REVIEW: BIG FINISH: JENNY — THE DOCTOR’S DAUGHTER

She’s got planets to save, civilisations to rescue, creatures to defeat… and an awful lot of running to do!

It’s difficult to believe the character of Jenny debuted in Doctor Who 10 years ago. Since then fans have wondered whatever happened to The Doctor’s daughter?

The character was rife for further exploration and it’s amazing the BBC never thought to bring her back.

Thankfully, we have Big Finish. They’ve taken the character and given her a range of her own.

The scripts are sharp, funny and perfectly honed. A lot of work and love has clearly gone into this box set. The stories are kinetic and full of real world allegories; which in lesser hands could’ve come across as clunky.

Georgia Tennant and Sean Biggerstaff have an instant chemistry as Jenny and Noah. A personal highlight, is the fact that they allow Jenny to be fun. She makes jokes, which work well and relives tension in scenes. The mystery surrounding Noah is intriguing and you finish the audios with even more questions about him.

Big Finish have done it again. The Doctor’s daughter is fantastic, a breath of fresh air. The theme music is epic. familiar but different. It perfectly encapsulates the Doctor’s nature in Jenny. The stories and the cast are engaging. The sound design is flawless.

Jenny-The Doctor’s daughter is firing on all cylinders. A perfect synergy between cast and crew. I’m practically begging for series 2.

Written By: Matt Fitton, John Dorney, Christian Brassington, Adrian Poynton

Directed By: Barnaby Edwards

Cast

Georgia Tennant (Jenny), Sean Biggerstaff (Noah), Siân Phillips (COLT-5000), Stuart Milligan (Garundel), Sarah Woodward (Vesh Taralesh), Clare Corbett (Lukaku), Arabella Weir (Angie Glazebrook), Silas Carson (Ood Leader), Rosalyn Landor (Vanessa Elledge), Olivia Darnley (Emily Cole), John Dorney (John Macguire), Pik-Sen Lim (Old Woman), Arina II (Shoon-Wei), Sara Houghton (Alitta), Paul Courtenay Hyu (Po), Adèle Anderson (Dreyda), Anthony Calf (Cal). Other parts played by members of the cast.

Producer: David Richardson
Associate Producer:Georgia Tennant
Script Editor:John Dorney, Matt Fitton
Executive Producers: Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

Big Finish review-Torchwood: We always get out alive

Gwen Cooper and Rhys Williams are on the run from a cataclysm. They’re the only survivors, and they’re driving away from the disaster as fast as they can. They’ve got to get away, they’ve got to warn the authorities, and they just can’t be late for the babysitter again.

Dim problem. After all, they’re Torchwood and they always get out alive. But this time there’s something in the car with them. Isn’t there?

This is actually a difficult audio to review, it’s an absolute joy to listen to. But, I really don’t want to reveal too much about the storyline.

We always get out alive, is another example of perfect synergy between writer and director.

Guy Adams and Scott Handcock have crafted an imaginative story, which in lesser hands could’ve been very boring. 98% of it is just Rhys and Gwen sitting in a car, but it’s gripping and epic-but at the same time keeping it a small, intimate story.

This is strong character driven piece, in which we get to know more about Gwen and Rhys’ family life.

Guy Adams truly delivers here, he uses the natural chemistry between Eve Myles and Kai Owen, the constrictive nature of being in a car and, the medium of audio, to the stories full advantage.

Once more the monthly Torchwood range delivers, this is a must-listen.

10/10.

Big Finish Review-Torchwood:Believe

The Church of the Outsiders believe that mankind is about to evolve, to reach out into the stars. Owen Harper believes that Torchwood has to do whatever it takes to stop them.

Ever since Big Finish obtained the licence to Torchwood, fans have wanted the original team in a full-cast audio and now, we have it. Sort of.

The full team are indeed back together, However the actors recorded their parts separately. For instance, John Barrowman lives in Palm Springs, California, so he recorded his side in America.

But, you can’t tell. It’s flawless. Your ears and your brains will fully believe the team are united and, it’s joyous.

Set someone before the end of series 2; Guy Adams perfectly manages to encapsulate that era. There were moments where I believed I was listening to a previously unreleased episode from 2008.

John Barrowman, Eve Myles, Burn Gorman, Naoko Mori and Gareth David-Lloyd all shine here. Each character gets a decent amount of time to develop, but I think my personal highlight is the Owen/Tosh relationship. Owen makes Tosh do unspeakable things, all whilst trying to prove he can lead a mission.

