When I first started listening to the Sixth Doctor's adventures on audio, I became obsessed with the order of his companions and the order of the stories. On TV, the Seventh Doctor began his travels with Mel, switched to Ace, and was still travelling with Ace when the series ended. From there, the Seventh Doctor went on to be featured in a long series of books featuring a number of companions such as Ace, Benny, Roz and Chris. On audio, the Seventh Doctor has had a number of companions as well. But this time I'm not goig to worry so much about putting them in order as I have no intention of going back to collect all of the adventures I have missed. I have picked a point to start (when Mel rejoins the Doctor and Ace), and plan to move forward from there. Here's a look at what's ahead.

214. A Life of Crime - p1

215. Fiesta of the Damned - p1

216. Maker of Demons - p1

226. Shadow Planet / World Apart - p1

227. The High Price of Parking - p1

228. The Blood Furnace - p1

229. The Silurian Candidate - p1

241. Red Planets - p2

242. The Dispossessed - p2

243. The Quantum Possibility Engine - p2

244. Warlock's Cross - p2

245. Muse of Fire - p2

250. The Monsters of Gokroth

251. The Moons of Vulpana

252. Werewolf in London

260. Dark Universe

261. The Psychic Circus

262. Subterfuge

270. Flying Dutchman / Displaced

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A LIFE OF CRIME: The Seventh Doctor's first companion was Melanie Bush. She traveled with Doctor through "Dragonfire," when Ace joined the TARDIS as the Doctor's second companion. Mel went off with intergalactic conman Sabalom Glitz, and Ace went on to have many adventures with the Doctor. By the time this story opens, Mel has parted ways with Glitz and has just arrived on Ricosta, a sort of "retirement planet" (with no extradition treaties) for a certain type of "business person." The first person Mel meets is a black woman who just happens to have possession of what Mel recognises as the Doctor's hat and umbrella.

The story flashes back to when the Doctor and Ace first arrive on this same planet. they become separated, and Ace catches up to the Doctor just in time to see him blasted from behind. She watches him regenerate and they are separated again. No fan is going to believe that the woman Mel meets is really the Doctor, but the story is presented in such a way that she could be. The mystery for the listener is to find out what's really going on. 

 Glitz has been loose-lipped concerning what he knows about the Doctor, Eventually word got to this woman, Gloria, who set up this elaborate scheme to convince Ace that she is the Doctor and to steal the TARDIS and have Ace pilot it. When Mel and Ace meet, they pick up right where they left off. Ace even calls Mel "Donut," apparently a detail from "Dragonfire" I don't recall. (Perhaps I need to watch it again.) But his is not necessarily the wide-eyed, naive Mel of previous stories. He time with Glitz has made her a bit hard-edged and cynical. 

The beauty of this story is that it's a great jumping on point for the Seventh Doctor's audio adventures. Due to "the relative nature of time," only a few months have past for Mel since she left the Doctor, but meanwhile he and Ace have had "a world of adventures." I choose to listen to these stories from Mel's POV, and if, at some point in the future, I decide to go back and listen to Ace's (or anyone else's) earlier adventures, I can worry about where to slot those at that time. At the end of this story, Mel has made a dangerous enemy in Gloria.I suspect we'll hear from her again.

FIESTA OF THE DAMNED: In search of "a taste of the real Spain," the TARDIS transports the doctor, Ace and Mel to 1938... in the midst of the Spanish Civil War. This is an historical, but not a "pure" historical as it deals with dead soldiers returning to life. Still, this audio taught me more about Generalissimo Francisco Franco than I ever learned on Saturday Night Live (or in school for that matter). It's might be difficult to find to companions more different than Mel and Ace, yet they mesh together surprisingly well. 

A couple of Ace questions:

1) What was her real name?

2) Was she good at chemistry?

3) Why do I picture her carrying a bat?

I've seen very little of the Seventh Doctor.

1)Dorothy (last name was never given on TV, EU sources give it as McShane.)

2)She was  good with explosives.

3)She carried a bat in "Remembrance of the Daleks"

Philip Portelli said:

A couple of Ace questions:

1) What was her real name?

2) Was she good at chemistry?

3) Why do I picture her carrying a bat?

I've seen very little of the Seventh Doctor.

Thanks! Ace will play a part in two future installments of my "Mystery In Suspense"!

The Baron said:

1)Dorothy (last name was never given on TV, EU sources give it as McShane.)

2)She was  good with explosives.

3)She carried a bat in "Remembrance of the Daleks"

Philip Portelli said:

A couple of Ace questions:

1) What was her real name?

2) Was she good at chemistry?

3) Why do I picture her carrying a bat?

I've seen very little of the Seventh Doctor.

MAKER OF DEMONS: The structure of this story is unusual in that it is a sequel to an untold story. It begins with the Doctor and Mel relating to Ace a story of one of their previous adventures. the action flashes back and forward until the listener is caught up, then the three visit the planet 100 years after the Doctor and Mel were there the first time. It takes the cliches of a planet with two indigenous races, one explaoiting the other, then turns them on their ear. 

