Out of Time 2 – The Gates of Hell: Doctor Who-Big Finish review

Out of Time 2 – The Gates of Hell is the second in a trilogy of specials, that sees David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor on a farewell tour before he regenerates. In the first audio, he bumped into Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor. This time around, he’s paired up Peter Davison’s Fifth.

The story kicks off with The Fifth Doctor in Paris in 1809, he’s travelling sans-companion and decides to take a tour of the catacombs. It’s here that he bumps into a Time Agent Tina Drake (Shelley Conn), who for a very brief moment. I thought was Peri. Was that just me? Anyway, Tina is on the trail of a temporal paradox. Whilst in the catacombs, the duo trigger a trap, that sees the Doctor frozen in time.
In 1944, the Tenth Doctor is evading Nazis, in occupied Paris. Looking for a hiding spot, he finds himself in the catacombs, where he encounters his former self. When they return to the surface, they find Paris is overrun with Cybermen.

I was a huge fan of Out of Time and I think it’s safe to say, that this was my most anticipated release of the year. Not only are we getting a multi-Doctor story, but we’re also getting a Time Crash reunion and we’re getting an outstanding script from David Llewellyn.

The story is structured brilliantly and moves along at a swift pace. Whilst Llewellyn’s love for the Fifth Doctor shines through, this feels very much like a David Tennant era adventure. Ken Bently’s direction is smooth and matches the pacing beat for beat. Whist Howard Carter’s music and sound design help elevate the adventure even more.

The two leads have natural chemistry and bounce off each other well, there’s a lot of fun interplay between them.
I had a smile on my face the whole way through this, Lewellyn’s script is peppered with humour, call-backs and historical facts. This is quintessential Doctor Who.

Doctor Who: Out of Time 2 – The Gates of Hell is available on CD and download from Big Finish.

Review-Doctor Who – The Ninth Doctor Adventures Vol 1: Ravagers

Let’s be honest. None of us saw this coming. This time last year, we’d have thought the announcement was a cruel joke. It seemed so unlikely. But Sixteen years after his thirteen episode run reignited the Doctor Who franchise and brought it into the consciousness of a new generation. Christopher Eccleston is back and it’s about time.

The Ninth Doctor Adventures – Ravagers, written and directed by Nicholas Briggs, is the first in a four-volume set of audio adventures.

I’ll admit, that I’ve struggled with this review. On one hand, Ravagers is an impressively ambitious set. Eccleston’s return is arguably the biggest coup Big Finish has achieved since Tom Baker returned in 2012. Billie Piper once said that when she was last in Doctor Who, she spent 3 hours looking in a mirror unable to find Rose. Eccleston doesn’t have that problem, he slips right back into character. It’s an utter joy to hear him back in the role that made me a Doctor Who fan. It’s like he’s never been away. The supporting cast is all outstanding, especially Camilla Beeput and Jayne McKenna as Nova and Audrey. Dan Starky puts in a fun performance as Marcus Aurelius Gallius. The music and sound design are flawless and match the pace of Briggs’ excellent direction. His love, passion and enthusiasm for this era of Doctor Who absolutely shines through. However, the biggest flaw is the plot. It’s a really decent 45-minute episode, stretched to 2hrs 30mins. On the bonus disc, Briggs talks about how he entered “several blind alleys” whilst trying to write this. What we end up with, is an amalgamation of various stories he couldn’t get off the ground and I think it shows.

We join the Ninth Doctor in the middle of an adventure and we work backwards, which I think is a risky move. Big Finish excels at non-linear storytelling, they do it a lot. But for many people, this would have been their gateway to the world of Doctor Who on audio. I consume a lot of Big Finish, (at least two full box sets a day) and even I, at times, struggled to keep up with the convoluted non-linear narrative. I found myself constantly rewinding a minute or two, just to see if I had missed something. At one point, I even thought I had started the wrong episode.

Overall, Ravagers is a bit of a mixed bag. I enjoyed the set, but I’d have prefered if they had gone with three individual stories. I’m excited for the future of this range.


Episode 254: Zack Snyder’s Justice League

Martyn and Gerrod discuss all the latest in geekdom news, then they’re joined by friend of the podcast, Antoni Pearce to discuss the recent release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

00:00: Start of show

00:08: Intro and catch up

01:35: RIP Jessica Walter

02:09: New Transformers movie on the way

02:57: Steven Moffat’s new Netflix show

05:07: Big Finish released Ninth Doctor trailer

07:45: The Suicide Squad trailer

08:40: Warner Bros cinema first deal

09:37: Zack Snyder’s plans for Justice League 2+3

10:30: Ron Livingstone cast in The Flash film

11:00: Helen Mirren cast in Shazam 2. Pierce Brosnan cast as Dr Fate for Black Adam

13:02: Black Widow and Cruella going to Disney+ premium

14:03: Scott Pilgrim getting a re-release

14:45 John Wick 4+5 will no longer shoot back-to-back

15:17: Brzkr comic being turned into film and Netflix anime

16:08: Zack Snyder’s Justice League

41:20: End of show

The podcast is available from all good podcast services, such as but not limited to Spotify, Amazon Music, PodchaserPlayer FM, Stitcher, and Apple Podcasts.

