The Feast of Axos – (Sixth Doctor & Evelyn) - p12
145. Industrial Evolution – (Sixth Doctor & Evelyn) - p12
149. Robophobia – (Seventh Doctor & Liv Chenka) - p2
150. Recorded Time & Other Stories (Sixth Doctor & Peri) - p13
153. The Silver Turk – (Eighth Doctor & Mary Shelley) - p5
154. The Witch from the Well – (Eigth Doctor & Mary Shelley) - p7
155. Army of Death – (Eigth Doctor & Mary Shelley) - p7
156. The Curse of Davros – (Sixth Doctor & Flip) - p13
157. The Fourth Wall – (Sixth Doctor & Flip) - p13
158. Wirrn Isle – (Sixth Doctor & Flip) - p13
166. The Acheron Pulse – (Sixth Doctor) - p13
169. The Wrong Doctors - (Sixth Doctor & Mel) - p3, 14
170. Spaceport Fear - (Sixth Doctor & Mel) - p15
171. The Seeds of War - (Sixth Doctor & Mel) - p15
178. 1963: Fanfare for the Commonmen - (Fifth Doctor & Nyssa) - p14
179. 1963: The Space Race - (Sixth Doctor & Peri) - p14
180. 1963: The Assassination Games - (Seventh Doctor & Ace) - p14
182. Antidote to Oblivion - (Sixth Doctor & Flip) - p14
183. The Brood of Erys - (Sixth Doctor & Flip) - p14
184. The Scavenger - (Sixth Doctor & Flip) - p14
188. Breaking Bubbles & Other Stories - (Sixth Doctor & Peri) - p13
192. The Widow's Assassin - (Sixth Doctor reunited with Peri) - p4, 14
193. Masters of Earth - (Sixth Doctor reunited with Peri) - p15
194. The Rani Elite - (Sixth Doctor reunited with Peri) - p15
198. The Defectors - (Seventh Doctor & Jo) - p2
199. Last of the Cybermen - (Sixth Doctor, Jamie & Zoe) - p2
200. The Secret History - (Fifth Doctor, Stephen & Vicki) - p2
204. Criss-Cross - (Sixth Doctor & Constance)
205. Planet of the Rani - (Sixth Doctor & Constance)
206. Shield of the Jotunn - (Sixth Doctor & Constance)
211. And You Will Obey Me - (Fifth Doctor & Old Master) - p3
212. Vampire of the Mind - (Sixth Doctor & New Master) - p3
213. The Two Masters - (Seventh Doctor & both Masters) - p4
218. Order of the Daleks - (Sixth Doctor & Constance)
219. Absolute Power - (Sixth Doctor & Constance)
220. Quicksilver - (Sixth Doctor, Constance & Flip)
225. Vortex Ice / Cortex Fire - (Sixth Doctor & Flip)
231. The Behemoth - (Sixth Doctor, Constance & Flip)
232. The Middle - (Sixth Doctor, Constance & Flip)
233. Static - (Sixth Doctor, Constance & Flip)
I am going to start the “1963 Trilogy” this week. It is a “trilogy” in the sense that they were released in 2013 for the show’s 50th anniversary and all take place in the same year, but I don’t think there are any common plot elements tying them all together. The first one features the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa, and is a sort of “Beatles” pastiche titled “Fanfare for the Common Men.” I listened to it for the first time in 2013 when it first came out and again in 2017. It’s a pretty good one, but I’m not going to listen to it again at this time. It has a thread of its own elsewhere on this board.
The second one is “The Space Race” featuring the Sixth Doctor and Peri, and the third is “The Assassination Games” featuring the Seventh Doctor and Ace. Here is a link to FANFARE FOR THE COMMON MEN.
1963: THE SPACE RACE:
“November 1963, and the Soviet space program reigns supreme. Having sent the first animals, then the first men beyond Earth's atmosphere, now they're sending a manned capsule into orbit around the Moon.
“Just as Vostok Seven passes over into the dark side, however, its life support system fails. Only the intervention of the Sixth Doctor and Peri, adopting the identities of scientists from Moscow University, means that contact with the capsule is regained.
