Review – Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon

The Dimension Cannon gives the character Rose Tyler her own series, in four audio dramas by Big Finish Productions. Billie Piper reprises her role as the first of The Doctor’s travelling companions in 21st century Doctor Who.

Shop girl turned sci-fi action hero Rose Tyler is consigned to a parallel universe with her mum, Jackie (Camille Coduri) and a parallel version of her dear departed dad, Pete (Shaun Dingwall). They’ve turned their attention to helping protect not only their world from extraordinary threats but also many other Earths. They’re following in the footsteps of Rose’s beloved Doctor: the charismatic, time-travelling space alien whose defence of Rose’s Earth left her separated from it – and him.

The Dimension Cannon offers Rose a chance to bring The Doctor back into the fight – and into her life again. For short periods of time the cannon allows her to visit other parallel universes that offer clues to the whereabouts of The Doctor. On her first trip she’s reunited with a parallel version of Clive, a conspiracy theorist who was murdered in Rose’s universe. Bark Benton reprises the role of Clive throughout the set and it’s good fun to have him back.

The four stories take us to four new parallel versions of London, where we’re introduced to startling alternate versions of the well-loved characters that head up this series. This collection of audios is not so much a spin-off from Doctor Who as it’s a spiritual follow-on from ‘Father’s Day,’ the episode that introduced us to the ‘original’ Pete Tyler and led us through dark times leading up to his death.

Chasing The Doctor inevitably means getting to know the locals in each different London and Rose finds she already knows many of them all too well. She gets personally involved in the lives of the people she meets, encountering Jackie, Pete and others in slightly different forms. It makes arriving in each universe a treat for the listener – and leaving each of them is tough all round.

Big Finish tie-in plays lure us into the audio realm by offering us characters and situations that are proven successes on television. They honour these successes with intriguing stories that at least equal their predecessors in quality. Rose’s story in Doctor Who has a lot of heart – and heartbreak. These new tales are equally engaging character pieces.

By presenting so many alternate versions of the original roles played by the cast, the normally-invisible work of the actors gets a bit of a peek into the limelight. I was properly immersed in and moved by the drama here but I also enjoyed listening for the subtle differences between the characters parallel to each other.

I’m very much opposed to more for more’s sake; I hate seeing delightful series run down by commercial supplements. You’ll find none of that here in Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon. This box set revisits the Tylers in a clever way that gives us more of what we’re counting on in ways that constantly surprise.

Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon is available now from Big Finish.

Review-Torchwood: The Hope

The Big Finish Torchwood range is always advertised with “This release contains adult material and may not be suitable for younger listeners” never has that statement been truer, than with this release. One of the many things James Goss excels at, is bleak. After giving us all nightmares with Corpse Day. He’s back with The Hope.

Megwyn Jones is one of the most hated women in Britain. She used to run a home for troubled children in an isolated part of Snowdonia called The Hope. For a long time there were rumours about what was happening there, and then one day it was realised that the children had gone missing.

Ever since, Megwyn’s kept her peace. Is she innocent? Is she guilty? Where are the bodies?

An audio play about a convicted child-murderer is never going to be an easy listen. However, James Goss has carved something of a masterpiece here. This is an audio that definitely rewards repeat listening.

Burn Gorman and Tom Price had such brilliant chemistry, in Corpse Day that I’ve been waiting impatiently for a follow up, ever since. Their chemistry is still present and their scenes together are pure gold. Andy’s eternal optimism is a perfect foil for Owen’s eternal pessimism. They also get a chance to shine separately, in scenes that are up there with the most horrific in Torchwood’s history. Siân Phillips is mesmerising as Megwyn Jones, you instantly dislike Megwyn-but you’re also fascinated by her.

The Hope couldn’t be any further away in tone, than last month’s ‘Serenity’. But that’s what makes this series so great. I enjoyed Torchwood on TV. But Big Finish Torchwood, is Torchwood at its absolute best.

Review-Torchwood:Serenity

Serenity Plaza is the most exclusive gated community in South Wales.

Jack and Ianto have gone undercover as a happily married couple. There are rumours that something’s wrong at Serenity Plaza and they’re determined to investigate. But the problem is that Serenity Plaza is just so rigidly normal.

Suddenly, Jack and Ianto have to confront the problems that normal couples face. Sharing a house together, doing the washing up, entering the residents’ baking contest, and hoping to win the Best Kept Lawn.

