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
270. Flying Dutchman / Displaced
RED PLANETS: This story is set in an alternate 2017, one in which Berlin was bombed in 1961. The Doctor remembers the true timeline, but Mel remembers the alternate history. (Actually, she remembers them both, for reasons that become clear.) "Meanwhile," Ace has been separated and is (guess where?): Berlin, 1961.
Sophie Allred seems to be a much bigger fan of the show than most other actors are of their series. In the "extras" sections, she is able to authoritatively discuss where her episodes fall in the the Seventh Doctor's relative timeline, and she is able to refer to her television episodes by name.
Bonnie Langford, as I mentioned once before, is much happier with her role at Big Finish as opposed to on television. She told the story that she signed on for a single season and figured that was it. When the season was over and she was asked if she wanted to come back, she had already committed to her next acting gigs.
THE DISPOSSESSED: This is the closest Doctor Who has come to battling zombies. It was okay, but it's been several days since I finished it and it didn't really stick with me. I really like this pairing of doctor and companions, but most of the stories so far have been less than memorable.
"What was her real name?"
"Dorothy (last name was never given on TV, EU sources give it as McShane)"
"McShane" is canon at Big Finish.
THE QUANTUM POSSIBILITY ENGINE: If Big Finish audios are hit and miss, this one is definitely a hit. It starts out with Mel apparently betraying the doctor and Ace by turning the TARDIS over to the newly elected President of the Solar System, Josiah W. Dogbolter, to pay off her debts. Dogbolter is a humanoid frog-like being who dates back to one of the Sixth Doctor's early (audio) adventures with Frobisher. That episode was part of my large HPB haul last January, but I haven't listened to it yet. Dogbolter is played to suggest Sydney Greenstreet, and his subordinate Peter Lorre. Another character, a politician/military ambassador/PR person responds to every question three times... once positive, once negative, once neutral... in order to control the narrative when released publicly later.
Also in the cast is Narvin, from countless Gallifrey and Time War and other previous stories. Ace knows him (from Gallifrey), but this story is obviously pre-Time War. Dogbolter has a "Quantum Possibility engine" and the Captain Regent of the Krasi wants it. when it is activated, reality is shattered and re-arranged. Ace is now a police officer with a serious boyfriend, and the Doctor is now a "cleaner" (a janitor). It's difficult to summarize, but this has been one of my favorite Seventh Doctor, Mel and Ace adventures so far.
Actually, Josiah Dogbolter originated in the Fifth Doctor comic strips in Doctor Who Monthly, back in 1983.
Ah. Thank you.
WARLOCK'S CROSS: I should have guessed, but I didn't realize until I listened to the commentary track: the is the third part of a "Three Doctor Crossover" [part one being #237. "The Heliax Rift" (Fifth Doctor) and part two being "Hour of the Cybermen" (Sixth Doctor)]. No wonder I was confused! I generally like crossovers of this nature, but I need to be aware of them in advance. I have already listened to part two (see "The Sixth Doctor, Mel and Ace" discussion), but have never heard (and have no plans to purchase*) part one at this point. Maybe a Time Lord could keep track of storylines across centuries, but I have trouble tacking them even across months.
*I have long since learned that it behooves one to make purchases, not on impulse, but to let a few future releases "build up" because of BF's "per order" charge (about $20 depending on the ROE). Besides. one's CC is not charged until the item ships. The only downside of that is that, if one doesn't received mothly shipments, one misses out on the (free) monthly Vortex magazines. BF must have a backlog of Vortex (due, I assume, to COVID 19) because a checkout option is the latest four issues for one cent. Because I rarely get monthly shipments anymore (not due to COVID but due to my ordering practices), I ordered four issues of Vortex for a penny. Luckily I was paying attention because, due to (I guess) some sort of "per item" charge," my total shot up 12 bucks! Screw that! I like reading Vortex, but I won't pay 12 bucks for fopur "free" issue! (Besides, they're available online.)
MUSE OF FIRE: This is an historical set in 1920s Paris. the doctor is traveling with Ace and Hex. (I don't know a whole lot about Hex, but I'm not going to worry about it.) Instead of the well-known artists and writers the Doctor expected to find (Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, etc.), they have all disappeared for one reason or another. (Hex meets Salvador Dali throwing his paintings in the Thames.) Also in the cast is Iris Wildthyme (Katy Manning), another character I know little about. I think of Katy Manning as Jo Grant, but she plays Iris Wildthyme so differently (and with such verve!) that, if I didn't know Mannig was playing the role I wouldn't have guessed. I think Iris is a Timelord, but I'm not 100% certain of that. In any case, she fulfils the function of a sort of female Monk, in that she's a "Time Meddler" who doesn't take the consequences very seriously. Manning has played Iris Many times for Big Finish, but I have heard only one of them. I don't know if the character originated on audio or in the comics or the novels or what, but her traveling companion is a sentient, two-foot tall stuffed panda.
The "point of view" characters are an aspiring young poet from the United States and his fiance, whose father is financing their trip. The young man becomes involved with a veiled woman who runs an eccentric bookshop, Dora Muse. Beneath the veil, she looks like an abstract painting by Pablo Picasso. (Actually, Picasso once painted her portrait and simply painted what he saw.) Iris Wildthyme is apparently maneuvering great artists and writers away from Paris and replacing them with mediocre talents (such as our POV character.
[SPOILERS] It turns out that Dora Muse actually feeds one the creative energy of the writers and artists, and Iris is trying to save them. Iris apparently gives her life to set things right, but it is revealed in the end (to listeners) that she actually survived.
THE MONSTERS OF GOKROTH: This one is a sequel to TV's "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy" and reintroduces Mags, a werewolf. I wish I would have known that before I started listening. I would have re-watched the original to refresh it in my memory. Jessica Martin reprises her role from 30+ years ago. The story takes place near the end of the Seventh Doctor's timeline. I don't know where Mel and Ace are. At the end, Mags joins the Doctor as his companion.
Supposedly, if the TV show had continued past "Survival", the plan was for it to be revealed that the Doctor was training Ace up to become a Time Lord, adding fresh blood to Gallifrey. I've no idea what Ace's final fate was in the audio stories.
The only Seventh Doctor and Ace stories i have heard are those in this discussion (not many, really). I don't have a clear idea of the Seventh Doctor's timeline beyond television, but I think "The Monsters of Gokroth" takes place after the stories I began this thread to discuss. Regarding Ace being a "Time Lord in training," the Doctor is training her to fly the TARDIS by herself.