SHADOW PLANET / WORLD APART: Most of Big Finish's DW monthly range are released in three disc sets. Sometimes they comprise an extended three-part story, sometime they are thematically linked, and sometimes they are standalones. But they almost always are grouped by Doctor (either 5,6 or 7).Also, they are almost always four-part stories. Back in April, May and June of 2017, however, BF released three sets of two two-parters each, each featuring a different Doctor: #224 - Alien Heart / Dalek Soul (Fifth Doctor and Nyssa); #225 - Vortex Ice / Cortex Fire (Sicth doctor and Flip); #226 - Shadow Planet / World Apart (Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex). 

Hex is a character who has a long and complex history at Big Finish. I don't know a lot about him, really (other than what I have gleaned online), but I know his mother traveled with the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn, in stories now no longer available (except as downloads) which I have not heard. I also know that Hex is dead. (Whoops... <b>SPOILER</b>.) These stories are set at some point in the past. however, just as #225's stories were set during Flip's initial tenure with the Sixth Doctor. I don't have the Fifth doctor and Nyssa stories.

As I indicated in my initial post to this discussion, I'm not going to concern myself to much about where to slot this story, especially since, in order to enjoy it, all one really needs to know is that the Seventh Doctor is traveling with two companions, Ace and Hex. Ace and Hex are attracted to each other and are somewhat flirtatious. 

In "Shadow Planet," the trio visits a therapy center on a psychic planet in which ones "shadow self" can be extracted from one's psyche and physically manifested so that one may confront it face-to-face. this happens to Ace and Hex, but the cumulative effect of the process is harming the planet itself. Only the Doctor (and his own shadow self, if you can imagine what that would be like) can combine forces to save the planet from those who would exploit it.

In "World Apart," Hex and Ace are separated from the Doctor. From their point of view it's months, but from the doctor's, decades. Near as I can tell, this story "foreshadows" the events leading to Hex's death.

THE HIGH PRICE OF PARKING: The Doctor, Mel and Ace visit the planet Dashra, which is known for its exceptional beauty, historical ruins, colorful skies and swirling sunsets, but it's also a tourist trap. It is so popular a destination, in fact, that visiting spaceships are not even allowed to land upon its surface. Instead they are shuttled from the planet's moon, an artificial satellite constructed specifically for that purpose, named "Parking." they fallow the rules and pay the fee, but as soon as they arrive they are accosted by the Wardens as being "Free Parkers." 

They don't even find out until the third episode what a "Free Parker" is. When the satellite was first built, centuries ago, it wasn't as well-run or organized as it is today. Oftentimes, people would forget where they parked, and it might take weeks or months or even years for them to find their spaceships. Some of them never did. It is "The Lost" who comprise a group of nomads endlessly searching "Parking" for their lost ships. A whole religion has even evolved about the mythical "First Ship" which, if found, will bring them... happiness, knowledge, contentment... whatever. These are the Free "Parkers," whose slogan and agenda is to "Free Parking."

Imagine a whole society based on living in a planet-sized parking garage! It's the kind of a concept that could work only in Doctor Who, really.

THE BLOOD FURNACE: Set in Liverpool, 1991. A shipyard has reopened, but something shady is going on. To tell you the truth, this one didn't really capture my attention. I liked Mel's character development, though. She meets up with an old boyfriend, for one thing. Also, on TV she was supposedly a computer expert but was never shown anywhere near a computer. (I think of her mainly as a carrot-juice sipping health nut.) "The Blood Furnace" gives her plenty to do computer-wise. 

THE SILURIAN CANDIDATE: The year is 2085 and the world is on the brink of war. then a scientist uncovers a hidden city and the Silurians are thrown into the mix. The Doctor comes to Earth specifically to resolve some unfinished business, but that "business" is apparently to restore control of the the earth to the Silurians. Story-wise, "The Silurian Candidate" follows right on from their classic TV appearances; technically, great pains were taken to restore the Pertwee era's Silurian voices.

In one scene, Mel attempts to learn Spanish from a foreign language tape, but the TARDIS keeps translating it for her. Later, the doctor uses a Spanish phrase which is not translated. when Mel questions him about it, he replies. "My ship, my rules."

This one held my interest more that "The Blood Furnace" did, and was therefore easier to follow.

(There was something else I wanted to say, but I can't remember what it is.)

So, set one year after "Warriors of the Deep".

Jeff of Earth-J said:

THE SILURIAN CANDIDATE: The year is 2085 and the world is on the brink of war. then a scientist uncovers a hidden city and the Silurians are thrown into the mix. The Doctor comes to Earth specifically to resolve some unfinished business, but that "business" is apparently to restore control of the the earth to the Silurians. Story-wise, "The Silurian Candidate" follows right on from their classic TV appearances; technically, great pains were taken to restore the Pertwee era's Silurian voices.

In one scene, Mel attempts to learn Spanish from a foreign language tape, but the TARDIS keeps translating it for her. Later, the doctor uses a Spanish phrase which is not translated. when Mel questions him about it, he replies. "My ship, my rules."

This one held my interest more that "The Blood Furnace" did, and was therefore easier to follow.

(There was something else I wanted to say, but I can't remember what it is.)

"So, set one year after 'Warriors of the Deep'."

Earth-time. ;)

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