Prequel stories are notoriously difficult, there can’t be anything in the way of peril, for the original characters-we know their fate and, anyone new is likely to die, as they’re never mentioned in the main series.

However, such is the quality Guy Adams’ script and the performance of Gareth David-Lloyd, there was one moment in particular when I was genuinely concerned for Ianto.

2018 is shaping up to be a great year for Torchwood on audio. 10/10.

Written By: Guy Adams

Directed By: Scott Handcock

Cast

John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones), Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper), Burn Gorman (Owen Harper), Naoko Mori (Toshiko Sato), Mac McDonald (Steve Ross), Lois Meleri Jones (Andromeda), Mali Harries (Val Ross), Arthur Darvill (Frank Layton), Rhian Blundell (Erin), Chris Rankin (Val’s Assistant), Lloyd Meredith (Davey Russell), Jennifer Sims (Grey), Aled ap Steffan (Grey). Other parts played by members of the cast.

Torchwood contains adult material and may not be suitable for younger listeners.

Producer James Goss

Script Editor Steve Tribe

Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

Price: Out of stock

Review-Torchwood: The Death of Captain Jack

Torchwood: The Death of Captain Jack is difficult to review, without spoiling. So, I won’t be discussing the storyline.

This is an ambitious audio, from David Llewellyn who once again proves himself to be one of the greatest writers Torchwood has ever had. He perfectly manages to encapsulate the history of Jack and John and give the Torchwood franchise a fresh new spin, all within an hour-long adventure. It’s an absolute joy.

James Marsters absolutely shines as Captain John Hart and, instantly reminds us why he was so popular amongst Torchwood fans. He’s the perfect foil to John Barrowman’s Captain Jack.

There’s also a slight dig at Torchwood:Miracle Day.

Director Scott Handcock and producer James Goss have their awesomely unique style all over this release. Torchwood on Big Finish, is the best Torchwood has ever been. They just get it, it’s ambitious, it’s loud, it’s sexy and over the top. Which is just how it should be.

10/10.

Torchwood contains adult material and may not be suitable for younger listeners.

 

Review-The lives of Captain Jack

One of the most interesting character’s in Doctor Who’s history is, Captain Jack Harkness. The con man-come immortal-time traveling adventurer, with a wink and a swagger.

Altough we got to see more of the character in Torchwood, I’d always wanted a Captain Jack spin-off. I wanted to know what happened after The Doctor and Rose left him. Finally, Big Finish have answered that question.

The Year After I Died by Guy Adams.

As the title suggests, this story takes place a year after ‘The Parting of the Ways’. We’re presented with a very different Jack, he’s tortued, trying to lead a quiet life, he’s living alone and has shun human contact. He’s also trying to figure out how he survived the Dalek attack and why The Doctor and Rose abandoned him.the-year-after-i-died

His quiet life is turned upside down when a young reporter named Silo Crook (Shvorne Marks) comes investigating, he again finds himself tasked with saving humanity.

The Year After I Died’works extremely well as a direct sequel to ‘The Parting of Ways’. It builds on the story told in the series 1 finale, but doesn’t fall into to the sequel trap of telling the same story. As far as opening stories go, this is a great installment. John Barrowman shins in this, delivering the most subjude/reluctant version of captain Jack we’ve ever seen. This is a very well-written story, with great performances. I would like to see more set in this timeline.

9/10

Wednesday’s for Beginners by James Goss.

After reprising her role as Jackie Tyler for ‘The Ninth Doctor Chronicles’, Camille Codouri returns as everyone’s favourie mum.

The first 15 minutes focus on Jackie Tyler, as she pushes the story forward with monologue. We learn what happens when Rose is away and we experience the true pain and lonliness she feels, it’s heart breaking.wednesday

Soon after, she meets her “handsome American stalker” (Captain Jack) and the story really kicks into gear.

Jackie and Jack make a great duo, Barrowman and Coduri have chemistry to spare and clearly had a blast recording this. Fun and flirtacious inuendo are a bounded around and it’s an absolute joy to listen to.

Jackie’s feeling of isolation and loneliness really resonates and is perfectally juxtaposed with the adventure angle.

Deep down, this is a fun adventure that will have you howling with laughter.

8/10

One Enchanted Evening by James Goss.

This story takes place mere minutes after the Doctor leaves Jack in the bar in The End of Time’.

