It’s hard to deny that the announcement of Christopher Eccleston’s return to the Doctor Who franchise took fans by surprise. After all, it had been sixteen years since his thirteen-episode run reignited the show and brought it to a new generation. But here we are, with The Ninth Doctor Adventures – Ravagers, the first in a four-volume set of audio adventures written and directed by Nicholas Briggs.
On the one hand, Ravagers is an impressive and ambitious set. Eccleston’s return is a significant accomplishment for Big Finish, and it’s evident that he hasn’t lost his touch as the Doctor. The supporting cast, including Camilla Beeput and Jayne McKenna as Nova and Audrey, put in outstanding performances, and Dan Starky’s turn as Marcus Aurelius Gallius is thoroughly enjoyable. The music and sound design match the pace of Briggs’ excellent direction, and his passion for this era of Doctor Who is palpable.
However, the set’s most significant flaw is its plot. The 45-minute episode is stretched over 2 hours and 30 minutes, making the pacing drag at times. While Briggs’ love for the series shines through, the plot feels like an amalgamation of various stories he couldn’t get off the ground. We join the Ninth Doctor in the middle of an adventure and work backwards, a risky move for newcomers to the world of Doctor Who on audio.
Nonetheless, Ravagers is an enjoyable set overall, and fans of the Ninth Doctor will relish the chance to hear him once again. While a more straightforward structure would have been preferable, the set’s future promises exciting possibilities for the range.
Following his return in the Doctor Who episode “Revolution of the Daleks,” John Barrowman’s Captain Jack is set to make a comeback in the Big Finish Torchwood range, marking its fiftieth episode. This special release will also make history by featuring a Doctor for the first time in the spin-off series, with David Tennant making a guest appearance as the Tenth Doctor. The audio drama will also include fan-favourite Gareth David-Lloyd as Ianto Jones.
This exciting news is sure to thrill fans of both Doctor Who and Torchwood, as the beloved characters and actors reunite for this milestone event. With Barrowman’s infectious energy, Tennant’s impeccable timing, and David-Lloyd’s poignant portrayal, this audio drama promises to be a treat for the ears and the heart.
As Big Finish continues to expand the universe of Doctor Who and its spin-offs through audio dramas, this special release is a testament to the enduring legacy and popularity of Torchwood, and the timeless appeal of the Doctor’s adventures.
Anyone who has read my reviews will know that I think Torchwood on Big Finish is Torchwood at its very best, so I’m ridiculously excited by this news.
John Barrowman said: “Fans have been asking for this for a long time. Now that it’s okay and it’s been cleared, it’s great to have him on board. There’s an interesting dynamic going on here because Jack still wants to follow him but yet wants to impress on him that he’s still the leader.”
David Tennant added: “Because this isn’t a Doctor Who story, the Doctor doesn’t have to be ahead of everything and saving the day. What’s interesting about this story – from the Doctor’s point of view – is he sort of messes up. It’s a story about the Doctor being a bit imperfect which is nice to see now and again actually.”
Torchwood: Absent Friends is now available to pre-order as a collector’s edition CD at £10.99 or on download from the Big Finish website at £8.99.
Martyn and Chris are joined by the legendary Katy Manning. She tells them about working with Big Finish, her time on The Sarah Jane Adventures, voice acting and, how lucky Doctor Who fans are to have had Russell T Davies bring back the show.
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”.
In “We always get out alive,” Gwen Cooper and Rhys Williams are faced with a cataclysmic event and must flee as fast as they can. As Torchwood operatives, they’re no strangers to danger and uncertainty, but this time there’s something else in the car with them, heightening the tension and suspense.
The audio production is a testament to the perfect synergy between writer Guy Adams and director Scott Handcock. While the premise of two characters sitting in a car for 98% of the audio may sound dull, Adams and Handcock have crafted an imaginative and captivating story that is both epic and intimate in scope.
Through the course of the audio, we gain deeper insight into the personal lives of Gwen and Rhys, and their struggles to balance their duties as Torchwood operatives with their responsibilities as parents. The natural chemistry between actors Eve Myles and Kai Owen shines through, adding to the authenticity and emotional resonance of the story.
Adams skillfully uses the audio format to his advantage, leveraging the constrictive nature of the car and the medium of audio to create a gripping and immersive experience for listeners. The audio is a strong character-driven piece, with well-crafted dialogue and superb acting that draws you in and keeps you engaged.
“We always get out alive” is a must-listen for fans of the Torchwood series and audio dramas in general. It is a well-crafted and engaging production that showcases the talents of everyone involved, earning it a solid 5/5 rating.
Audio production company, Big Finish announced today that both David Tennant and Catherine Tate will be reprising their roles as The Tenth Doctor and Donna Noble for a new series of audio adventures.
Doctor Who: The Tenth Doctor Adventures will be released in May 2016 and is comprised of three full cast audio adventures.
The series opens with Doctor Who – The Tenth Doctor Adventures: Technophobia by Matt Fitton, which is set in a London slightly in the future, where mankind is gradually losing its ability to use everyday technology. Could there be an evil force at work?
In Doctor Who – The Tenth Doctor Adventures: Time Reaver by Jenny T Colgan the Doctor and Donna arrive on Calibris – ‘An entirely mechanical planet. Catch, hitch, fuel, fix, buy, pretty much any kind of transportation in existence.’ It’s also a world full of scoundrels, where a deadly black market has opened up in a device known only as the Time Reaver.
Finally, in Doctor Who – The Tenth Doctor Adventures: Death and the Queen by James Goss, Donna is swept along in a fairytale romance and meets the man of her dreams in the beautiful land of Goritania. What can possibly go wrong? And why has the Doctor never heard of Goritania?
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.
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.
During a press conference for the CW show Arrow, John Barrowman, who is now a series regular on the show, announced that the BBC is producing “three or four” audio dramas based on the popular series Torchwood. Barrowman, who portrayed Captain Jack Harkness on the show, also revealed that he and his sister Carole E. Barrowman are considering writing one of the dramas. The siblings have previously co-written Torchwood novels and comics together.
Barrowman didn’t provide any details about the timeframe or plot for the audio dramas, or whether they take place before or after the events of Miracle Day. However, he did mention that at least one of the stories will feature the original Torchwood team and that Torchwood producers Russell T Davies and Julie Gardner will also be involved. With the last Torchwood episode airing four years ago, fans of the show will undoubtedly be thrilled to hear about these upcoming audio dramas.
Our reviews of the previous Torchwood audio plays can be found here.
James Goss has once again proven himself to be a master of audio storytelling with his work on Department X. The Torchwood team investigates the mysterious disappearances of customers in the old Cardiff department store, GR Owen. Goss’ writing skillfully blends elements of mystery and suspense, keeping listeners engaged from start to finish. The style of this audio differs from its predecessor, Ghost Train, as it moves away from first-person narrative and towards a more traditional audiobook format. Despite this change, Goss’ writing still manages to capture the essence of all the Torchwood characters, old and new.
Paired with Kai Owen’s exceptional vocal performance, the result is a truly immersive listening experience. Owen effortlessly embodies the distinct personalities of each character, leaving listeners feeling as though they are right in the middle of the action. The musical score and sound effects add to the overall ambience, creating a richly textured world that is a joy to explore.
Overall, Department X is a welcome return to the Torchwood of old, striking a perfect balance between the darker tones of Children of Earth and the more lighthearted feel of series 1. With Goss at the helm, fans can rest assured that Torchwood is in good hands, and we can only hope that more audio adventures will be forthcoming.
This audiobook is a must-listen for fans of the Torchwood series and is available for purchase in both CD and digital download formats for a reasonable price.
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