Doctor Who – May Titles from Big Finish

So things have been unseasonably busy here in Geeksville, so please forgive the lack of updates.

Let’s get right to it with Big Finish’s Doctor Who offerings for May. (June’s release will be

It was a triple offering with titles featuring the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Doctors in the various full cast titles this month, so we really got out Doctor on this month.

As a whole, I have been impressed by the Tom Baker series, even though I felt they started slow, and now we have reached the penultimate story of this first full season, things have really stepped up a notch.

Trail of the White Worm brings the Doctor (Tom Baker) and Leela (Louise Jameson) back to rural England in the 1970’s, where all those great early stories that Tom Baker had, Seeds of Doom, Terror of the Zygons, and The Android Invasion. and of course it features the return of the Master (Geoffrey Beevers).

Also like those old stories, there is a great balance of humor and action.  While I felt Baker’s performance in Destination Nerva, was a little silly, here I feel he’s finally The Doctor I remember from 1977.  Sure, he has a dark humor about him, but not as buffoonish and tongue in cheek as he was at the beginning of these series.  And with such a strong cast around him really has him bringing up his A-Game.

Geoffrey Beevers certainly has fun returning to the character he only played once on television, in 1981’s The Keeper of Traken. It is great to hear him alongside Tom Baker again.  Beevers has played the Master for Big Finish before though (They found a way to have him return to the part as the contemporary version of the character along side the 7th Doctor) this story is set between the Deadly Assassin and Keeper of Traken in the Master’s timeline.

This 50 minute story by Alan Barnes (Storm Warning, Neverland, among others) moves briskly and has a fine supporting cast. Rachael Stirling, an actress I am surprised hasn’t appeared in the new series, plays Demesne Furze, a woman with a very surprising secret.   Helping the Master is Colonel Spindleton, played by Michael Cochrane. The Colonel is also a throwback to those early 70’s Doctor Who UNIT baddies, a human who has decided he doesn’t like what has happened to his England, and believes that allying himself with the Master, will help him bring it about.

Of course, like many of the his early appearance’s (When he was played by Roger Delgado, opposite  Jon Pertwee), the Master has brought along some extra terrestrial support, which aren’t revealed, but are left as a cliffhanger, setting up the next adventure, the season finale. The Oseidon Adventure.  Due out in June.

Rating A-

In the Main Range release, The Jupiter Conjunction, a comet is hurdling towards the Earth, and the Doctor can’t stop it.

Of course he isn’t trying to, because this comet isn’t going to hit the Earth. It’s just going about it’s orbit as it always does. racing back and forth between the outer and inner system.

I love the concept of this story, humans in the 24th century using a comet to transport freight and passengers between Jupiter and Earth.   It feels like a story they really would have done in the 80’s.  Of course where ever the TARDIS shows up, you know there’s going to be trouble

Eddie Robson’s script takes the standard Doctor Who formula, and uses it to all it’s strengths.  These large TARDIS crew stories are always tricky, balancing the story, making sure everyone has something interesting to do. (something they didn’t always do back on TV, remember how Nyssa slept through Kinda?)  I feel that this recent 3 play series (along with the previous, Emerald Tiger, and the upcoming Butcher of Brisbane) has done a very good job and giving everyone equal time, and story attention.

This story is not as inventive as the Emerald Tiger, but it is entertaining, with a talented guest cast, particularly Ellie Burrow and Zoe Lister.  The whole cast was good, as to be expected with a Big Finish Production.  I found John Cummins American(?) accent an interesting choice.  Unlike Doctor Who regular Nicola Bryant, there were times when I not completely convinced.  But I am sure there have been plenty of times a Brit has watched an American give a performance with an pisspoor accent.

So in all, a positive recommendation for The Jupiter Conjunction, especially for Davison fans, as it’s always great to hear him, alongside Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton, and Mark Strickson.

Rating B

Oh, you can get the first Episode of the next story, the Butcher of Brisbane, for free, by downloading the Big Finish Podcast, here)

The Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) and Peri (Nicola Bryant) return in the “Lost Stories” range’ The Guardians of Prophecy

The Lost Stories series focuses on scripts and stories that were in various stages of development when they were abandoned.

Of course the most famous of these were the original 23rd Season featuring the 6th Doctor and Peri (which was lost the show was put on hiatus back in 1986) and the 27th Season, which would have featured the 7th Doctor and and a new companion, Raine, had the series not been cancelled in 1989.   After those two seasons were featured in the first two series of lost stories.  I figured that would be it, but the producers at Big Finish continue to dig up more unproduced stories (some that never made it past the outline phase) from the original writers of the 80’s series.

The Guardians of Prophecy, as it turns out, was a follow up to The Keeper of Traken.  Of course as fans know, Traken, the home of Nyssa, was destroyed by the Master in Logopolis.

Welcome to Serenity, the last surviving outpost of the Traken Union.

The events of  this story have little to do with previous Traken story, though, other than the inclusion of the Melkur. See the worlds of the Traken Union were so good, and so peaceful, when evil came to it, they were overwhelmed and rendered immobile, becoming like stone statues.

In Prophecy, The Doctor and Peri find  out what happens when a world with hundreds of Melkurs, trapped suddenly becomes less than ideal peaceful location.

The guest cast here  features the actor who originally voiced the Melkur, Graham Cole.  Of course there, the Melkur was only a puppet being used by the Master.  Here the Melkur gets to act on his own accord.  Cole pulls double duty too, here also playing Ebbko, Master Thief, the man who can get around any security system.

This is a story that I think worked much better as an audio than it would have as episode 25 years ago.  The scope of the story, both in size and in content, certainly would have pushed the production staff’s capabilities on the meager budget the show had back then.

Rating B+

About David Vandervliet

Once, King of all these lands, but now I am just an aging nerd. I enjoy talking about my favorite things to geek about, and hopefully I say something to make you think a little too. My favorite things include: Comics, Doctor Who, Star Wars, Star Trek, Science, Astronomy, Math, Music, theatre, movies, writing, baseball, college football (Go Blue!)
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