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-Torchwood: The Crown

The Ferryman stands in shadow and waits. The Ferryman giggles, hungers and hates. The Ferryman comes to carry away all who behold the crown and disobey.
Christmas Eve. Dr Gideon Parr is summoned to an asylum to check on a patient. A patient who claims to be haunted by a terrible curse. A patient who claims to be Queen Victoria.




The 45th release in the range also happens to be the final Torchwood release of 2020. Following on from “Fortitude” and “Save our souls” we once again follow the adventures of Rowena Cooper’s Queen Victoria.

It’s Christmas Eve and a young doctor (Derek Riddell) has been called away from his alleging wife to diagnose a new arrival at the local asylum, who claims to be the Queen herself.

With The Crown, Johnathan Barnes has crafted another incredibly atmospheric and immersive audio, that makes good use of its Victorian setting. This combined with Rowena Cooper’s outstanding performance as Queen Victoria levitate this above a standard ghost story. The supporting cast is amazing in their respective roles and, used expertly, which allows the story to breathe. This is all backed wonderfully by Joe Meiners flawless sound design and Blair Mowat’s musical score, which all makes for a claustrophobic soundscape. I felt cold and confined whilst listening.

This is a strong character piece that allows the listener to explore the early and darker days of Torchwood and its founder. I don’t know if it’s intentional or not, but this release feels very at home over the festive period. Maybe it’s because Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” has become so entrenched in our DNA, that the Victorian era, spooky stories and Christmas just go hand-in-hand together.

I say this on every review, but Torchwood on Big Finish is Torchwood at its best. The Crown is no different, this is a highly recommended morality tale, that would be the perfect stocking filler this Christmas.

Check out our other Big Finish reviews.

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

Torchwood: The Crown is avalible to purchase directly from Big Finish.



Review-Torchwood: Rhys and Ianto’s Excellent Barbecue

Rhys is planning a lads’ night in. Barbie in the back yard, few tins, mates and bants. But the only person who turns up is Ianto – who hasn’t been invited. Hell is other people, especially when they’ve brought board games.
Something goes wrong. The two of them could be trapped together for eternity at a barbecue where the sausages never cook, and worse, the brewskis remain forever out of reach.


This was a story I was really looking forward to. Rhys and Ianto are such great characters, who sadly didn’t get to interact much in the main series. Thankfully, that’s what Big Finish do so well. They’ll take characters who didn’t interact much like Owen and Andy, or Rhys and Ianto and they’ll give them incredible stories that build the relationships and add to the overall mythology of Torchwood.


I was expecting a light-hearted tale, given that this features two of Torchwood’s most fun characters. But this story is actually an emotional gut-punch. There are some moments of levity, but writer Tim Foley also chucks in some really emotional moments. Rhys and Ianto comforting Deidre in her final moments is utterly heart-wrenching and takes its toll on our heroes. The moment Rhys opens up to Ianto is handled in an extremely mature and realistic way. Kai Owen and Gareth David-Lloyd are both excellent in this. Both know their characters extremely well and portray them wonderfully. Youssef Kerkour is a magnificent addition as Badger/Deidre.




I also really enjoyed when the audio played with the awkwardness of having to spend time with your spouse’s friend, who you know very little about. I’m sure we’ve all been there.
Overall, this is a beautiful story about male friendship and the need to open up, which is extremely well-executed and incredibly relatable. Especially in these isolating times. This has everything I love about the range, it’s bonkers, funny, touching and, produced to a high quality. Blair Mowat’s music beautifully accents the dialogue and accompanies Joe Meiners sound design flawlessly.
I say this on every review, but every release proves my point. Torchwood on Big Finish is Torchwood at its absolute best.

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

Rhys and Ianto’s excellent Barbecue is available to purchase directly from Big Finish.



Big Finish review-Torchwood: Ex Machina

Ianto Jones is Torchwood. Ianto Jones is the defender of a deserted city, a lone crusader who keeps the empty streets safe.

One day he meets one of the few survivors. She needs his help – because she’s being chased by a darkness. A darkness which says it loves her.


Ex Machina is the debut Torchwood story by writer, Alfie Shaw. Shaw says he came up with the idea, after passing a book shop he used to visit with an ex. He suddenly felt like the shop was off-limits to him. Along with mutual friends etc. That’s something that really resonated with me whilst listening.




This audio focuses on fan-favourite Ianto, as he tries to help Abigail, who can’t understand what’s happened to her parents. In every photograph, she’s impossibly alone. Even in the memory, she has of moving to Cardiff, it’s just her at 6-years-old in the car. Alone.
The only tether she has to her old life is her neighbour Mrs. Evans – and she has problems of her own.