Competition is fierce. Because this is Serenity Plaza. And you’d kill to live there.

Torchwood: Serenity is James Moran’s first Big Finish audio, so it’s fitting that it’s a sequel to his series 2 episode ‘Sleeper’ and this does what any good sequel should, it develops the threat originally presented and adds layers and complexities-all whilst playing to the strengths the medium of audio allows. Moran has crafted a continuation, that logically feels like the next step in the story.

Jack and Ianto’s relationship has always been popular with fans, so it’s great to have an outing featuring the pair. John Barrowman and Gareth David-Lloyd are clearly having a lot of fun here. The script is full of innuendo, with GDL playing Ianto as a Stepford Wife-type. He even gets to turn his Welshness up to 11.

I laughed a lot and I laughed hard with this audio, this is one Torchwood fans won’t want to miss.

Episode 207: James Dreyfus

Martyn had the great pleasure of spending some time with 90’s sitcom legend, James Dreyfus.

The pair geeked out about 70’s horror movies, James talks about his ambitions and Martyn confesses to a bizarre rule that he still adhears to. 

James Dreyfus is an English actor, most notable for his roles on television sitcoms The Thin Blue Line as Constable Kevin Goody, and Gimme Gimme Gimme as Tom Farrell. More recently, he has moved into voice acting-playing The Master for Big Finish.

The podcast is available from all good podcast services, such as-but not limited to;

Audioboom, Player fm and iTunes.

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

Twitter:

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James-@DreyfusJames

Torchwood: The Green Life

At first it seems like Captain Jack Harkness, leader of the ‘beyond the police’ Torchwood organisation and time-travelling Doctor Who companion turned eco-warrior Jo Jones (née Grant) would be quite a contrast when paired. But in ‘Torchwood: The Green Life’ the two are bound as much by what they share as what divides them.

Jo, in this story, is decades older than the girl who once travelled with The Doctor. Everything she learned from her time with UNIT is sewn into this Jo of today and much more besides. This woman is a good match for the immortal Jack, whose dashing young appearance only partially conceals how much of his strength is devoted to enduring a string of painful deaths and centuries. Big Finish audio dramas never shy from the role appearances play in stories when it’s relevant: here we have a pair of lovely fan favourites set amid some gruesome situations.



We’re back in Llanfairfach, the Welsh locale of the 1970s Doctor Who serial, The Green Death. The story then – of pollution-bred giant maggots and a technically-adept evil corporation – continues here. As Jack and Jo clamber over old territory we learn new things about them both.

Katy Manning has kindly returned to play Jo now and again in the past couple of decades – in television and in audio – and each time we get a hint or two about the character’s life since the 1970s. Here there’s quite a bit of her back story, particularly with regards to Llanfairfach. It’s a treat to hear the world of Jo Jones expanding into a mini-franchise of its own.

John Barrowman has been equally generous in his support, for the Torchwood franchise and for the ‘Whoniverse’ in general. He continues his regular contributions to Torchwood on audio here, with a bit of a new challenge: the gentlest members of Jack’s team were never as ‘right on’ as lovely Ms Jones. In Jack’s world, he and his go to some rather harsh extremes, they take their lumps and then find some way to make peace with themselves afterwards. Jo presents him with a world where there are certain lines that are simply not crossed. Where right and wrong don’t often intermingle. Where loyalty is everything.

The legacy elements of this story are taken in genuinely new directions. We get some detail about how the scientific advances of the 70’s Wholeweal community have developed in the years since. We learn a bit more about Llanfairfach as a population centre and its lifestyle in 2019. And we’re presented with something new that has gone very, very wrong. It’ll certainly inform a listener’s first real-world glimpse of a self-driving lorry.

Trailer-Torchwood: God among us volume 2

Big Finish has released the story details, cover art and trailer of the sixth series of Torchwood: God Among Us 2.

Norton Folgate rejoins Torchwood, Andy and Yvonne get very close indeed, and the world is truly going to hell…

Norton Folgate’s come from the 1950s to warn Torchwood it’s the end of the world. He might have a point – there’s an alien god wandering the city, and a sinister force manipulating events behind the scenes. Where are all the homeless people going? And why doesn’t it stop raining?

