I remember when the Sixth Doctor began traveling with Constance Clarke. It seemed like a really good jumping on point to me, however I was still a ways away from completing my Eighth Doctor collection, a priority at the time. Constance’s first adventure with the Doctor was “Criss-Cross” (Sep 2015), but her first actual appearance was the month before, part of “The Last Adventure” box set, which I did listen to. With my Eighth Doctor collection now long since complete, I am finally prepared to move forward with the Sixth Doctor and Constance. Here’s a look at what’s ahead…
204. Criss-Cross - p1
205. Planet of the Rani - p1
206. Shield of the Jötunn - p1
218. Order of the Daleks - p1
219. Absolute Power - p1
220. Quicksilver - p2
225. Vortex Ice / Cortex Fire - p2
231. The Behemoth - p2
232. The Middle - p2
233. Static - p2
238. The Lure of the Nomad - p2
239. Iron Bright - p3
240. Hour of the Cybermen - p3
246. The Hunting Ground - p3
253. Memories of a Tyrant - p
254. Emissary of the Daleks - p
255. Harry Houdini's War - p
259. Blood on Santa's Claw - p
I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day & Brightly Shone the Moon that Night - So last week, I listened to "I Wish it Could be Christmas Every Day" on Thursday. The Doctor and Peri land on a space station on which a christmas party has been going on continuously for three years. I get to the point of the climactic reveal, that everyone on the station is a prisoner, then I get home and stop listening. when i get back in the car, all of a sudden the prisoners are werewolves, and the story doesn't end, it just stops. Tracy took the day off Friday so I didn't listen to the end until today, four days later.
It was then I realized that I had somehow skipped over the end of the third story as well as the beginning of the fourth. The "werewolves" are actually Were-Lords, which is exactly what it sounds like (Time Lords who are also werewolves). But they can only regererate from humanoid form to lupine and back again, over and over. there is a device buried on the moon which controls their transformations, so they are kind of "science" werewolves.
There is a big reveal tied to a plot point from "The Baby Awakes" which I purposefully glossed over (because I didn't like it). When Peri and Joe went to the Ishtar Institute, they were not only posing as prospective parents, offspring were actually produced using their genetic material. Inexplicably, their children turned into wolf-like creates and ran off into the forest. It turns out that Joe himself is a Were Lord and has been controlling the flight of the TARDIS through the auxiliary control room.
I don't know how I skipped over those two chapters and why I thought I was at the end of the third story when I wasn't, but I wish I hadn't. One of these days I'll go back and re-listen to these stories in their entirety, but I'm not in the mood to now.
This morning I listened to part four after dropping Tracy off at work; this afternoon I listened to the interviews before picking her up. Oftentimes at Big Finish, these short story collections are parceled out to new writers. I was going to mention that because I recognized only one of the four writers names, but ultimately decided not to because it's not all that interesting. I should have paid more attention to those unfamiliar names, though: "Alan Terigo" (alter ego), "Susan Dennon" (pseudonym) and "Andrew Lias" (alias). Turns out that all four of the stories were written by Nev Fountain.
His pitch was to write three stories in which the Doctor seemed to make all the right decisions, but it wouldn't be until the fourth that those decisions would come back to bite him on the arse. The thought was, if all four stories were known to be written by the same author, listeners might expect them to be tied together in some way. Also, the "Christmas" element was not decided upon until after the scripts had been completed. Although they were more or less "tacked on," they did help to enhance the individual stories and provide a "theme" to misdirect the listener's attention. It certainly worked with me!
Also, I learned from the interviews that this is, in fact, Joe's first appearance. His backstory (an '80s rock musician Peri met at "Top of the Pops") is just that... merely antecedent action. Well done, Nev Fountain!