Gareth David-Lloyd and Laura Aickman work extremely well together. This audio was recorded remotely and entirely during lockdown. It’s a testament to the actor’s abilities and Big Finish as a whole, that you’d never guess. Perhaps the remote recording helped the performers feel isolated, like their characters. Jacob Dudman also puts in a fun performance, as a completely unlikeable character.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Torchwood on Big Finish is Torchwood at its very best. This is another top-notch entry in the range.

Cast:

Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones)

Laura Aikman (Abigail Forehill)

Jacob Dudman (Luke)

Misha Malcolm (Fran)

Joshua Manning (The Absence)

Kerry Joy Stewart (Mrs. Evans)

Cover Art: Lee Binding

Music: Blair Mowat and Murray Gold

Writer: Alfie Shaw

Torchwood: Ex Machina is available to purchase directly from Big Finish.

Episode 231:Big Finish-Doctor Who: Out of time

In which Martyn, Sam, and Chris discuss ‘Out of time’ the latest Doctor Who release from Big Finish.

Out of Time 1 stars David Tennant and Tom Baker. It was written by Matt Fitton and directed by Nicholas Briggs.

Read Martyn’s written review here.



The Big Finish Chris appears on can be bought here.

Check out Chris’ adaptation of Sleuth here.

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Twitter:

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Doctor Who: Out of Time 1 is now available from the Big Finish website.



Review-Doctor Who: Out of time

Covid 19 has been an utter horror, but it has given Doctor Who fans content we wouldn’t have gotten without it. Not only did we get a Sarah Jane Smith finale written by Russell T Davies, we also got the news that Christopher Eccleston has signed up to Big Finish.

It also enabled Big Finish to bring forward their release of Out of time 1. This was recorded entirely in lockdown and only happened because the events of this year cleared out David Tennant’s insane schedule.

Out of Time is the first, in a trilogy of original audio adventures that sees the Tenth Doctor pit himself against his most iconic foes, with a former Doctor by his side. In this story he’s joined by The Fourth Doctor, played by the legendary Tom Baker.



Multi-Doctor stories are nothing new, but this is the first time these two incarnations have met and it’s absolutely joyous. There’s the standard bickering we get when two Doctors meet, however there’s more love and mutual respect between these two.

Writer Matt Fitton perfectly manages to balance the tonal difference between two entirely different eras of the show. Ten and Four bounce of each other spectacularly well. Both lead actors absolutely soar in their respective roles.

Howard Carter’s music perfectly compliments the drama, punctuating the actors performances. The supporting cast are all on top form and Nicholas Briggs takes on a dual role as actor and director, he does both with absolute vigour. This is clearly a passion project for all involved, a love letter to Doctor Who and its fans.

Out of time may well be the best multi-Doctor story yet. I can’t wait for the second and third instalments.

Cast:

Listen to our podcast discussion about ‘Out of time’ here.

Doctor Who: Out of Time 1 is now available from the Big Finish website.

 

 

Review-Torchwood Soho Parasite

Since he was first introduced in 2016’s Ghost Mission, Norton Folgate (Samuel Barnett) has popped up in several Torchwood audios. His self-serving ways fast cemented him as a fan-favourite. So much so, it’s difficult to imagine the Torchwood cast without him.

In Torchwood Soho: Parasite, we catch up with Norton, as he investigates strange happenings in post-war London. There’re Nazi packages, a man who should be dead, a time-traveling pub and, Torchwood fan-favourite Sergeant Andy Davidson (Tom Price).

Writer James Goss blows me away, with each release. This is no exception. What’s interesting about this box set, is it’s comprised of six half-hour episodes. I loved this format and I hope it stays. It enables the story to be lean and flow at an incredible pace, there’s no filler here.

The story has a non-linear format, but thanks to Scott Handock’s smooth direction, you’re never lost. You know exactly where every character is and their motivations are always clear.



What can be said about Samuel Barnett and Tom Price at this point? They have such great natural chemistry, Norton and Andy are the perfect Big Finish odd-couple. It’s always a joy to hear them interact.

Rounding off the team are Torchwood new-comers, Dervla Kirwan and Joe Shire. Kirwan instantly shines as Lizabeth Hayhoe, she makes the role her own and establishes the character as a force to be reckoned with. Shire is equally charming as Gideon Lyme, a journalist, and love-interest of Norton. There’s also Belle Epoque (Franchi Webb), the immortal landlady of ‘The Stagnant Pond’ pub. All three characters are brilliant for Torchwood, I hope we see them again.

All-in-all, Torchwood Soho: Parasite is a strong release. Highly recommended.

Cast:

 

Torchwood-Soho: Parasite is available to purchase directly from Big Finish.