“But something has happened to the cosmonaut on board. She appears to have lost her memory, and developed extreme claustrophobia. Maybe she’s not quite as human as she used to be…”
COMMENTARY: Picking up where the introduction leaves off… when the capsule emerges from behind the Moon, it is piloted by a dog with the voice of the cosmonaut. What they eventually learn is this: an alien race intercepted one of the first Russian spacecraft to determine whether or not the human race was worthy for their help. The aliens found a frightened dog in the capsule and determined that we were not. When the manned capsule passed to the dark side of the Moon, the aliens transplanted the human’s larynx and intelligence into the dog. The dog goes on to lead a revolt os other test animals against the scientists.
Also on the dark side of the Moon, in 1963, is a safehouse for the President of the United states to flee in the event of a Russian attack. The secret base was placed on the far side of te Moon to avoid detection. (Why promise to land a man safely on the Moon by the end of the decade unless you already knew it could be done?) The Doctor and Peri end up inside a Russian spacecraft bound for Earth. The only way for them not to be blown out of the sky is by direct Presidential order… and the date is November 22.
DIRECTOR’S NOTES by Nicholas Briggs:
“As a child of the Sixties, the Space race has a great resonance with me. I actually remember collecting those little cards called The Space Race, which featured pictures of all the Russian and US spacecraft built in that mad rush to get to the Moon and fulfil President Kennedy’s promise. So this tory had me fired up and on my launch pad from the very beginning.
“It’s always a pleasure to work with Colin Baker, but for me, this time round, it was great to wrk with Nicola Bryant again. It had been ages since I’d directed a story featuring Peri. Of course, Nicola and I have chatted a lot over the years, when I was visiting the studio as executive roducer, but I’ve always been impressed by her work and her dedication to the character of Peri, so it was really great to get to grips with that character again.
“We had a fantastic supporting cast in this story. Really brilliant jobbing actors with great voices.
“Early on, I made the slightly controversial decision for the Russian characters not to have Russian accents. It’s that old ‘TARDIS translation’ problem. If the doctor and Peri are speaking Russian and ll the other characters are speaking English with a Russian accent, then shouldn’t the doctor and Peri be doing Russian accents too? Gaaah! It’s infuriating. So I thought to myself, ‘No, they can’t all sound English’. Then, the problem came when the Americans were hearing one of the Russian characters speaking English! Suddenly, in mid-sentence, the character had to sound Russian. That led to much hilarity in the studio, but I’d like to state here and now for anyone who’s confused by it… it really does make sense. Honestly…”
WRITER’S NOTES by Jonathan Morris:
“A brief history of Doctor Who.
“1963: A year of momentous events. The assassination of John F. Kennedy, the Great train robbery, the Profumo Affair, the rise of the Beatles and, most momentous of all, the first episode of Doctor Who is broadcast.
“1973: Doctor Who is ten years old. Writer of Doctor Who stories Jonathan Morris is born.
“1983: Jonathan Morris is ten years old. Doctor Who is his favorite program. He writes Doctor Who stories all the time. He pesters his parents into buying a video recorder so he can watch it all the time. This he proceeds to do for the next seven years.
“1993: Tragically, Doctor Who is no longer on television. Jonathan Morris is twenty years old and at university. He has a girlfriend and no longer watches his Doctor Who videos. A bleak time that will hitherto become known as ‘the wilderness years’.
“2003: Jonathan Morris is thirty years old and now watches Doctor Who on DVD and writes Doctor Who books ad audios. At a party he learns that Doctor Who is coming back to television. This is the best news he has ever heard, ever.”
1963: THE ASSASSINATION GAMES:
“London. The end of November, 1963. A time of change. The old guard are being swept away by the white heat of technology. Political scandals are the talk of the town. Britain tries to maintain its international role; fanatics assassinate charismatic politicians and Group Captain Ian Gilmore is trying to get his fledgling Counter-Measures unit off the ground.
