Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

Bunch of Big Finish audios

Almost up to March's releases, so I shall note the Big Finish audios I've listened to in the last few weeks, in continuity order (almost exactly the reverse of the order that I listened to them in).

The Destroyers, starring Jean Marsh as Sara Kingdom fighting the Daleks, was Terry Nation's attempt to market a Dalek show to the US. I thought it was basically pretty good, though sorry that the Sara Kingdom character wasn't as tough as she later became in The Daleks' Master Plan and also sorry that it ends on a cliff-hanger which presumably will never now be resolved. A lot of later Dalek stories have done this same sort of thing but it's interesting to see what the first attempt might have sounded like.

The Prison in Space was a Second Doctor script, rightly dropped from Season 6. The author was comedy writer Dick Sharples, and it concerns a future Earth where women have taken over. (Like the Two Ronnies' The Worm that Turned, but not as good, if you can imagine that.) Zoe is brainwashed into thinking that women are superior, until - and I am not making this up - Jamie spanks her. (As he threatened on their first meeting.) The eponymous prison is called the OSCE, here meaning the Outer Space Correctional Establishment though I am more familiar with a different interpretation. It would not have been a tragedy if this had stayed in Fraser Hines' attic.

I listened to the first three Graceless stories featuring the tracers-in-human-form Zara and Abby (formerly Amy but renamed to avoid confusion with Amy Pond) from the Fifth Doctor Key2Time mini-season, but was not hugely impressed. The middle one, set in a doomed 1912 village, features a good guest turn from David Warner.

The Feast of Axos brings the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn into contact with an Earth spaceship mounting a salvage expedition to Axos, four decades after the Third Doctor left it in a time loop. It's nice to hear Evelyn alive and well again, and there were some interesting reflections on the Doctor fixing his mistakes, and an amusing extrapolation of how the British space programme of the Who stories of the 1970s might have developed to the 2010s. However I wasn't really satisfied with the geopolitics and stereotyped treacherous foreigner johnnies.

Prisoner of the Sun is another story with the Doctor as jailbird, this time Eight in a peculiar cell beneath the surface of a star with a succession of android servants who all sound exactly like his erstwhile companion Lucie Miller. It didn't really make a lot of sense but the cast seemed to know what they were doing, with the notable exception of former child actor and singer Anthony Costa, who seems not to have read the acting instruction manual.

Which brings me to the penultimate of the current run of Eighth Doctor stories, called simply Lucie Miller. I really did enjoy this, and hope that the climax will pay off - the season's regular and semi-regular characters, Sheridan Smith as Lucie, Graeme Garden as the Meddling Monk, Carole Ann Ford as Susan, and even the ones I felt were weaker, Jake McGann as Alex and Niky Wardley as Tamsin, seem to have picked up a gear. With so many lead characters, the story doesn't have a lot of Doctor in it but sometimes that is OK.

Big Finish must be absolutely delighted with themselves for picking up Sheridan Smith back in 2007. Her Lucie has been a brilliant adjunct to McGann's Doctor - as indeed was India Fisher's Charley, in a somewhat different way. I was amused to see that the Independent ran a big profile of Smith on Friday (I was away from home and my hotel delivered it free to my room). I was even more amused to see that the last paragraph reports "her ambition to be the next assistant in Doctor Who". She has actually been there and done that. Though I'd love to see her on the TV show too.
Tags: doctor who, doctor who: 02, doctor who: 06, doctor who: 08, doctor who: audio, doctor who: spinoff audio

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