Review-Torchwood: Red Base

Mars is the next giant leap for mankind. Starr Base is the first small step. A practice Mars base has been set up in a quarry in Neath, just off the A474. Its aim is to see if humanity can survive on the red planet.

The problem is that the crew are dying. The survivors are terrified, paranoid, and wondering if something alien has got inside Starr Base. Sgt. Andy Davidson has come to find out what’s gone wrong.

Torchwood: Red Base, by the extraordinarily talented James Goss, is a murder mystery. So it’s difficult to review without spoiling.

It’s a whodunnit, loosely based on the channel 4 reality show, Eden. Which saw 23 participants living for a year in a remote part of Scotland, attempting to build a self-sufficient community. Filmed by the participants themselves, production began in March 2016. Unknown to the participants, broadcasting ceased after four episodes due to poor viewer ratings.

The Torchwood range has fast become my favourite. Releases like this just cement my view that Torchwood on Big Finish, is Torchwood at its absolute best.

Everyone involved is at the top of their game. Once more, James Goss gives us a solid mystery, paying homage to all the greats. Whilst also putting an original twist on the genre. Lisa Bowerman’s direction is as slick as always, she’s truly one of the best directors in the industry.

Blair Mowat’s music is perfectly accompanied and complimented by Joe Meiners sound design.

Tom Price is fantastic as Sgt. Andy Davidson, at this point he could play the role in his sleep. But he continually gives an outstanding performances full of humour, empathy and understanding. Everything that made Andy such a fan-favourite. It’s been a joy to hear the character evolve over the years.

Cast

  • Tom Price (Andy Davidson)
  • Kae Alexander (Mina)
  • Jeremy Ang Jones (Dave)
  • Rakie Ayola (Emma)
  • Ronak Patani (Faisal)

Torchwood: Red Base is now available to own as a collector’s edition CD at £10.99 or on download from the Big Finish website for £8.99.

Review-Torchwood: The Sins of Captain John

From zombies in Restoration London to Hell gatecrashing a funeral, rogue Time Agent Captain John Hart leads the universe to rack and ruin in four new adventures written by David Llewellyn.

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

Torchwood: The Sins of Captain John is a four-episode story, with James Marsters clearly having the time of his life breaking the fourth wall, as the Whoniverse’s answer to Deadpool. There’s even a fun moment where he complains to director Scott Handcock, that he can’t hear the theme song.

1. The Restored

Captain John is in Restoration England looking for some gauntlets. There’s intrigue in the Tower of London, the dead are walking the streets, and the severed head of Oliver Cromwell has a terrible warning.

2. Escape from Nebazz

Captain John is in a wooden space prison that’s under attack by a strange and terrible life form. Also the catering is truly dreadful and Dr Magpie’s latest discovery may have got a little out of hand.

3. Peach Blossom Heights

Captains John and Jack find themselves stranded on a world that may be actual paradise – the weather is pleasant, the people are friendly, and the giant stuffed animals only come out at night. There’s only one thing the world is missing. No-one has ever explained to any of the population about the birds and the bees. Which is unfortunate.

4. Darker Purposes

Captain John arrives at the funeral of one of the galaxy’s richest men. He died without making a will, and his heirs have some very creative ideas about how this can be put to rights involving murder, necromancy and seduction. Sadly, Captain John is only too happy to oblige.

It’s difficult to believe that it’s been 12 years since we first met the swashbuckling Captain John. James Marsters clearly has a lot of affection for the character, as he absolutely shines in this. It’s great to hear him on his own adventures.

David Llewellyn’s script is fast and funny, with Scott Handcock’s direction matching it all the way. The supporting cast are also incredible, each one of them gives a memorable performance without outshining Captain John.

The Sins of Captain John is everything I hoped it would be and more. Roll on Volume 2.

 

Review-Torchwood: Dead man’s switch

One of my favourite things about Torchwood on TV, was Bilis Manger. This creepy time traveller (Murray Melvin) had so much potential, that was never fully realised on TV. Thankfully, that’s exactly what Big Finish excel at. They take a supporting character and make them shine and Billis has never shone more brightly than here.

Synopsis: A devious antique dealer, a property developer and a heartbroken hairdresser. Three strangers sit on a train that’s going nowhere.

They are joined by a mysterious figure.

Bilis Manger wants to tell them how they died.

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

Dead Man’s Switch is a very different kind of Torchwood story. Dark and sinister. Writer David Llewellyn takes full advantage of the audio medium and offers us up a atmospheric homage to 70s horror, especially when they reach the twisted ending. This wouldn’t be out of place as an Arrow film.

The three guest actors are perfectly cast, Murray Melvin plays the role with such gravitas and I can’t wait for him to return once more.