“When his life is saved by a familiar umbrella-bearing figure, he knows something terrible is going on. Whilst Rachel investigates an enigmatic millionaire and Allison goes undercover in an extremist organisation, Gilmore discovers a sinister plot with roots a century old.
“The Doctor and Ace are back in town. A new dawn is coming. It's time for everyone… to see the Light.”
COMMENTARY: This one is not actually a sequel but more of a follow-up to ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’. I’m not sure what it means to “cross one’s own timeline,” but it seems to mean meeting oneself face to face. In this one, the Doctor remarks, “There are five of my counterparts here at this time, and two of them are me.”
DIRECTOR’S NOTES by Ken Bentley:
“It’s how the dots are connected that makes this such a delightful anniversary story. In 1988, they celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of Doctor Who on television by going back to where it all began. For the fiftieth anniversary, Big Finish reunites that twenty-fifth anniversary team for the first time in twenty-five years, not in order to bring us full circle, but as a launch pad for a new adventure.
“Reunions are, sadly, not always possible in the world of Doctor Who. (If only we really could go back in time.) The question of reuniting the Counter-Measures team with the Doctor has been circulating almost since the first series of Counter-Measures was announced. Possibly the only way it could happen appropriately is with this anniversary release.
“What’s so impressive is that it carries anniversary credentials so lightly that it still manages to be a standalone monthly range release. It’s subtle feats like this that keep in in a constant state of awe of my colleagues at Big Finish. So t feels only fair—since we’re saluting the Doctor—to take this opportujnity to salute them, too. After all, it it wasn’t for them…”
WRITER’S NOTES by John Dorney:
“Here’s a sobering fact for fans of a certain age. It’s now been longer from when ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ was transmitted than its initial showing was from ‘An Unearthly Child’.
“It’s an obvious point, given the celebratory nature of that classic story, its twenty-fifth season placement and this fiftieth anniversary release… but it seems so hard to contemplate. That first story felt so removed at the time—its long-lost Doctor, it’s black and white, studio-based, videotape feel—whereas ‘Remembrance’ feels so fresh and alive even now.
“I was twelve when it was first shown, and I remember my immediate reaction after episode one was to turn to my parents and ask if I could watch it again straightaway. It was jaw-droppingly good.
“So is most of that era, in my opinion. And that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to set this story in season 25 (well, technically just after, but you know what I mean). A fabulous era of Who, but often overlooked in spin-off fiction as you can always do Seven/Ace stories post-‘Survival’. What opportunities do you gain by placing it earlier?
“I’ve had a lot of privileges this year, and writing the fiftieth anniversary monthly release is but one of those. To get the opportunity to pay tribute to another fabulous era and a wonderful story at the same time is the icing on the cake. I hope I’m worthy of them all.”
ANTIDOTE TO OBLIVION:
“Future Britain is bankrupt, its corporate owners facing financial ruin. Fortunately, the Universal Monetary Fund, and its slimy representative Sil, are willing to give its President a multi-billion credit bail-out... but terms and conditions apply, and Sil's proposed austerity measures go far beyond mere benefit cuts.
“Responding to a distress call, the Doctor and his companion Flip land in a London whose pacified population has been driven largely underground. But the horrors down there in the dark are as nothing to the horrors that await them at ConCorp HQ, where a young biochemist in Sil's employ is working on a permanent solution to the nation's terminal unprofitability.
“Because in the final account, Sil plans to make a killing...”
COMMENTARY: Philip Martin wrote this sequel to his own “Mindwarp” from the “Trial of a Timelord” season on TV and Nabil Shaban reprises his role of Sil from “Vengeance on Varos” and “Mindwarp”. Sil is allied with Cordelia Crozier, the daughter of the scientist from “Mindwarp”, who holds the Doctor responsible for her father’s death. There’s lots of foreshadowing (for example, Sil taunting the Doctor that she has perished) presaging the Sixth Doctor’s reunion with Peri in the next trilogy.
