Big Finish

Released 2007

Starring Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Paul McGann

Synopsis: An overview of the latter part of 2007's releases.


"Goodbye, Goodbye, We're Leaving You, Goodbye" by Stephen Maslin 29/11/16

The first eight monthly releases from Big Finish in 2007 really did try the patience: one good, four so-so, three utterly dreadful. From the same period, The New Eighth Doctor Adventures, Series One, wasn't up to much either, with an infuriating and ill-judged new companion and some very mediocre scripts. So how did the company fare toward the end of that year?


Son of the Dragon.

Written by Steve Lyons.

Starring Peter Davison, Nicola Bryant & Caroline Morris.

The Theory: 'Classic' Doctor Who fans have grown up with the show, therefore the show should grow up with them.
The Response: no, no, no, no. Son of the Dragon is an atmospheric piece of writing to be sure and with a very odd take on the rebellious companion (falling in love with a mass-murderer and attempting to justify said murderer's actions - streets ahead of Adric merely sulking). But are such grim implications of horror as are offered here really what you want for once-a-month audio escapism? James Purefoy makes for a splendid villain but, in truth, this doesn't really feel like Doctor Who at all: joyless, willfully bleak and, worst of all, terribly, terribly adult.


Recommendation: never grow up.



Written by Jacqueline Rayner, Rob Shearman, Joseph Lidster & Paul Cornell.

Starring Colin Baker & Maggie Stables.

Another one of Big Finish's four-in-one releases, about which there are only two things of note. On the negative side, Joseph Lidster's Bedtime Story is another example of that author's early 'shock-the-parents' style: wearisome and unpleasant. On the positive side, John Session's uncanny performance in My Own Private Wolfgang (switching between three different personae, without the aid of editing or multi-tracking) is a proverbial tour de force. The rest is moderately entertaining but no more than that. As a "ONE HUNDREDTH RELEASE!", it's a bit of a damp squib.

5/10 (100 BCE).

8/10 (My Own Private Wolfgang).

2/10 (Bedtime Story).

5/10 (The 100 Days of the Doctor).

Recommendation: avoid 4x1 compilations in future.



Written by Scott Alan Woodward.

Starring Paul McGann, India Fisher and Conrad Westmaas.

Good point: this is the last we hear from C'rizz.
Bad points: absolutely everything else. This is, without exaggeration, one of the worst Doctor Who experiences I have ever had. Lord knows there have been plenty of no-good Who moments over the years: every era has them, every format has them. What makes this one so painful is how seriously Absolution takes itself - such hand-wringing, such slow, hackneyed hand-wringing - and how badly it manages to sustain any dramatic tension. No wit, no fun, no excitement and in a genre where idiotic names are not uncommon, it also takes the prize for having some of the dumbest: Aboresh, Cacothis, Lolanthia, Phelgreth... May the Eutermesan race be wiped from the face of creation forever.


Recommendation: anti-depressants.


The Mind's Eye & Mission of the Viyrans.

Written by Colin Brake & Nicholas Briggs.

Starring Peter Davison, Nicola Bryant & Caroline Morris.

The Mind's Eye is a fair attempt at something a little different, with each of the three leads having there own unusual little strand. But a cast that looks so good on paper fails to gel and (continuing a trend set by Urgent Calls, Urban Myths and The Vanity Box) the end result is far outshone by Nicholas Briggs' stunning one-parter Mission of the Viyrans: one of Big Finish's most unnerving confections, with a bravura performance from Nicola Bryant. Truly extraordinary.

5/10 (The Mind's Eye), 10/10 (Mission of the Viyrans).

Recommendation: don't be fooled into thinking that the Viyrans are ever going to be this good again.


The Girl Who Never Was.

Written by Alan Barnes.

Starring Paul McGann & India Fisher.

Or, alternatively, The Big Send-Off That Never Was. Typical, eh? You line up your big guns - the Cybermen, a very impressive cast and Charley-creator Alan Barnes (with instructions to pen a spectacular fond farewell that doesn't involve C'rizz) - and whaddyaknow, none of those big guns goes off. We'd had such a roller-coaster ride with Charley since 2001 that we might have expected more. A lot more. Is this curiously uninvolving finale really how it's supposed to end? (No, as it turns out. Thus we get a brilliant "What the F?" moment right at the very end, but, by that point, one feels it's far too late to salvage another very ordinary story.)


Recommendation: give a re-listen to Seasons 2002 and 2004.


The Bride of Peladon.

Written by Barnaby Edwards.

Starring Peter Davison, Nicola Bryant & Caroline Morris.

The Great Companion Clear-Out continues! First C'rizz (hooray!), then Charley (though not really) and finally Erimem, a companion that never quite got the recognition (nor perhaps even the scripts) that she deserved. The stories in which she featured were a very mixed bag, and, as time went on, like so many other companions from Doctor Who's history, it seems the producers lost interest in giving her anything distinctive to do. The Bride of Peladon tries its best to address this, with the help of another excellent cast and the fan-pleasing pedal pressed firmly to the floor (Osirans, Ice Warriors, Mrs Aggedor). Yet it is, like The Girl Who Never Was, a bit "so-what".


Recommendation: give a re-listen to The Church and the Crown and The Kingmaker.


You will have noticed that, apart from Absolution's well-deserved 0/10 and Mission of the Viyrans well-earned 10/10, almost everything else is a mere 5/10. This should tell you something: that the biggest crime on show here is ordinariness. There's very little to get worked up about or that one would ever need to listen to again. There's absolutely no reason why audio should not be as durable as the TV show that spawned it, but it seems that sights have been set much lower here: part of a conversation with like-minded friends or the shifting of a few units of product, nothing more. What is clear is that the releases that began with #105 (Eddie Robson's excellent The Condemned) were supposed to be some kind of new broom. A pity, then, that of the first half-dozen, four are absolute garbage: The Dark Husband, Assassin in the Limelight, The Death Collectors and The Boy That Time Forgot are pure drivel. 1/10 would be over-generous. For me at least, a devoted listener for the best part of eight years, enough was enough. Goodbye, goodbye...