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Equipment used in the creation of this feature was purchased through a grant from Graeae and The Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

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Review-Greenland

If you’re in the mood for a distraction from COVID-19, or 2021. Then perhaps a world-ending disaster movie is just what you need.
I’ll admit, I laughed when I first saw the trailer. I remember the day well. I’d gone to see Tenet with my fiancée, and my best friend. This trailer came on and the three of us erupted with laughter. It looked awful. It looked like a paint-by-numbers, generic Gerard Butler disaster movie. This is a disaster movie, but one that may surprise you. It certainly surprised me, now. It’s not a great film. But it is far better than the trailers made it look.

John Garrity (Gerard Butler) is a Scottish structural engineer living in Atlanta, Georgia with his estranged wife, Allison (Morena Baccarin), and their diabetic son, Nathan (Roger Dale Floyd). He returns home from work to reconcile with his family and prepare to host a party with their neighbours to watch the passing of a recently-discovered interstellar comet, named Clarke.
Whilst on a trip to the supermarket, he receives a Presidential alert inviting him and his family to be evacuated to Greenland. He returns home, gets his family and they head to the airbase. However, on arrival, they discover Nathan’s diabetes excludes him from being allowed on the plane. After some confusion, the family get separated and we follow them each, as they head to Allison’s father’s house. Then try to make their own way to Greenland.

The story ditches the normal end of the world cliches and instead, plays around with themes of human survival. This slightly different take can make for some immersive and uncomfortable viewing. The family encounter people who are terrible, people who are opportunistic and, people who will go above and beyond to help. This leads to a very realistic feel to proceedings, which oddly reflect the very early stages of the Covid outbreak. You know, when you couldn’t buy toilet paper?

Morena Baccarin and Gerard Butler have some wonderful chemistry, they feel authentic as a troubled couple, doing what they need to save their son.

As I said earlier, the trailer is slightly misleading. Some might find this a slow burn. Perhaps the fact we’ve all just experienced a global crisis, which has shown the best and worst of humanity, made me project more onto this film than I would have otherwise. However, I was pleasantly surprised and found it to be a more nuanced take on the genre.

Greenland is available on Prime Video from 5th of February.

Episode 249: It’s a sin

Martyn is joined by producer, writer, director Guy Lambert to discuss Russell T Davies’ new drama ‘It’s a sin’.

The duo discusses episodes 1-5, so there are spoilers.

It’s a sin follows a group of friends, all in their late teens and early twenties, who move to London in 1981 and have their lives turned upside down by HIV/AIDS, spanning a decade until 1991.

The podcast is available from all good podcast services, such as but not limited to Spotify, Amazon Music, PodchaserPlayer FM, Stitcher, and Apple Podcasts.

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Check out our Youtube.

Equipment used in the creation of this feature was purchased through a grant from Graeae and The Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

If you’d like to support the show, then please shop via our Amazon link. A small percentage goes our way, at no extra cost to you.

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Review-Future State: Superman of Metropolis #1

The DC multiverse has been blown wide open, following the shocking events in ‘Death metal #7’. A new and exciting future begins in Future State: Superman of Metropolis #1.

Due to extenuating circumstances Clark Kent has left Earth and has in-trusted its protection to his son, Jon Kent. Who is far too young for such responsibility, Jon feels the best way to protect Metropolis is to seal it up in a bottle and lock it away. Earning him the ire of its citizens, the military, and Supergirl.

In the bottled city heroes like The Guardian and Shiloh Norman (Mister Miracle) protect it from within, all whilst trying to find a way to break out of their new prison.

The first issue is really interesting because we’re just dropped into the events. Metropolis has been bottled for six months and is on the brink of collapse. The story is fresh, with very vibrant art from Cully Hamner. This feels very different from anything I’ve read before, which I wasn’t expecting. We’re given a fantastic exploration of the bottled city, six months in. The city is full of hate, rage, anger and fear. Reading this through the lens of this past year certainly adds to its impact. There’s always a sense the city could explode, at any moment.

Writer Sean Lewis has crafted a compelling story, with a young Superman completely out of his depth. Jon is no longer the happy-go-lucky kid we once knew, he’s older, jaded and cynical. He’s been given a huge responsibility and it’s absolutely crushing him. Lewis explores the mistakes a human with the powers of a God can make.

Episode 245: Revolution of The Daleks

Martyn, Chris and Sam talk about the recent news that Jodie Whittaker is leaving Doctor Who, who they’d like to take over the role and, the recent New Years Day special ‘Revolution of the Daleks’.

End theme is taken from DWPoop.

Check out Chris’ adaptation of A Christmas Carol.

The podcast is available from all good podcast services, such as but not limited to Spotify, Amazon Music, PodchaserPlayer FM, Stitcher, and Apple Podcasts. We also have a Smartlink.

Check out our Youtube.

Equipment used in the creation of this feature was purchased through a grant from Graeae and The Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

If you’d like to support the show, then please shop via our Amazon link. A small percentage goes our way, at no extra cost to you.

