I leapt ahead of my usual order to participate in this week's bf_listen_again discussion of Grand Theft Cosmos. This may have been the first Eight/Lucie play I had listened to, and it would probably have made more sense in sequence: it features two returning villains, The Headhunter and Karen, who were of course completely new to me. It wasn't bad - some decent sf ideas, and Christopher Benjamin appearing out of (almost) nowhere as the mysterious artist whose works are being collected by the King of Sweden, and a hilariously hypnotised guard. Sheridan Smith is fine as Lucie (apparently she wasn't actually there for the recording but had to be patched in later), and there's some nice sparkly dialogue. However the biggest problem for me is that the concept of Tardelli's pocket universe is rather drastically underused - happens entirely off-stage, as indeed does Tardelli's ultimate fate, so it's a little disappointing as a drama.
In Circular Time, Paul Cornell and Mike Maddox take the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa through four separate half-hour adventures. While I couldn't declare this to be the best ever Big Finish release, it is certainly among the very good ones. The first of the four, "Spring", is the weakest, a story of renegade time-lords and bird people that gets a bit confused. But then we are into "Summer", a confrontation with Sir Isaac Newton in the Tower of London due to the Doctor pulling out the wrong coins, which is rather fun. The best of the four is "Autumn", which is a rather pastoral account of Nyssa's romance while the Doctor enjoys playing cricket. And that then feeds into the last of the four, "Winter", set long after the Doctor and Nyssa have parted company, but with Nyssa having these very strange dreams... Certainly the best of the BF audios I've listened to this week.
I can't really remember much about Nocturne, I'm afraid. There was an authoritarian government with an improbably vibrant arts scene (the two tend not to go together). There was the usual running around. I didn't absorb much of it.
Renaissance of the Daleks has all kinds of weirdness in it: historical soldiers from Rhodes, the Battle of the Crater and 'Nam, plus also an attempt to prevent the Dalek Invasion of Earth from happening, plus (as ever in a Bidmead story) a place with a privileged location in the whole of space-time, plus Daleks of all sizes - the smaller they are, the nastier they get. It is an ambitious piece that didn't quite reach what it was looking for (and Bidmead slightly dissociated himself from the final version) but worth listening to, apart from one absolutely terrible member of the guest cast.
I.D. was my second Eddie Robson play this week (and my fourth in the last month). It features Six-on-his-own getting involved with a computer salvage operation where there is more going on than first appears. It didn't really sing to me, despite the presence of big name stars like Giles Brandreth and Helen Atkinson Wood (and Sara Griffiths from Old Who).
Urgent Calls, on the same CD set as I.D., is a different matter. It's virtually a two-hander between Colin Baker, at the end of a phone line, and Kate Brown playing Lauren who keeps getting connected to him accidentally. In the space of thirty minutes we have two different alien manifestations and a certain exploration of what the Doctor is really doing. Very impressive.
Of all of these, Circular Time is most strongly recommended, especially the third segment.