DIRECTOR’S NOTES by Nicholas Briggs:
“The return of Sil was script editor Alan Barnes’s idea, and I was all for it. It was a lovely feeling to bring back a villain who had a quintessentially Sixth Doctor feel. We’d worked with Nabil before on ‘Mission to Magnus’, but I’d actually encountered him many moons ago during the days of my doing Doctor Who drama ‘for fun’. It was an amateur Doctor Who audio drama in which I was playing the Doctor, and Nabil came in to play a human, historical villain in a story about the gunpowder plot to blow up the Brutish Houses of Parliament. I remember that Nabil got so enthusiastic during some of the battle scenes that he dismantled part of his wheelchair and started bashing the microphone stands with it. Well, Nabil is still bursting with enthusiasm and energy. He may not ne attacking the studio physically anymore, but he’s certainly full of brilliant ideas—some of them far too outrageous to make it into the final production. Oh, if only decency would allow me to tell you his suggested nomenclature for the ‘Doctuuurrrr’… But I’ll keep quiet about that. The brilliant thing, though, is that Nabil is a writer himself, so many tweaks he has for the script are always great ideas, adding rich layers to the text of an already great script by Sil creator Philip Martin.
“And it was, of course, a pleasure to welcome Lisa Greenwood back to her part of Flip. Lisa. Who shall forever call me ‘Dalek-Face’, after she called me that on Twitter. Bless her.”
SCRIPT EDITOR’S NOTES by Alan Barnes:
“Rampant Thatcherite slug Sil, introduced in ‘Vengeance on Varos’, epitomized the 1980s—an exploitative arms dealer and city trader, cousin t Gordon Gekko in Wall Street, only prettier (and introduced a couple of years earlier, too). Some might say, however, that the pendulum has swung back in the slugs’ favor over the last few years, and that times are hard again; in which case, if any 1980s Doctor Who monster needs to return, it’s Sil…
“that was my thinking, at least, when I asked Sil’s creator, the brilliant Philip Martin, if he’d care to contrive a comeback for his entirely appalling (and I mean that in a good way) creration—and I was thrilled when he agreed. So watch out, Britain—or rather Concorpia—‘cause here comes Sil; now greedier, more grasping and with 98% less of a conscience than ever before. This time, however, he’s gone into partnership with the mysterious Cordelia, to help him execute his most dreadful scheme yet. Or, in 1980s parlance: she’s got the brain, he’s got the looks; they’ll make lots of money!”
THE BROOD OF ERYS:
“Space travelers are warned to keep away from the area of the planet Asphya and its unremarkable moon Erys. Not the best place to materialize the TARDIS, then – as the Doctor discovers when his ship is raided by the imp-like Drachee, and his companion Flip is carried away…
“But the TARDIS isn’t the only stricken vessel in the region. Aboard a nearby space yacht, the Doctor encounters a woman who holds in her head the secret of Erys – a secret suppressed by amnesia, or worse.
“Flip, too, is about to learn Erys’ secret. But once you know Erys’ secret, you can never escape.”
COMMENTARY: Asphya is populated by humanoids, its moon Erys by little imps. Erys itself is sentient and telepathic, using its powers against intruders by dredging up a bad memory and amplifying it. The Doctor soon deduces that the woman he finds is from the planet and has had her memories temporarily wiped as a defense against Erys. There are several reversals before the end, and the listener is always kept guessing.
There’s a good scene between the Doctor and Erys, to which Flip listens in. She is surprised to discover that she is not the first companion he has traveled with, nor is she necessarily the first one on his mind. She is surprised to learn, too, that the doctor has a granddaughter. Peri is mentioned once again, once again foreshadowing her reunion with the Doctor. The doctor and Flip leave with the intention of finding her, but I know that’s not going to happen in the next adventure. Soon, though.
WRITER’S NOTES by Andrew Smith:
“‘The Brood of Erys’ is a mix of old and new ideas. The Drachee, by another name, gamboled and frolicked forth from my imagination in the early 1980s. Sarra Vanser, the mysterious lady with no memories, is a creation I devised after being asked by script editor Alan Barnes to come up with an adventure of Sixie and Flip set on an alien world.