1. Flight 405 by Lou Morgan

Flight 405 went missing over 60 years ago, but tonight the plane finally lands. Norton Folgate is a Torchwood agent from the 1950s and he swears Flight 405 contains the secret to the end of the world, but can Torchwood trust him?

2. Hostile Environment by Ash Darby

An app’s been launched that allows you to tag the homeless. People think they’re doing a good thing and helping out. It does seem a remarkable success. After all, since it’s launched, there are a lot less homeless people on the streets – so it must be doing some good, mustn’t it?

3. Another Man’s Shoes by Tim Foley

Yvonne wakes up in Andy’s body – and both have difficult days ahead of them.
Meanwhile, Norton’s making himself very much at home in Tyler’s body, much to Tyler’s alarm, and Ng is worried she knows what’s going on.
Someone’s playing a terrible trick on Torchwood. But who will win?

4. Eye of the Storm by David Llewellyn

An alien power station is sending out waves of lethal energy, people are turning to stone and the water levels are rising. As Torchwood set out on a desperate mission, god takes tea with someone who has been playing a very long game. Has the time come for Norton Folgate to save the world?

James Marsters returns to Big Finish

James Marsters, the star of cult television shows Buffy The Vampire Slayer and, Angel. Is set to reprise his role as Captain John Hart, in a series of his own adventures in the Torchwood audio universe.

The rambunctious, deadly and ever-so charming captain will be back at the helm in a new four-story box set, The Sins of Captain John, created by Big Finish Productions in association with BBC Studios.

Captain John Hart made his audio debut in The Death of Captain Jack, released in March 2018. In this story he killed the entire Torchwood team – including John Barrowman’s supposedly immortal Captain Jack Harkness.

He also married Queen Victoria and had no less than three ‘relationships’ with characters from history. Who knows what he’ll get up to in this next box set of adventures!

James Marsters said:

“Doing The Death of Captain Jack was incredible! I have missed doing Torchwood so much. Beyond being proud of playing a part in it, the character itself is a blast to play, and those two episodes just weren’t enough.”

Set for release in January 2020, The Sins of Captain John will see Captain John Hart leading the universe into rack and ruin in four new adventures…

The Restored
Escape from Nebazz
Peach Blossom Heights
Darker Purposes

In these stories we’ll find the villainous anti-hero thriving in Restoration London, exploring gas planets, playing ‘Stepford wife’ and kissing (then killing) countless victims… Just a day in the life of a rogue Time Agent!

Writer, David Llewellyn added:

“Writing The Death of Captain Jack was a total blast, and both James Goss (producer of the Torchwood range) and I realised we could have a lot more fun with Captain John Hart, providing James Marsters was happy to return. Captain John is this chaotic, disruptive, insubordinate force of nature; completely amoral and unpredictable, so that gave me a lot of freedom! Writing is often a case of knowing when to hold back, when to tread a more subtle line, but with Captain John it’s the complete opposite. And setting it before Torchwood on television meant we were able to go to places where Torchwood can’t.”

Torchwood fans will also find answers to some of the questions and plot points that have so far been left hanging from the beginning of the television show. More details on this in the future…

Billie Piper gets Big Finish spin-off

Billie Piper is returning to the Doctor Who universe in Rose Tyler: The Dimension Cannon, a new audio series made in association with BBC Studios.

It follows Rose’s journey through dying parallel worlds, and also stars Camille Coduri as Rose’s mum Jackie, Shaun Dingwall as her dad Pete, Mark Benton (Legend!!) as alien investigator Clive Finch and Elli Garnett as Caroline Finch.

The four episodes follow Rose’s mission to seek out the Doctor, the only person who can save the doomed multiverse.

Picture credit-Big Finish

Billie Piper said:

“I love how normal Rose is, and yet really extraordinary. She lived a normal average life but she is incredibly curious and has an enormous capacity for love and empathy and is really spirited. She is extraordinary.”

The four new adventures are:
1.1 The Endless Night by Jonathan Morris
1.2 The Flood by Lisa McMullin
1.3 Ghost Machines by AK Benedict
1.4 The Last Party on Earth by Matt Fitton

From the worlds of Doctor Who, Rose Tyler – The Dimension Cannon will be released in September 2019, available for pre-order now on CD at £25 on CD and £20 on download.

Episode 195: Interview with Paul McGann

Recorded today at MCM London, here’s the interview I attended with Paul McGann. He discusses Jodie Whittaker and whether or not sci-fi should ever be political.

