Seventh Doctor Audio: Dust Breeding

dust breeding

Writer: Mike Tucker

Director: Gary Russell

Companions: Ace (Sophie Aldred), Bev Tarrant (Louise Falkner)

Running Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

No of episodes: 4, 2 CD’s (download only)

Summary: On 19th century Earth, Edvard Munsch created the macabre painting The Scream, which was supposedly inspired by a scream that ripped through time and space. In the 26th century, Ace and the Doctor have arrived on the colony of Duchamp 331 to “rescue” (actually more like steal) the painting. They discover an alien race called the Krill have contaminated the dust itself,. And an old enemy awaits them.

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Seventh Doctor Audio: Shadow of the Scourge

shadow-of-the-scourge

Writer: Paul Cornell

Director: Gary Russell

Producers: Jason Haigh-Ellery & Gary Russell

Companions: Ace (Sophia Aldred), Bernice Summerfield (Lisa Bowerman)

Note: This is one of Big Finish’s “Side Steps” stories. Although Bernice Summerfield is featured, it is separate from their established stories for her, and more in keeping with what was in Virgin Books’ version of the character.

Running Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes (4 parts, 2 CD’s)

Summary: The Doctor, Ace, and archaeologist Bernice Summerfield travel to the Pinehill Crest Hotel, where they find a dead body that has been resurrected as a vessel for an alien race called the Scourge. The Scourge feed on despair and seek to create it, using the hotel as a starting point for an invasion.

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Seventh Doctor Audio: The Fires of Vulcan

fires-of-vulcanWriter: Steve Lyons

Director: Gary Russell

Producers: Gary Russell and Jason Haigh-Ellery

Executive Producer: Jacqueline Rayner

Running Time: 1 hour, 44 minutes

Companion: Melanie Bush (Bonnie Langford)

Summary: The Doctor and Mel arrive in Pompeii just before Mt. Vesuvius is about to blow.

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Destiny of the Doctor: Shockwave (7th and Ace)

shockwave

Writer: John Swallow

Director: John Ainsworth

Running Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Companion: Ace (Sophia Aldred, narrator)

Summary: In the future, the inhabitants of Tarsus Six are desperately attempting to escape their planet before their sun , Tarsus Ultra, collapses.

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Seventh Doctor Audio: The Genocide Machine

genocide-machine

Writer: Mike Tucker

Director and Producer: Nicholas Briggs

Executive Producer: Jacqueline Rayner

Running Time: 1 hour, 56 minutes (2 CD’s)

Companion: Ace (Sophia Aldred)

(Note: This is the first part of the “Dalek Empire” arc, which preludes Big Finish’s Dalek Empire range. The arc is a crossover through Doctors 5-8)

Summary: Ace is looking around the TARDIS library when she discovers some overdue library books. (Yes, really) The Doctor is perplexed because he found the books on the planet of Kar-Charrat, the largest library in the universe.  The Doctor and Ace arrive on the planet and discover a Dalek invasion waiting for them.

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Multi-Doctor: Sirens of Time (Doctors 5-7)

sirens-of-time

Writer and Director: Nicholas Briggs

Producer: Gary Russell

Companion: None

Running Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes

Summary: Gallifrey is threatened by the Knights of Velyshaa. Meanwhile, the 5th, 6th, and 7th Doctors each encounter an individual crisis, linking them to each other. The crises are the work of the Sirens of Time.

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Seventh Doctor Audio Drama: Fearmonger

fearmonger

Writer: Jonathan Blum

Director: Gary Russell

Producers: Jason Haigh-Ellery and Gary Russell

Running Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes (2 CD’s, 4 Pts)

Companion: Ace (Sophia Aldred)

Summary: The Seventh Doctor and Ace find themselves in an alternate version of Britain occupied by the far right New Brittainnia Party. The Party is using a monster called the Fearmonger, who instills fear and feeds on the fearful.

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Silver Nemesis

nemesis

Writer: Kevin Clarke

Director: Chris Clough

Producer: John Nathan-Turner

No. of Episodes: 3

Season: 25, ep. 3 (8-10)

Companion: Ace (Sophie Aldred)

Summary: Several centuries ago, the Doctor launched a statue into space, encased in a meteorite. This became known as the Nemesis comet.  Every 25 years, it comes closer to Earth, and every time it does, catastrophe follows. Three examples the Doctor gives are:

1913: WWI starts

1938: Hitler annexes Austria

1963: President Kennedy is assassinated

However, the statue is incomplete. The bow and arrow are still on Earth and are in the property of Lady Peinforte and her servant, back in 1688.  Several centuries later, a group of neo-nazis have found the bow and arrow. To make matters worse, the Cybermen have arrived on Earth, hoping to procure the statue when it crashes on Earth. Can the Doctor and Ace stop it from falling into the wrong hands?

Review: This is the final Cybermen story for Classic Who. What was supposed to be a good story is swamped by too many villains. What we got was a story that was somewhat average.

The Cybermen look terrible with their chrome armor.  They look like they’re made out of tinfoil to me.  To make matters worse, they’re more fragile than they used to be. Ace manages to finish off quite a few with a slingshot and some gold doubloons. It looks cool, I’ll admit, and the final moment where she’s surrounded by them with only one left is great (“Which one of you will die? And which one will be lucky?”–great Ace line), it still looks silly.

To sum it up, this story isn’t the best, but it’s far from the worst.  I like it when Ace and the Doctor interact. They are always great together, no matter how bad the story gets.  I love watching the Seventh Doctor set plans in motion as quickly as he does.

Overall Review: 6/10

Continuity: In Part Two the Doctor dematerialises the TARDIS as an arrow hits it. This also happened in “The Shakespeare Code” . In both cases the arrow dematerialises with the TARDIS.  In one scene, the Doctor is seen wearing a fez and carrying a mop, which the Eleventh Doctor also does in “The Big Bang”. Ace asks the Doctor who he is, and this is part of Andrew Cartmel’s “master plan”, which inspired the “ultimate question” story arc of Series 6 in New Who.  The chess game that the Doctor is playing comes up again in “The Curse of Fenric”, where viewers see that the Doctor was actually playing against Fenric, an Elder God (like the Great Intelligence).

Trivia: This was the 25th anniversary episode. There are cameos from Nicholas Courtney and story writer Kevin Clarke.  The jazz musician that the Doctor and Ace listen to is in reality Courtney Pine, a popular jazz musician from the 80’s, who happens to be playing himself.

 

Time and The Rani

timeNo of Episodes: 4

Season: 24, ep. 1 (1-4)

Writers: Pip & Jane Baker

Director: Andrew Morgan

Producer: John-Nathan Turner

Companion: Melanie “Mel” Bush (Bonnie Langford)

Summary: The Rani has shot down the Doctor’s TARDIS and during the crash, the Doctor regenerates.  When it crashes on the planet Lakertya, The Rani kidnaps the new Seventh Doctor with the help of a Tetrap, a bat-like monster with a poisonous tongue. It is revealed that The Rani has kidnapped various geniuses to feed data into a humongous brain.

Review: A regeneration episode has two purposes. First, it has to establish the new Doctor’s persona.  Second, it has to present a new crisis so we can see how the Doctor approaches it.  Sadly, “Time and the Rani” fails at both. The Seventh Doctor would really not be established until Ace arrives in “Dragonfire”.  The concept of the humongous brain is silly, even by Classic Doctor Who standards.  The Tetraps are ridiculous and very clumsy monsters who feel like they stepped out of a sentai show.

So, is there anything positive? Certainly. McCoy does his best to make his new Doctor endearing, and his pratfalls are amusing. Kate O’ Mara is far and away the true star.  She captures The Rani well, especially when she impersonates Mel.

To wrap this up, I’d say it’s not the worst Doctor Who story. It’s a notch below average. But if you want to see what the Seventh Doctor was all about, skip it.

Overall Rating: 4/10

Continuity: This is The Rani’s last story, unless you count the god-awful “Dimensions in Time” charity special, which most Whovians who were around to see it try to forget.  During the obligatory costume change. McCoy tries on outfits belonging to the Third, Fourth, Fifth, and finally Second Doctors before settling on his famous sweater-vest outfit.

Trivia: This is the only serial in the Classic period that starts with a cold open, rather than the new opening credits. This is probably because it did not start off from a previous episode, like all the other regeneration episodes did.