“I sent Alan five ideas to choose from, and he foxed me by picking two of them: one where the TARDIS was overrun by the Drachee and another where the Doctor and fip discover a spacecraft wreck where the only survivor is a woman with no memories. The two stories as conceived were different in tone, but as soon as I started melding them I became excited by the dramatic possibilities, clever Alan.
“As ever, it was a privilege to be in the studio hearing the cast make the most of the words I’d given them. and in this case, it was an extra special treat to hear their interpretation of the sound of the hordes of drachee. Marvellous, and barking mad.
DIRECTOR’S NOTES by Nicholas Briggs:
“Bizarrely, this story felt rather like a William Hartnell story to me. Something from a simpler, more innocent age, and I worried that it might not have the dramatic punch and narrative complexity required by Big Finish stories. I needn’t have worried, because Andrew Smith’s canny storytelling proved to be an inspiration to the cast. This script really seemed to catch people’s imaginations. One f the aspects that always helps in a recording is if any parts need to be voiced by crowds. The strange noises emanating from ‘the brood’ of the title provided for much hilarity at times, but more importantly established a real, tangible mood for the drama. It sounded like the sound design had arrived in the studio. It was also a great pleasure to work with Brian Shelley. Brian and I were at drama school together, although he was in the year below me, so we never worked together. I remember him doing a vocal warm-up… it actually sounded like there were about fifteen people in the room with him. When I opened the door to have a look, and discovered that it was just Brian, doing loads of different voices, the image of that one actor being so vocally dexterous stuck with me. That said, I forgot all about Brianin terms of casting for several decades. Then, one evening, when I was casting this production, I happened to watch a BBC docu-drama called The Last Days of Anne Boleyn, featuring Brian as Thomas Cromwell. I remembered that vocal warm-up I’d overheard, and bingo, I had a casting solution. Odd how chance and timing is so important in all things.
“My other fond memory of this recording is having a lovely time in the pub with Andrew Smith, whose many entertaining tales of life as a high-ranking police officer (no classified material passed his lips, please note!) made me wonder why we’ve got him t write a police detective script for us. But that’s for another time…”
“Thursday 28 May 2071: the day the Anglo-Indian Salvage 2 rocket launches. Its mission: to clean up space; to remove from Earth’s orbit over a century’s worth of man-made junk…
“From the viewing window of a nearby space station, the Doctor and Flip have a unique view of Salvage 2 as it sets about its essential task – and of the disaster that unfolds when Salvage 2 encounters something it’s not been programmed to deal with. Something not of human manufacture…
“Back on Earth, the Doctor fights to save Flip from becoming part of a 500-year tragedy being played out in orbit, hundreds of miles above. And millions will die if he fails.”
COMMENTARY: Here’s the deal. I can usually finish a half hour episode during my morning or evening commute. I started this one yesterday morning and quite enjoyed the first episode. Sometimes I am able to jot down a few notes while they are still fresh in my mind, but yesterday was so busy that, by the time I went to lunch, I had completely forgotten what had happened in part one. I listened to part two hoping it would come back to me, but it didn’t really. This morning I was no better off with part three. I have yet to listen to part four, but I don’t expect it will become any clearer. I will definitely need to listen to this one again sometime with no interruptions, but I’ll be taking the day off tomorrow and I want to move on to something else next week. In the meantime, the transcribed notes below will have to serve to give you a feeling of the play.
I should a mention that Anjli Mohindra, who plays Jyoyi Cutler in this adventure, also played Rani Chandra on The Sarah Jane Adventures on TV.
WRITER’S NOTES by William Gallagher:
“I had no idea there was so much junk orbiting the Earth. I knew there was some, maybe I even knew there was quite a bit, but how many dead satellites and broken bits of rockets could there be? This is how much: unless something is done now, we are in severe danger f never being able to go into space again.
“There are thousands upon thousands of fragments and debris and what I didn’t even imagine is that they all run into each other. There are constant collisions and the real International space station has to keep moving its orbit to avoid being hit by the bigger pieces.
