John Hurt returns as The War Doctor for Big Finish

Big Finish announced today that John Hurt will reprise his role as The War Doctor for a series of audios.

The adventures of The War Doctor will be told over four box sets, each containing three linked hour-long episodes. The first is titled ‘Only The Monstrous’, and is written and directed by Nicholas Briggs.

“The story of the Doctor who refuses to call himself the Doctor in order to do the unthinkable upon the ultimate battlefield — all of space and time — was irresistible to me,” says Nicholas. “Such a deeply disturbing and engaging character created by the formidable talents of writer Steven Moffat and actor John Hurt. It’s such a privilege to be working on this.”

The cast of The War Doctor also includes Jacqueline Pearce, who plays Time Lord Cardinal Ollistra — an arch manipulator who is waging the Time War against the Daleks. Jacqueline starred in The Two Doctors as Chessene and she is known to many science fiction fans for her role as Servalan in the cult classic Blake’s 7.

Only The Monstrous will be released in December 2015, and will be followed in February 2016 by the second volume, Infernal Devices, which is written by John Dorney, Phil Mulryne and Matt Fitton. Volumes Three and Four are currently in pre-production.

In addition to The War Doctor, November 2017 also sees a prequel box set to the saga, Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor — The Time War, which will follow the early stages of the Time War from the Eighth Doctor’s perspective. Paul McGann stars, alongside characters first introduced in the War Doctor box sets.

If you only listen to one podcast with John Hurt, listen to the one he did with Big Finish. If you listen to two podcasts with John Hurt, then listen to my podcast with John Hurt.

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.

David Tennant and Catherine Tate heading to Big Finish?

You may or may not be aware that the audio production company Big Finish have recently secured the rights to use modern Doctor Who characters, in their audio adventures. Kate Lethbridge-Stewart is getting a Spin-Off, as is River Song, Churchill and most recently, Torchwood. 

But currently, they haven’t used any new Doctors. Well, according to well-known FAN SITE Blogtor Who that’s about to change. They’ve reported that both David Tennant and Catherine Tate are going to reprise their roles as The Doctor and Donna in 2016.

Until Big Finish confirm, this should be treated as a rumour. They haven’t posted anything on their site yet. Check out the full story here

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*

Captain Jack Harkness has always had his suspicions about the Committee. And now Wilson is also talking about the Committee. Apparently the world really is under the control of alien lizards. That’s what Wilson says. People have died, disasters have been staged, the suspicious have disappeared.

It’s outrageous.

Only Jack knows that Wilson is right. The Committee has arrived.

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

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.

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.

 

 

Big Finish confirm Torchwood series 2

Big Finish have confirmed a second series of Torchwood audios will be available from March 2016.
The news came just one day after the release of Torchwood: The Conspiracy.

Another six Torchwood releases are currently in pre-production for 2016. Series 2 will begin in March 2016: just one month after concluding instalment of series 1.

Producer James Goss said:

“Everyone involved’s just had so much fun that we didn’t want to stop”.

Big Finish added:

“It’s okay, you don’t have to. We’ve already got the first script in and it’s a delight.”

The new series will continue the adventures of Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and his team, with stories taking place at different points in Torchwood’s history.

Big Finish Executive Producer Jason Haigh-Ellery said:

“It’s wonderful to be able to commit so soon to a second series of Torchwood, this is completely down to the immense support we have received from the fans of the series. We are delighted to be continuing the adventures of Captain Jack and his team!”

Co-executive producer Nicholas Briggs added:

I couldn’t really imagine that the response to our Torchwood series wouldn’t be positive, So I’m very pleased not to have been proved wrong. The series has so many dedicated followers and the audios have been written, directed and produced with such love for the source material. James Goss, as producer, has brought so much enthusiasm and joy to the project. I find myself hoping every day that I’ll receive another excited email from him.
And we’re so grateful that the brilliant stars of Torchwood have come in to record and have been so bloomin’ good! Russell T Davies has been so supportive and full of encouragement too. Frankly, we had no choice but to get on with a second series as soon as possible.

Torchwood: The Conspiracy is available to buy and download today, starring John Barrowman as Captain Jack Harkness. Listen to our review here.

Series 1 continues in October with Torchwood: Fall to Earth, starring Gareth David-Lloyd as Ianto Jones, followed in November by Torchwood: Forgotten Liveswith Eve Myles as Gwen Cooper and Kai Owen as Rhys Williams. Three further releases will follow at monthly intervals.

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.

Get the The Sixth Doctor: The Last Adventure, early. 

Audio production company Big Finish announced today that they’re bringing the release date forward for The Sixth Doctor: The Last Adventure, exclusively to Big Finish customers

Older who fans may remember that the Sixth Doctor didn’t have a proper regeneration story. So Big Finish are rectifying that.

If you’re a Big Finish customer you’ll be able to download it via their website on Monday the 17th. Everyone else has to wait six more weeks.

This eagerly awaited box-set chronicles the Doctor’s ultimate battle against the Valeyard (Michael Jayston), the malevolent distillation of the Doctor’s negative impulses. The four adventures involve a commuter train that has lost its way, a werewolf-infested town on an alien world, strange events on the stage of the New Regency theatre in Victorian London and the space station where their rivalry began in 1986’s The Trial of a Time Lord. Check out the trailer below.