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

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*

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: £9.31
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.

 

 

New Torchwood theme

Torchwood returns on audio form today and, Big Finish are ready. To celebrate the release of Torchwood: The Conspiracy they’ve released the new theme on soundcloud.

The man behind the new theme is BAFTA-nominated composer, Blair Mowat.

Blair recently worked with Murray Gold on shows such as Doctor Who and Life Story, and also composed the opening theme for The Doctor Who Fan Show.

Blair said:

“I’ve always been a fan of Torchwood and have been a fan of Doctor Who from before I could even speak. So I know this world very well. I was also delighted to be asked to do a new arrangement of the theme. I spoke with Murray to make sure I was very reverential to his brilliant original, whilst being sure to give it my own twist. The incidental music is also very much in the tonal world of Torchwood that Murray and Ben created together, whilst still allowing room for us to explore new musical ideas and motifs. So expect chugga chugga strings, reversed effects and guitars aplenty. Oh and that biddle biddle thing, or is it takka takka? Anyway that Torchwood noise…don’t worry it’s in there!”

Producer James Goss said:

“We’re so lucky to have Blair. He’s incredibly, unbelievably busy, but has approached the whole project with such enthusiasm. He’s assembled both a tribute act to the original series and a score that’s properly exciting in its own right. The results are something really special.”

I love it, it’s reminiscent and respectful to the original Murray Gold theme, yet completely new and fresh.

Price: £9.31
Was: £9.99

Doctor Who: The BBC Radio Episodes

Here’s a beautiful box-set of BBC radio plays. So beautiful in fact, I almost didn’t open it.

It’s a collection of radio adventures; there are three different Doctors, the 3rd, 4th and 6th.

The Paradise of Death and The Ghosts of N-Space

These are 3rd Doctor stories which feature Jon Pertwee, Elizabeth Sladen and Nicholas Courtney.

Neither story really works that well and they introduce an extremely annoying, new companion.

In N-Space we meet the Brigadier’s uncle, in an awful ghost tale.
The performances are strong, but the scripts aren’t that great. You can make a bad audio out of a good script, but you can’t make a good audio out of a bad script. It does, however try to capture that era of Doctor Who, which even though it failed, was an interesting experiment and given the resent passing of Nicholas Courtney, it was great to hear him again

Doctor Who and the Pescatons

This is a fun little tale, which features the 4th Doctor and Sarah Jane. The Doctor and Sarah are battling monsters, that are bringing panic, to the streets of London. This is less than an audio play and more of an audio book, with Tom Baker narrating and Liz Sladen throwing in the odd comment. It’s a fun story, but I couldn’t help but feel that it would have suited Patrick Troughton’s 2nd Doctor better.

Exploration Earth

This is the real clunker in this box set. It features the 4th Doctor and Sarah Jane investigating the start, of life on Earth, only to run into the Megron Lord of Chaos. The performances feel a little “phoned in”.

Whatever Happened To… Susan?

This is a tongue-in-cheek tale of what Susan did after she left the TARDIS. Jane Asher takes over from Carol Anne Ford, as Susan and is talking to a documentary crew, about her life after leaving the TARDIS.

There are some laugh out loud moments here, including her tale about how The Doctor get’s younger and younger with each regeneration and how companions fell in love with him.

It’s an amusing story that runs at about 30 minutes, but it completely contradicts continuity. If you’re willing to switch your brain off and just listen, then you’ll have an amazing time, if you get bogged down with continuity, you won’t enjoy it.
I couldn’t help but wish that it was a proper, serious audio drama, with Carol Anne Ford reprising the role of Susan and telling the tale. Done seriously, this could have been a brilliant audio drama

Slipback

Now, this was the first Doctor Who story made for radio and was broadcast during the show’s enforced hiatus, in 1985.
This was a very Douglas Adams story – I could imagine Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect in this. This isn’t a great story; the computer is annoying, but likeable. The performances of Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant are quiet good and you get a foreshadow of the chemistry that would later work so well on Big Finish.

It’s a good enough box set with a few decent tales, but also with a few poor episodes. I’d say this is one for true, die hard Doctor Who fans. Viewers of the new series will get very little for money.

You can purchase this on CD or download from audiogo.co.uk

Torchwood-Department X. Review

Now, moving on to Department X, This finds the Torchwood team investigating the old Cardiff department store, GR Owen.
The team go undercover to determine why customers are disappearing.
It’s written by James Goss and Kai Owen is on vocal duty again. The style has changed for this audio, it’s no longer a first person narrative, it’s more like a regular audio book.

Now, this isn’t up to the high standard of the previous audio, Ghost Train, but it’s still extremely entertaining. Kai Owen does another brilliant reading, again capturing the essence of all the Torchwood team, as well as new characters, the musical stores and sound effects still work well.

This is a return to the Torchwood of yester-year, it feels like a series 2 story, not as dark as children of Earth, but not as fluffy as series 1.

I imagine it’s the last time the Ianto Jones features in any Torchwood spin-off, as future adventures are more likely to be based, between children of earth and the new US format, or on the US format

You can get this audiobook straight from Audiogo, on cd or download for under a tenner, which is a bargain really.

 

Review-Torchwood:Ghost Train

It’s been too long since our last instalment of any kind of, Torchwood. So this release was welcomed with open arms.
Ghost Train is written by James Goss.
Goss has already written a few novels for both Doctor Who and Torchwood, he wrote 2009’s Torchwood’s audio play, the Golden Age.

Ghost train is a first person narrative, Its set between Series 2 and Children of Earth.
It’s centred around Rhys Williams and so no other than, friend of the Bad Wilf podcast, Kai Owen is brought in to read it. No, I really am shameless enough to put in a plug, during a review.

Kai has a great voice for audio.
The reading is very clear, even while he is imitating the voices of the other characters. The sound effects and music work well and add real atmosphere but don’t distract from the speech.

The story starts out about missing fridges but then it gets complicated. It centres around a train pulling into a station late night/early morning, years after the track has been abandoned. For the 2 weeks previous many strange things have been happening. Radios telling people to kill.
SatNav’s telling drivers to run people over. And it all has something to do with that train. The train is coming from a world that has just recently been destroyed and now what’s coming from that world, is coming to this one.

I absolutely loved this story, Its a 2 CD set, at just under 2 hours and 20 minutes. Honestly, it could have done with being slightly longer.
It’s funny when it has to be funny, it’s gripping when it needs to grip and it doesn’t feel like 2hrs and 20mins.
Kai manages to capture the essence of every character, extremely well, especially Ianto, he nail’s Gareth David-Lyod’s dry wit, and speech perfectly. He captures Gwen and Jack pretty well too.

Like the previous Doctor Who Audiobook it is also split into chapters for ease. It also contains the £5 off your first purchase code. Like all other Torchwood Audiobooks, this should be considered canon.

You can get this audiobook straight from Audiogo, on cd or download for under a tenner, which is a bargain really.

Episode 21: No Glove, No Love

Martyn and Gerrod discuss Torchwood series 1, episode 1: Everything Changes.

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

Follow the Bad Wilf team:

Martyn – @BadWilf

Pete – @BeeblePete

Gerrod – @ingerrodsmind

Also check out the official Bad Wilf Vlog.

Price: £19.58
Was: £30.00