Big Finish
2018 output

Released 2018

Starring Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann

Synopsis: An overview of Big Finish's 2018 releases.


Kingdom of Fairytale by Stephen Maslin 26/1/22

1st Place: Better Watch Out/Fairytale of Salzburg
by John Dorney
(Eighth Doctor, Liv & Helen)

Head and shoulders above every other story in the often disappointing Ravenous series, this is by turns charming and atmospheric; sometimes genuinely hair-raising (which is no bad thing for an adventure series). Very satisfying from start to finish, John Dorney's Mitteleuropean-Christmas-gone-wrong effortlessly fills two discs without any padding (though the denouement does require quite a suspension of disbelief). Paul McGann leads from the front with consummate ease, but particular brownie points go to the some of the smaller parts, notably Raad Rawi, and also to Carla Mendonca and Kate Rawson for making the imps so deliciously unhinged. "You've been baaad!"

2nd Place: The Serpent in the Silver Mask
by David Llewellyn
(Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan & Adric)

A bravura, multi-voice performance from the great Samuel West, plus a whodunnit that keeps you guessing right to the end. The "Season 19 Crew" are better used here than they ever were on TV, and the whole thing is very polished and oodles of fun.

3rd Place: The Devil's Footprints
by Penelope Faith
(read by Bonnie Langford)

Bonnie Langford delivers an object lesson in dramatic reading, demonstrating exquisite pacing and characterisation. The script is unlike any other Big Finish tale, full of precise observations and minute detail, with understated music to match. Even though the gentle tone is shattered by the 7th Doctor theme music crashing in at the end, this is a fine, fine piece of work.

4th Place: The Bad Penny
by Dan Starkey
(Fourth Doctor & Leela)

The stand-out story in the otherwise indifferent Fourth Doctor Adventures Series 7. A very "visual" story that could easily have been a confusing mess actually turns into something rather memorable. Louise Jameson is as usual excellent, and Tom Baker puts in one of his better audio performances, but it is Keith Barron, playing the believable human villain par excellence, who shows everyone how it's done.

5th Place: Kingdom of Lies
by Robert Khan & Tom Salinsky
(Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan & Adric)

Continuing a tradition of light-hearted-but-pacy Fifth Doctor tales, this is a breeze. Sarah Sutton has immense fun with her alter-ego The Destroyer (yes, really), but it is a tribute to the Kahn-Salinsky writing partnership that not one of the other characters is under-written either.

Honourable Mention: How to Make a Killing in Time Travel
by John Dorney
(Eighth Doctor & Liv)

A John Dorney speciality: small-scale, developing into something larger, but still maintaining a lightness of touch. It's a standalone story (in a non-standalone series), and I for one would be happier if more of the Eighth Doctor's recent adventures were all pitched at this level, rather than the grandiose universe-in-ultimate-peril stuff.

...and THE WORST?

World of Damnation/Sweet Salvation

Oh no, its The Eleven (an idea that was no doubt really good over a glass of wine in the pub round the corner, but which becomes very annoying very quickly).


Oh no, it's The Eleven again.

Kill the Doctor/The Age of Sutekh

This double-header is particularly dispiriting. How, with all the ingredients in place, could a sure-fire hit be such a mess? The worst of it is Sutekh, one of the Doctor Who's most iconic adversaries, coming across as petulant and inept, and about as much a threat to the cosmos as a mildly aggrieved chicken. Terrible, just terrible.