He praises Big Finish, Bradley Walsh and Sheridan Smith. He also addresses the Withnail & I drinking game.

Paul John McGann is an English actor. He came to prominence for portraying Percy Toplis in the 1986 television serial The Monocled Mutineer. He later starred in the 1987 dark comedy Withnail and I, and as the eighth incarnation of the Doctor in the 1996 Doctor Who television film, a role he reprised in more than 150 audio dramas and the 2013 mini-episode “The Night of the Doctor“.

The podcast can also be accessed via different places, including;

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

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Also check out the official Bad Wilf Vlog.

Review-The Diary of River Song 4

After adventures with the eighth, seventh and sixth Doctors. River Song finally meets with the legendary Fourth Doctor, in The Diary of River Song Series 4.

When River Song visits a place where time has vanished, a genie escapes its bottle… the Discordia are freed – nihilistic time pirates, in devilish form, altering the past to make sure they never lose.

Emma Reeves and Matt Fitton’s Time in a bottle, has a fascinating story idea. There’s a place in space with no time. That’s such an interesting concept for a story. However, I can’t help but feel this story is wasted in a box set format. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s a strong concept, with great writing and a superb cast, with writers at the very top of their game. I just feel the time constraints of a boxset limit the stories true potential.

This would’ve made a very interesting four-part story in its own right.

Regardless, it’s a solid introductory adventure that sets up the premise and introduces the main villain. It also takes the interesting angle. It feels like a good old fashioned pulp adventure. James Bond-esque in places. It pits River against her intellectual rival and shows her at her most Doctor-like state.

7/10

‘Kings of Infinite Space’ may not have the most original plot, but it is very entertaining and rewards repeat listening. It’s easily the strongest of the set. It’s well paced, paradoxical and fun. Alex Kingston and the rest of the cast are on top form. It feels like a Moffat era Doctor Who story. There’s action, humour, with a great use of the vortex manipulator and the locations that time travel opens up. It’s everything you could want from a River Song audio.

8/10

‘Whodunnit’ is an oddity in this boxset. Now, that isn’t me saying it’s bad. Far from it. The concept is interesting, with some thought-provoking philosophical discussions, the characters are three-dimensional and it’s well paced. However, it just doesn’t fit this box set. Like time in a bottle, this would’ve made a great main range story. Given more time to fully explore the premise, this could’ve been great. But I felt it interrupted the flow of the story ark.

That said, it’s an interesting listen with a fun take on the cliches of murder mysteries.

7/10

Someone I once knew, is the big one. The season finale, the one fans are excited for and it delivers. John Dorney brilliantly subverts expectation and puts an interesting spin on the River/Doctor dynamic.

Tom Baker and Alex Kingston have an instant rapport and a naturally brilliant chemistry. I would welcome future stories with this duo. Their chemistry is so natural, it’s difficult to believe they only met on the day of recording.

7/10.

Series four of ‘The Diary of River Song’ perfectly meshes the unique styles of the Steven Moffat era and Big Finish originality.

Not every story works completely and suffers from what most prequels do. Giving River companions is always going to be tricky, as we’ve never encountered or heard mention of them in the main show, you know they’re a goner the second they’re introduced.

At times the fourth Doctor feels more like a plot device, than an active companion. But this set is an absolute joy to listen to and has left me excited for series 5.

Written By: Emma Reeves, Matt Fitton, Donald McLeary, John Dorney

Directed By: Ken Bentley

Cast:

Alex Kingston (River Song), Tom Baker (The Doctor), Adele Lynch (Gammarae), Fenella Woolgar (Professor Jemima Still / Formidian Queen), Josh Bolt (Spod), George Asprey (Melak), Nicholas Asbury (Dante), Ewan Bailey (Human / Alien / Robot Voices), Tim Bentinck (Franz Kafka / Samsa), Alex Tregear (Miss Vermillion / Vermillion), Christopher Naylor (Lord Simon Whist / Captain Bartholomew / Discordia Underling), Shvorne Marks (Cissy / Thelma Sketch), Nigel Anthony (Rakkezar / Drayl), Nathalie Buscombe (Garen / Galerayna). Other parts played by members of the cast.

Producer David Richardson

Script Editors Matt Fitton, John Dorney

Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs.