Doctor Who: The Third Doctor Adventures

The natural impulse for genre fans granted new material, before they’ve even enjoyed it, is to put it on the shelf. Its ability to ‘fit in’ seems so important at first but why would we want exactly what we have? What we get with these Third Doctor Adventures isn’t a lonely replay of a dusty videocassette. It’s the fresh sound of a graduate Doctor.

From Peter Davison to David Tennant we’ve seen our favourite performers return in victory laps on audio that have become regular gigs. The actors don’t sound quite like they did on telly but before long the wonder of the experience takes over. Suddenly we’re not reliving the past; we’re experiencing a special sort of future.

The occasional sibilant ‘s’ of Jon Pertwee’s Doctor, the easy confidence, that delightful vocal texture, they’re all there but so is Tim Treloar. The Welsh actor has certainly taken on the southeast England style of Jon Pertwee but most importantly, he’s gone beyond the skill of the impressionist to give us a character that fits right in with the remarkable animal that is this 21st century return to the Pertwee years.

Alongside are Katy Manning as Jo Grant and Richard Frankin as Mike Yates. Having been delighted with their performances as Iris Wildthyme and the retired Captain Yates, it was lovely to hear them cast their voices back a few decades into the characters that made them famous. Of course, we’re getting a graduate Classic Jo and a graduate Classic Yates but this should be no surprise (or worry) to regular listeners to Big Finish audio drama.

Before long, The Doctor is disturbing the room as he upbraids a bureaucrat, Jo is making battle armour out of her faith in him and Yates is, well, getting chances to be more heroic than ever. Big Finish is generous like that. And the gap in the shelf behind me is forgotten completely.

Having dropped five paragraphs on why things shouldn’t slavishly imitate our best loved Pertwee adventures, I must mention that the music is absolutely spot on. Prisoners of the Lake has the musical style of The Sea Devils but with a very welcome melodic quality and Havoc of Empires has a Dudley Simpson style with friendly tones evocative of the Third Doctor’s first serial on TV.

The only true oddity is the narration sprinkled throughout the stories which might have been Big Finish treading carefully, couching Treloar as both narrator and Doctor. They needn’t have bothered but certain action sequences play quite well narrated, whereas in dialogue the characters would have had to illustrate the action for us in odd sorts of ways.

Big Finish know well each era of classic Doctor Who and their output is forward-thinking, waxing creative and progressive in precisely the areas of the old series that we’d like expanded or redressed. The Third Doctor Adventures continue this trend. Roll on, Doctor Treloar!

Doctor Who: The Third Doctor Adventures at Big Finish

Check out our other Big Finish reviews.

Review-Big Finish: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz 

Following their successful adaptations of genre classics such as Dorian Gray and Frankenstein, Big Finish have now produced an audio adventure based Frank Baum’s The World of Oz.

After a tornado hits her home in Kansas, Dorothy and her dog Toto find themselves in the magical Land of Oz.

The house sets down in Munchkin land and accidentally kills the Wicked Witch of the East, by landing on her.

Dorothy and Toto then embark on an epic journey to find the only person who can help them return home, the legendary Wizard of Oz.
They quickly make friends with a brainless Scarecrow, a heartless Tin Man and cowardly Lion. Realising they all want to see the Wizard, the group travel together.

Sadly for Dorothy, The Wicked Witch of the West is seeking revenge for the death of her sister.

Frank Baum’s original novel differs greatly from the 1939 MGM musical and, adaptations of either tend to go two ways, they’re either very faithful, or they try to be edgy and new. Marc Platt has opted to faithfully adapted L. Frank Baum’s original novel.

The performances are all top-notch, Ally Doman shines as Dorothy, as do Stuart Milligan as Oz, Rachel Atkins as The Wicked Witch of the West, and Big Finish regular, Dan Starkey as the Monkey Captain.

Oz purists will love this.

Big Finish review-The Yes Men

The Yes Men is the first in a new four part series of full cast audio stories called ‘Early Adventures’. These adventures are focusing on the second Doctor and his various different companions.

Fan favourite Frazer Hines reprises his role as Jamie and also plays The Second Doctor. Anneke Wills acts as narrator as well as reprises her role as Polly.
As Michael Craze sadly passed away in the late nineties, the role of Ben Jackson has been recast with Elliot Chapman.

The story starts with the Doctor wanting to visit his old friend Meg Carvossa, on the Earth colony of New Houston. Shortly after arriving, team TARDIS find that Meg has died in a mysterious way. That’s not the only problem, the helper robots have started acting a bit shifty.

What follows is a suspenseful tale of suspicion and death.

I know a lot of hardcore fans are unhappy with the recasting of pivotal roles, I am not one of them. I want Early era Big Finish stories and this is the only way we’re going to get them.

Elliot Chapman is phenomenal as Ben. It’s as if Michael Craze never left us, Chapman plays the role with the upmost respect for Craze, yet he also manages to make the role his own. The result is mesmerising.
I’m a huge fan of Frazer Hines, so I hate to type this. But, I don’t rate his turn as The Second Doctor. He can do a really decent impression of Patrick Troughton but that doesn’t really work for a 2hr audio play.
Other than that, everything else is up to the high standards we’ve come to expect from Big Finish. The script is solid, the direction is flawless and the music adds to the atmosphere. Stephen Critchlow is excellent as the mono toned Yes Men.

I look forward to hearing what the next set of Early Adventures brings us, but I’m especially intrigued to see what Elliot Chapman does with Ben Jackson.

Episode 143:Torchwood-The Conspiracy 

In which Martyn and Gerrod review the first of the new Torchwood range, by Big Finish.

*The review contains mild spoilers*

Captain Jack Harkness has always had his suspicions about the Committee. And now Wilson is also talking about the Committee. Apparently the world really is under the control of alien lizards. That’s what Wilson says. People have died, disasters have been staged, the suspicious have disappeared.

It’s outrageous.

Only Jack knows that Wilson is right. The Committee has arrived.

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

Next episode includes interviews with Verne Troyer, Ray Panthanki and Adeel Akhtar.

The podcast can be accessed via different places, including Audioboom, Player fm and Itunes.

Follow the Bad Wilf team:

Martyn – @BadWilf

Pete – @BeeblePete

Gerrod – @gerrod_edward

Also check out the official Bad Wilf Vlog.

Price: £9.21
Was: £9.99

Review- Big Finish:Terror of the Sontarans

Terror of the Sontarans concludes the trilogy of main range stories for the Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) and Mel (Bonnie Langford).

The adventure takes place on a mining facility, which is now acting as a Sontaran research base. The Doctor and Mel are responding to a distress beacon and have arrived to find the base seemingly empty. Deep down in the depths of the facility, they stumble across the original crew, whom are being held prisoner.

Something is picking the crew off one-by-one and even the Sontarans are running scared.

I’ll admit, I am one of the Doctor Who fans that doesn’t like how the Sontarans have been handled on the TV series recently. But, with this the writers have found an intriguing balance between the seriousness of the classic Sontarans and the silliness of modern Sontarans and the end result is a perfect blend of the two ideologies.

Bonnie Langford and Sylvester McCoy are flawless here, they sound exactly the same as they did in the 80’s, at times it’s as if they’ve just finished recording an episode for the BBC and entered the recording booth for Big Finish.

Langford really suffered on the TV series, but Big Finish have given her some solid material, that really allows her to shine. She is fast becoming my favourite Big Finish companion.

The direction is also spot-on, by the ever-reliable Ken Bentley.

Big Finish have been consistently good this year, I  can’t wait for 2016.

 

 

Audio Review-We are the Daleks

We are the Daleks kicks off a band new era for Big Finish, after 200 releases they’ve decided to draw a line in the sand and provide a fresh jumping on point for new listeners.

Each Doctor will be heading up a new trilogy of stories, first up is the Seventh Doctor and Mel.