It turns out the Tenth Doctor wasn’t just trying to get the pair laid, he had an ulterior motive.evening

Jack and Alonso are both in dark places, Jack had just murdered his grandson, Steven, to save man kind and obviously feels a lot of guilt. Alonso had just walked off the Titanic, a broken man. Feeling he should have been braver, more like The Doctor.

The pair bond over the course of an hour, as they work to save a spaceship from being destroyed. The villain is voiced by Katy Manning, whois camping it up no end and clearly having the time of her life.

Although the villain feels very generic, character wise this is the best in the box set. Captain Jack and Midshipman Frame both help each other exorcise their demons.

This is a character driven story, that allows both characters the redemption they feel they need.

8/10.

Month 25 by Guy Adams.

This is the story we’ve spent 12 years waiting for. When we were first introduced to Captain Jack (12 years ago!) we learned he was a former time agent, with two years of his memory missing. Now, we’re finally getting some answers. We even learn his real name..month-25

I’m a long time fan of Guy Adam’s work with Big Finish, but this could well be his best story. It’s gripping spy/conspiracy drama, that some how manages to be laugh out loud funny. This is well-written and well acted. Barrowman perfectly manages to speak the way we imagine a twenty-something Captain Jack would speak.

9/10.

The Lives of Captain Jack’ is a remarkable set, which I highly recommend. John Barrowman delivers some absolutely stunning performances.

James Goss and Guy Adams have managed to take such a well-known character and find new ways to make him to grow and mature, as well as answering questions fans have had for well over a decade.

It’s a must have box set, let’s hope this becomes an annual release. Maybe Jack could even meet a certain Professor Song…

Price: £9.28
Was: £9.99
Price: £9.72
Was: £9.99

 

Big Finish review-The Tenth Doctor Adventures:Technophobia

For the past year Big Finish has released a number of audios connected to the modern series of Doctor Who, with the likes of Torchwood, The Churchill years , The War Doctor and The diaries of River Song. However, this is probably the most highly anticipated audio of 2016. Not only does it see the return of the extremely popular David Tennant, as the Tenth Doctor. It sees the return of fan favourite Catherine Tate, as Donna Noble. It also marks the first time Big Finish have been allowed to use a Doctor from ‘Nu-Who’.

Technophobia by Matt Fitton

It’s 2010 and The Doctor and Donna are in London to visit the Technology Museum. Things don’t go to plan and the TARDIS duo quickly find themselves in the thick of it.

Exhibits are attacking visitors, and  people across London are running scared of technology. The most brilliant mind in the UK, can no longer work a pencil. Below the streets of London, the Koggnossenti are plotting and waiting, poised to attack.

Long-time Big Finish writer, Matt Fitton has done it again. This is another outstanding audio from him. It must have been a daunting prospect, to pen the first new story for Tennant and Tate, and he bought his A-game.

Of the three, this is the most remiescent of the Russell T Davies era. Technophobia has the essence, wit, style and emotional substance of Series 4. But rather than try to sound like an episode from that era, Big Finish have found a way to take everything that worked in 2008 and craft it into their own vision.

Fitton also manages to subvert the “technology going wrong” genre. You think the story is going one way, when it goes an unexpected route. This has engaging supporting characters, witty dialogue and a captivating story. Fitton perfectly manages to capture the relationship between the Doctor and Donna.

Review:Torchwood-Zone 10 

One of the many things Big Finish excel at, is exploring characters that were some what underserved on the original show. In my mind, Toshiko Sato was one such character. She was my favourite, but I always felt there was more to tell. Luckily, Big Finish have given her a solo adventure with ‘Zone 10’. She’s free from the Hub and more importantly, the rest of the team.

Toshiko has been investigating a strange phenomenon, known as “The Pulse”. The pulse is a radio signal that has stumped scientists for over four decades. The Russians blame the Americans, the Americans blame the Russians. But up until now, nobody has been able to decipher it.

The pulse leads Tosh to Russia, where she teams up with Maxim Ivanov (Krystian Godlewski) of the KVI, Russia’s version of Torchwood. Together they enter the restricted region ‘Zone 10’.

This is an excellently written drama, David Llewyn has managed to further explore Toshiko, without undermining the way she was portrayed on TV.  It’s a bleak, but powerful and gripping drama. Full of gut-wrenching emotional moments.

The performances and direction and strong, the soundscape is amazing. Naoko Mori is clearly having a blast being back in Toshiko’s shoes, it’s like she has never been away.