“We humans go into space and the first thing we do is litter our backyard. I wanted to write about that and then as I learned of plans to clean this stuff up one dead satellite at a time, I began wondering if absolutely every piece must be man-made.
“‘Scavenger’ has become an exploration of what our own culture means to each of us as individuals. But it began as a thriller about what would happen if just one fragment of that space junk was alien—and wasn’t really junk.”
DIRECTOR’S NOTES by Nicholas Briggs:
“It’s in the nature of racially integrated casting that you should cast actors regardless of their own racial origins, but it has to be said that in deciding an Earth setting for this story, Alan Barnes ad I made a conscious decision to set it outside of the countries we’d ‘nornaly’ pick. It was the obvious thing to do to make it a British or American space agency… but what about an Indian space agency? When we realized the simple answer was ‘Why not?’ it gave us some exciting casting possibilities. I’d met Anjli Mohindra at a couple of Doctor Who conventions over the preceding few months, and I asked her if she’d like to come to do a Doctor Who for us. She was keen to do so. So when this play came along, I found myself apologizing for being perhaps a bit obvious in asking her to play a part because the character was Indian. For her part, Anjli was really helpful in deciding just how Indian her character shold sound. She took me through several layers of Indian accent, and we decided upon what we felt really worked for the character. It was also fun for Anjli to work with Lisa Greenwood, because the two of them had met at those Doctor Who conventions I mentioned. Now, Lisa and Anjli both being girls of a certain (young) age got on like a house on fire. When I told Lisa that Anjli would be coming in, she squealed with delight, and it has to be said that when the two of them were together, talking and texting at the same time (as young people do, you know), everyone else might have been invisible. They were in ‘young peoples’ world, where boring old chaps like me didn’t feature at all!”
I don't often post reaction to a CD before I'm finished listening to it, when when I do I usually regret it. In this case, at the end of part four, the Doctor and Flip become separated in such a a way that he is unable to check up on her. She is "lost in space" in a spacesuit, and about to re-enter the planet's atmosphere without a spacesuit. This is a cliffhanger that won't be resolved for two and a half years (real time), but I'll get to it sooner than that.
This was enjoyable, but I did find it a bit hard to follow in parts. I was a little unclear whether there was two Mels or three.
Jeff of Earth-J said:
THE WRONG DOCTORS:
This one was pretty good, too. with only one or two points that left me a little confused. I'll have to give it another listen.
Jeff of Earth-J said:
THE WRONG DOCTORS:
“This was enjoyable, but I did find it a bit hard to follow in parts. I was a little unclear whether there was two Mels or three.”
Just two, as I recall. I found it to be “delightfully complicated” (see page 2 of this discussion), and it definitely benefits from repeated listenings. As I have mentioned before, “The Wrong Doctors” is one of my three favorite Sixth Doctor stories (the others being “The Trial of the Valeyard” and “Peri and the Piscon Paradox”).
Just a note as to where this story falls in the Sixth Doctor’s timeline: after the trial, the Sixth Doctor’s next companion was Evelyn Smythe, who travelled with the doctor for several years. Her last adventure with the Doctor was revealed, in flashback, in #73, “Thicker Than Water” (2005). [As a side note, the last adventure she appeared in with the Sixth Doctor was “Industrial Evolution” (2011). I think it is this set of circumstances that led Big Finish to their policy of not limiting themselves by tying off too many loose ends. All subsequent stories after 2005 had to lead to the ending revealed in “Thicker Than Water.”] The beginning of “The Wrong Doctors” (in which the Doctor is lamenting the departure of Evelyn), must take place shortly after the flashback scenes in “Thicker Than Water.” [It took me a while to think this through on my own. You’re welcome.]
“The Wrong Doctors” is #169 in the main range. I will soon be listening to #170 (“Spaceport Fear”) and #171 (“The Seeds of War”). A few months ago, Big Finish’s Vortex magazine featured “The Wrong Doctors” in its “Listen Again” section.