The year is 1987, and Britain is divided. In Bradford, strikers are picketing and clashing with the police. In the City of London, stockbrokers are drinking champagne and politicians are courting the super-rich. The mysterious media mogul Alek Zenos, head of the Zenos Corporation, is offering Britain an economic miracle. His partners wish to invest – and their terms are too good to refuse.

While the Doctor investigates Warfleet, a new computer game craze that is sweeping the nation, Mel goes undercover to find out the truth about Zenos’s partners.

The Daleks have a new paradigm. They intend to conquer the universe using economic power. The power of the free market!

This is a great place to jump on. It’s an old school Dalek story that works on multiple levels – it feels familiar, yet new. It pays homage to previous Dalek stories of that era. It also takes a satirical look at Thatcherism and the “greed is good” campaign.

McCoy shines in this, he’s my favourite classic era Doctor-he’s my Doctor. His final speech to the Daleks is chilling, it’s is up there with Matt Smith’s speech in the Pandorica Opens/Big Bang.

What’s also great about Big Finish is that they’ve managed to give characters a second chance. Bonnie Langford was extremely underserved on the TV series. Producer JNT wanted her to play Mel as Violet Elizabeth Bot. Big Finish have unlocked the potential of Mel Bush, they’ve turned her into the companion she should have been on TV.

This is a multi-layered story about ambition, greed and the exclusion of all that’s decent. There’s also a dig at Michael Fish. This is a great start to the new era of Big Finish.

Price: £10.49
Was: £14.99

Episode 58: Animal and Earth Aid

Martyn and Pete look at the Big Finish audios Animal and Earth Aid.

The podcast can be accessed via different places, including Audioboom, Player fm and Itunes.

Follow the Bad Wilf team:

Martyn – @BadWilf

Pete – @BeeblePete

Gerrod – @gerrod_edward

Also check out the official Bad Wilf Vlog.


Episode 57: Crime of the Century

In which Martyn and Pete look at the Big Finish production Crime of the Century.

The podcast can be accessed via different places, including Audioboom, Player fm and Itunes.

Follow the Bad Wilf team:

Martyn – @BadWilf

Pete – @BeeblePete

Gerrod – @gerrod_edward

Also check out the official Bad Wilf Vlog.

Episode 55: Thin Ice

In which Pete and Martyn are joined by the wonderful Phil from the Who’s He Podcast. They discuss the SFX Weekender, the Big Finish audio Thin Ice and the Official Doctor Who Convention (Martyn will be there).

The podcast can be accessed via different places, including Audioboom, Player fm and Itunes.

Follow the Bad Wilf team:

Martyn – @BadWilf

Pete – @BeeblePete

Gerrod – @gerrod_edward

Also check out the official Bad Wilf Vlog.

Who’s He Podcast: whos-he.co.uk
Phil: @whos_he_podcast

Doctor Who audio review: The Sirens of Time

In practice, the story’s shape gets in the way. Gallifrey is in a state of crisis, facing destruction at the hands of an overwhelming enemy. And the Doctor is involved in three different incarnations – each caught up in a deadly adventure, scattered across time and space. The web of time is threatened – and someone wants the Doctor dead. The three incarnations of the Doctor must join together to set time back on the right track – but in doing so, will they unleash a still greater threat? (synopsis)

In The Sirens of Time, fan service is performed to a five-star degree. In the first moment of Part One, a Gallifreyan tannoy voice delivers an alert in accurate, Deadly Assassin style. The meeting of the Doctors’ minds later on is a good mix of the sound heard in The Three Doctors and something better suited to accompany the memory flashbacks that the three share.

Each of the three Doctors get an episode to themselves then converge in the conclusion. In practice, this story structure is a bit disorienting. The three short pieces don’t get much time to develop before the fourth on Gallifrey gets into gear. Although the plot seems to have no holes it doesn’t come together in the way I imagine the makers hoped.

Doctor Who is usually better for me in reruns and this was no exception. Doubtless most of the actors will have completely forgotten having done this job but that’s fine with me; they’ve left behind some good performances. I hope they had some laughs and maybe earned a penny or two because my side of the equation’s worked out pretty well.

Check out the trailer.