Doctor Who: The Churchill Years

Reprising his performances during Matt Smith’s era of Doctor Who, Ian McNiece is back as Winston Churchill. Big Finish’s new box set departs from their well-honed format of unmediated aural adventures, with McNiece narrating as well as performing in each episode. The narration does cover a few bits that I felt it shouldn’t, notably an action sequence in the first story and the introduction of a famous historical figure in the third. I mention this to balance what I think has been a refreshing experience and a success overall.

Churchill’s narration includes recounting the words and actions of the first three new series Doctors. This has the brilliant effect of bringing the Christopher Eccleston Doctor to Big Finish, complete with the Ninth Doctor signature tune. As The Doctor changes, the title music changes. Across the stories one can spot the different speech patterns of each Doctor, even as related (and occasionally imitated) by McNiece.

There’s still plenty of full-cast audio action aboard, moved along nicely by the ‘companions’ of Churchill. As his new secretary, Hetty Warner (Emily Atack) leads many scenes apart from Winston and works well with both her employer and The Doctor. Kazran Sardick (Danny Horn) returns from Dr Who’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ and provides good contrast to the 20th century way in which Churchill reacts to being dropped into Roman Britain. In the final piece, another supporting artist from a Matt Smith Christmas special returns, Holly Earl As Lily Arwell. She looks after Winston at a particularly action-packed point in his twilight years.

The first story is the most conventional, with an alien object dropped into wartime Britain. The second shatters that mould as we find Churchill’s Black Dog – his controversial mental issues – woven into the story. In the third, Winston lives amid the subjects of his own historical books and the statesman’s fascination for butterflies is rolled rather surprisingly into the fourth adventure. Additionally, there’s a nice bit of Nick Briggs’ Dalek voice work in this set.

Doctor Who: The Churchill Years brought a delightful, fictionalised Sir Winston into my home over a couple of winter evenings. So pleasant was it that I might just sit down with Churchill’s own writing for just a bit more time with this true-life legend from long ago.

Review-Torchwood:Uncanny valley 

The tale of artificial intelligence is a stablemate of science fiction, but this is the first time the subject matter has been handled so maturely.

The adventure kicks of with Jack unexpectedly arriving at the home of reclusive billionaire/entrepreneur-celebrity, Neil Redmond.

Dubious of Jack’s intention, Richmond distrusts him until the good Captain drops some impossible knowledge. The duo then talk about the events that brought them both to the remote Welsh castle.

Richmond found himself wheelchair bound after being involved in a horrific car crash. A mysterious woman then persuaded him to purchase a company that make “living dolls”. He was then gifted an avatar of himself, which he christened NJ-which would appear at press conferences on his behalf.

Writer David Llewellyn proves again that he can handle Torchwood. this is a mature think piece with non-gratuitous adult moments. In other words, this is Torchwood at its best. It’s quintessential listening.

John Barrowman slips back into Captain Jack’s RAF Greatcoat with ease, he knows this character inside and out. He could do this in his sleep. Special mention must go to Steven Cree (Outlander). He is entirely convincing in his dual roles as Neil and NJ.

I’ve enjoyed each of the Torchwood audios, for different reasons. Each one has scratched a different sort of itch. If you haven’t tried a Big Finish audio before, I recommend jumping on board with this range.

Price: £9.28
Was: £9.99

Review-Jago & Litefoot & Strax-The Haunting

Earlier this year Big Finish obtained the rights to use Nu-Who characters. Which means we will soon see classic Doctors battle new monsters, the Fifth Doctor will meet the weeping Angels, the Eighth Doctor will have an adventure with River Song etc.

Fans have long speculated that Jago and Litefoot could conceivably run into the Paternoster Gang. And given the similar nature of their work, it is a lovely thought that the former associates of the Doctor would cross paths. I’m still waiting for a Torchwood/Unit cross over.

We join Jago and Litefoot as they investigate a spate of murders, where the victims brains have been removed. Meanwhile Strax is on the trail of an alien power source, which leads him to the Red Tavern.

The plot is fairly basic and echoes a lot of the Jago and Litefoot range. But what it lacks in plot, it makes up for with fun; a lot of comedy stems form  Strax’s misunderstanding of human gender and Victorian equate, which puts him at odds with gentleman investigators Jago and Litefoot.

The cast are strong and the direction is flawless. This is an enjoyable listen, that will please fans of the Paternoster gang as well as fans of Jago and Litefoot.