Big Finish review-The Siege of Big Ben

Jackie Tyler has everything she’s ever wanted: a loving husband and two children. But a terrible, far-reaching plan is underway, and only Jackie and a single friend stand in the way of it.

But the Doctor isn’t the man he was…

The Siege of Big Ben is a highly anticipated release. Ever since we left the Tylers and the meta-crisis tenth Doctor at the end of series 4, (10 years ago!) fans have wondered what happened next. Thankfully, Big Finish has given us some answers with this release.

This can’t have been an easy thing to write. Not only did Joe Lidster have to tell a gripping story that lives up to the fans expectations. He had to re-introduce us to the parallel Earth, or “Pete’s world”.

A base under siege scenario is a stablemate for Doctor Who. But Lidster manages to beautifully subvert what could be a repetitive format and turn it into a glorious character piece.

The script draws parallels between The Doctor being more human, and the human, being more like The Doctor we know and love. Having Jackie be the most Doctor-like character in the story adds an interesting dynamic.

The script is sharp, the direction is smooth and David Roocroft’s sound design is inspired. All in all, The Siege of Big Ben is a story about love, loss and the difficulties that come with moving on. You feel all of these things whilst listening. Camille Coduri oozes charm and instantly reminds you, why we all love Jackie Tyler.

This world is waiting for further exploration and I hope, this leads to some full-cast adventures.

10/10.

The Siege of Big Ben can be purchased here.

Big Finish review-Torchwood: Goodbye Piccadilly

Sgt Andy Davidson wakes up in the 1950s. He’s chained to a bed, his clothes are missing and the building’s on fire. Norton Folgate needs his help. The streets of Soho are swarming with gangsters, rumours and betrayals. Somewhere out there is a mysterious alien artefact, and Andy and Norton have to get to it first. Because tonight they’re going to save Torchwood.

I’ve been looking forward to another adventure with Andy and Norton, since last year’s Ghost Mission. There’s just something about this pairing that works so well.

Goodbye Piccadilly is absolutely gripping, from start to finish, the script is sensational. The direction is smooth, the sound design is flawless. Tom Price, Samuel Barnett and the supporting cast all give pitch-perfect performances.

What’s great about this audio, is that all of the London events-bar the alien invasion and the time travel, are real.

James Goss took his research for this story extremely seriously, he looked at books such as ‘hidden London’ for inspiration and it shows. The life drawing class, the police raids and, gay men being hosed down are all things that actually happened in the 1950’s.

Big Finish has once again proved that Torchwood Big Finish, is Torchwood at its best.

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

Price: £10.15
Was: £13.95

Class is back in session

Class is back in session – on audio, from Big Finish.

Some readers may know, that this weekend I was lucky enough to interview three of the cast members, whom hinted to me they had signed up to reprise their roles on Big Finish.

The news has now been confirmed, after subscription copies of the new Doctor Who Magazine were sent out early.

The Class range will comprise of two new box sets of adventures.

The original cast; Grey Austin, Fady Elsayed, Sophie Hopkins, Vivian Oparah, Jordan Renzo and, Katherine Kelly will all be reprising their roles. However, they’ll be joined by Sophie Aldred as Ace. They will also face off against some Daleks.

The six stories are by Roy Gill, Jenny T Colgan, Scott Handcock, Tom Foley, Guy Adams, and Tom Leng.

The series will be directed by Scott Handcock. Music will be by the series’ TV composer Blair Mowat.

These audios will be set during the series and will not be resolving the cliffhanger.

I wasn’t really a fan of Class on TV, I felt it didn’t truly live up to its potential. However, I’m excited for this. Big Finish have proved themselves time and time again, I’m confident they’ll make Class the series it should’ve been.

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: £26.61
Was: £30.00

REVIEW:BIG FINISH-Torchwood-The Last Beacon

In Torchwood: The Last Beacon. A signal in a Welsh mountain is calling an ancient battlefleet to Earth. Owen Harper and Ianto Jones head up into the Brecons to stop it.

This story is lighter in tone, than most of the Torchwood stories, in the Big Finnish range. It’s also probably the funniest. This is a buddy comedy. The pairing of Owen and Ianto is an inspired idea. The story pits them against each other, they’re in a small Welsh community-Ianto is in his element. These are his people, whilst Owen is a fish out of water, the locals take an instant distrust to him. Having Owen on the ropes, allows for some deeper character exploration for this mis-matched pair.

Torchwood on Big Finish, is Torchwood at its best and The Last Beacon is quintessentially Big Finish Torchwood.

This is a fun story, which further develops the relationship of its leads. It’s difficult to believe this is Gareth David-Lloyd’s first foray into writing an audio play, the story flows like it’s written by a seasoned pro. Let’s hope he writes another. Highly recommended.

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…

 

The Tenth Doctor and Rose to return!

David Tennant and Billie Piper are reprising their roles of the Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler, respectively. For three new Doctor Who audio dramas from Big Finish Productions.

Executive producer Jason Haigh-Ellery said:

“Getting David and Billie back together was definitely on my bucket list – two wonderful actors who created an era of Doctor Who which is so fondly remembered and brought a different aspect of the relationship between the Doctor and his companion to the fore – love, both platonic and unrequited. It’s great to have the Tenth Doctor and Rose back again!”

Nicholas Briggs added:

“It was such a special time for me, working with Billie and David on the TV show and it is such an honour to revisit it with them on audio.”

The set opens with Attack of the Zaross by John Dorney, in which an alien invasion of Earth isn’t quite what it appears to be – Camille Coduri guest stars as Jackie Tyler.

In the second adventure, Sword of the Chevalier by Guy Adams, the Doctor and Rose arrive in Slough in 1791 and encounter Chevalier D’Eon, an enigmatic ex-spy who has lived his life as a woman. Together they must fend off alien slavers, who have come to Earth to abduct valuable humans.

Finally, in Cold Vengeance by Matt Fitton, the TARDIS arrives on Coldstar, a vast frozen food asteroid in deep space. But there is something sinister defrosting in the network of storage units… the Doctor’s old enemies the Ice Warriors! Nicholas Briggs plays Ice Lord Hasskor and Warrior Slaan.

The Tenth Doctor Adventures: Volume 2 is released in November 2017.

John Barrowman announces The lives of Captain Jack 

Earlier this year John Barrowman spent a week recording various projects for Big Finish. One of those included an audio with Camille Coduri. There was a lot of fan speculation at the time, as to what this audio could be. Barrowman took to Facebook tonight to announce the four-part audio series ‘The lives of Captain Jack’.

Released in June 2017, The Lives of Captain Jack is written by Guy Adams and James Goss. The stories include:

THE YEAR AFTER I DIED: Set in the year 200,101, on an Earth ravaged by the Daleks, we see Jack struggling to save humanity from its oldest enemy.

WEDNESDAYS FOR BEGINNERS: Jack and Jackie Tyler (Camille Coduri) must unite to rescue the Powell Estate from a force whose name Jackie can never say.

ONE ENCHANTED EVENING: Captain Jack and Alonso Frame (Russell Tovey) have only just met. But why did the Doctor want them to be together?

MONTH 25: He’s the young star of the Time Agency, and his whole life is about to fall apart. But that’s not going to stop him winning.