LISTEN AGAIN – “The Wrong Doctors”
IN A SERIES which has run as long as Doctor Who has, finding new angles for multi-Doctor stories can be tough. But that’s exactly what Matt Fitton achieved with Main Range release, The Wrong Doctors, when the Sixth Doctor and Mel, fresh from leaving his trial, encounter an older, more mellow version of the same incarnation, and a younger Melanie Bush.
Matt laughs: “With The Wrong Doctors, I think I made a rod for my own back! Alan Barnes had asked me to do the first meeting between Mel and the Sixth Doctor.
“When you think about Mel and her timeline it’s pretty complicated, as she meets the Doctor again when he hasn’t met her at all in The Trial of a Time Lord. When you take that as your starting point, all sorts of possibilities creep up.
“I couldn’t resist the idea of having the Doctor run into himself and just when he thinks it’s time to pick Mel up, the older Doctor meets himself when he’s fresh from the trial.
“In writing it, I tried to make distinct differences between the Doctor who we’ve come to know through Big Finish, and his more brash television self. We’ve also got the younger, more inexperienced Mel, and the version of Mel who’s come straight from the trial.
“The more I thought about it, the more it appealed to have all these different combinations with the different Doctors and Mels. I had a chart so I knew who was meeting who.
“I think I referred to them as the Motley Doctor and the Blue Doctor in the script! When I was writing it, the younger Doctor is much more bolshy, jumping to conclusions. When you think about your younger self, we were all a bit like that, so it was nice to come back and look at that earlier Sixth Doctor, showing his inexperience compared to his older self.”
Director Nicholas Briggs says: “This was the moment when I realised what a brilliant writer Matt Fitton is. He was an unofficial runner-up in our new writers’ opportunity which had been organised and run by Main Range script editor Alan Barnes.
“Alan championed him, and when I received the script, I just thought, ‘This guy knows how to tell a cracking story’. And the cast had pretty much the same reaction.
“The whole confusion of the two Mels and the two Doctors was played out so perfectly in the script that rather than confusing the actors, it kind of delighted them.
“Colin always likes a challenge and is such an astute actor. Bonnie, too, is indefatigable and so sharp. It was great to have the two of them together again. I’ve known Colin really well for years and consider him a mate, and Bonnie is one of my favourite people. She’s so full of energy and is such a professional. Nothing fazes her.”
Matt adds: “Colin leapt into it and really enjoyed it, I think. It’s brilliant how he made the two performances so distinct – hearing him play scenes against himself is still one of my proudest and happiest memories of any Big Finish!
“The other amazing thing was listening to Bonnie Langford at work. She was fantastic and so professional too.”
By "this one", I meant "The Widow's Assassin", which I also listened to.
The Baron said:
This one was pretty good, too. with only one or two points that left me a little confused. I'll have to give it another listen.
Jeff of Earth-J said:
THE WIDOW’S ASSASSIN:
“This one was pretty good, too, with only one or two points that left me a little confused. I'll have to give it another listen.”
Yes, as with “The Wrong Doctors,” “The Widow’s Assassin” also benefits from repeated listenings. I just recently finished re-listening to “Peri and the Piscon Paradox,” which sets up “The Widow’s Assassin.” “Peri and the Piscon Paradox” established that multiple versions of Peri exist. After the Sixth Doctor’s trial, the events of “Mindwarp” and the Valeyard’s tampering with the Matrix led to some contention within the High Council. In an effort to set things right, the Time Lords mucked about with Peri’s timeline.
One version of her did, indeed, die. Another version of her married Ycarnos and went to live on Krontep as his Warrior Queen. (This is the version from “The Widow’s Assassin.”) Another version was returned to Earth with all memories of her time with the Doctor except her first adventure with him wiped from her mind (the same fate as Jamie and Zoe). Yet another version was returned to Earth with her memories intact and later hosted a radio advice show as the “Worrier Queen.”
After “The Widow’s Assassin” (#192), Peri continues to travel with the Doctor for two more adventures, #193 (“Masters of Earth”) and #194 (“The Rani Elite”). I will be listening to those soon, so if you are interested in finding out what happens to Peri next, keep reading this discussion.