The New Audio Adventures
The Inside Story
|Summary: A no-holds-barred account of the making of every Big Finish Doctor Who play from 1999's The Sirens of Time to 2003's anniversary special Zagreus, taking in special releases, online webcasts, Doctor Who Unbound, Dalek Empire and Sarah Jane Smith.|
Four out of Five by Jamas Enright 15/9/04
Here it is finally, the book we all thought the Audio Scripts books would be, the inside story, behind the scenes and inside the minds of everyone at Big Finish! (That said, I'm not sure it sounds like a good thing really...)
Anyways, here it is. Each story gets a spread ranging from one pagers up to whole parts dedicated to talking to the writers, the directors, the sound mixers and Gary Russell who just has to put his oar in everywhere (and that's meant in a nice way). And fascinating reading it is too! (Although, as ever with these sorts of books, the stories here are slightly spinning to present them in a polite way.)
Everything is covered here from the beginning of Big Finish to Sirens of Time up to Zagreus (although no Wormery though it came out before Zagreus did), including the free DWM cover give-aways. Sections are dedicated to Real Time, Shada, the Doctor-less Dalek Empire series and the Sarah Jane Smith series. There are even sections on designing the covers, and designing the sounds. My main gripe here is that the entire Benny adventure range (excepting Professor Bernice Summerfield and the Plague Herds of Excelis) is collapsed to two and a half columns in the appendix! A whole book could be written around her! (Although I might be a bit biased in that perspective.)
Given this range of stories, it's not surprising if there are some spoilers therein, and it is mentioned in the introduction that this will be happening. Indeed, in Britain all the plays are available so it is possible to hear them all before reading this book, but we're not that quite up to date in New Zealand. The really annoying part of this is how without warning some spoilers are delivered that could easily have been covered up. For instance, in the entry for The Church and the Crown, it could have been said "there was a proposal developed that later became Master, but instead the authors were commissioned for this" rather than revealing what the plot synopsis for Master was! (From this, you might be able to guess I haven't heard Master yet, and at the time of writing this review I haven't, but check out elsewhere for my review of that.) And so, at the moment, there are some (currently four) entries I haven't read, but I still think I can comment on the book. (On the other hand, I did read the Sarah Jane Smith entry, and haven't heard a single episode of that!)
Spread throughout the book are several photographs of cast and crew, all captioned in informative and often amusing ways. That said, the picture on page 187 isn't captioned at all. Shame on you Benjamin Cook!
So it's all good. There's obviously a lot more to each story that could be told, but until someone does a 'tell-all' behind the scenes dish on goss no-one wants to see printed, this will serve to sate our appetites on the real story behind Big Finish. And I also spy a 'I' on the side, so here's hoping there's a 'II' and more!