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Review-Worzel Gummidge: Saucy Nancy

Following last year’s festive specials, we’re back in Scatterbrook accompanying Worzel Gummidge on another madcap adventure. As with the last two, ‘Saucy Nancy’ is written and directed by Executive Producer Mackenzie Crook.

Worzel is rich, for a scarecrow. He’s found £20 and the money is burning a hole in his pocket, he wants to buy a door. So he enlists ‘the chillun’ Susan (India Brown) and John (Thierry Wickens) to help him find one. Whilst at a salvage yard, he stumbles across his old foul-mouthed friend, Saucy Nancy (Shirley Henderson). The sea is calling Nancy and she wants to get back to it, our trio of heroes vow to help her.

The two specials last year were undoubtedly the highlight of the festive period. This year is no different. This is a well-written and well-directed family adventure, bursting with heart and humour. Once again, Brown and Wickens feel like brother and sister and the entire cast have such natural chemistry, that a walking talking scarecrow seems like the most normal thing in the world. Shirley Henderson is an absolutely wonderful addition, in all her (scarecrow) sweary ways. There’s also a great turn from Venessa Redgrave as “Peg”.

Steve Pemberton and Rosie Cavaliero take more of a back seat in this, as Mr and Mrs Braithwaite, but they’re both still excellent in their respective roles. Mr Braithwaite has even softened to the kids “these two are different, they’re keepers” he tells his wife.

After the year we’ve had, it was extremely comforting slipping back into the innocent world of Worzel Gummidge. This show is about love, hope and trust, which is what we could all do with right now.

Mackenzie Crook has once again proved, that he is more than a worthy successor to Jon Pertwee. Ten Acre Field is in very safe hands.

Worzel Gummidge: Saucy Nancy – airs tonight at 5:55pm on BBC One. 

Review-The Ghost of Christmas (Ghosts Christmas special)

Alison and Mike are hosting Christmas at Button House, with his family joining them. Mike has taken control and is determined everything run as smoothly as possible. However, with a house full of ghosts and interfering parents, it’s not long before “the incredible sulk” has one of his annual meltdowns. As for the ghosts, they’re not big fans of Christmas.

It turns out the festive season isn’t much fun if you’re dead, Julian says “it’s just not the same when you’re dead. Can’t drink booze, can’t flirt with the filly’s at the Christmas Party if you can’t do that. What’s the point?”.



It’s Julian that takes most the focus of the special when a new arrival forces him to confront his old behaviour. Throughout the episode, he has a series of revelations that help all the ghosts rediscover the joy of Christmas.

The other ghosts mostly take a supporting role, with The Captain (Ben Willbond) taking offence to the Queen’s speech being televised “an officer and a gentleman should not be privy to the colour and thickness of the Queen’s curtain’s”. Robin (Laurence Rickard) believes Christmas is “just a fad”.

The special is full of everything you’d expect from this show. As always, the cast is uniformly great, Charlotte Ritchie and Kiell Smith-Bynoe feel like an authentic couple. Mike’s family feel like a real family, his sisters irritate him in the way only siblings can. The jokes vary from clever to crude, with strong performances all round.

The Ghosts Christmas special is the perfect way to tide us over until series 3.

The Ghost of Christmas airs on BBC One, at 20:30 on December 23rd.

Review-Doctor Who: Grey man of the mountain

Something haunts the peak of Ben MacDui.
Something with heavy footsteps, striking terror in the hearts of those who sense it. With climbers going missing, retired Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart visits Scotland to investigate.
But when some old friends join his ascent, he worries that they will make things even more dangerous. As the snows blow in, and mists surround them, the Doctor, Ace and the Brigadier will face the Grey Man of the Mountain…


This year’s Christmas offer from Big Finish is a pretty strong release, it’s more subtle than last year’s ‘Blood on Santa’s Claw and Other Stories’. Written by Verity’s Lizabeth Myles, it teams The Brigadier up with The Seventh Doctor and Ace. Jon Culshaw plays the role exceptionally well. He’s so pitch-perfect that, if you didn’t know this wasn’t Nicholas Courtney, you wouldn’t know this wasn’t Nicholas Courtney.




McCoy and Aldred are on top form as always. The setting and environment make for a tense and unnerving experience. The audio is so vivid, I could see the action playing out in my mind’s eye. This felt like a Seventh Doctor/Ace era storyline. The audio even plays around with Ace’s sexuality, by maybe possibly giving her a love interest with Lucy Goldie’s vlogger character. The pair of have such natural chemistry.
There are a few niggles though. Vivien Read slightly overplays the landlady. It’s like she’s in completely different story-at times she reminded me of David Walliams’ Scottish riddler from Little Britain.
The audio also overruns by about 30 minutes. This, plus a sizeable guest cast makes material thin on the ground, I found myself starting to drift a bit towards the end.


Those nitpick’s aside, Grey man of the mountain is an immersive, atmospheric and underplayed Christmas special. Which takes full advantage of its setting, cast and the medium of telling a story for audio.

Doctor Who: Grey man of the mountain is available to purchase directly from Big Finish