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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The Light At the End (Big Finish 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who)

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Writer and Director: Nicholas Briggs

Producer: David Richardson

No of Episodes: 2, on 2 discs (Running Time: Approximately 2 hrs.)

Summary: The first eight Doctors are all interrupted in the middle of their latest adventures by a warning light in the TARDIS. What’s so unusual about that? How about the fact that this particular warning light doesn’t seem to have existed before? The light leads each doctor to 59A Barnsfield Crescent, Totton, Hampshire, England, Earth on 11/23/1963 (the day the very first episode of Doctor Who, “An Unearthly Child” aired). But the whole thing is really a plot set in motion by The Master.

Review: While I did enjoy “Day of the Doctor”, the TV celebration of Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary, I felt there just wasn’t enough looking to the past. I realize that not every Doctor or companion could be present for the show, but I felt there should’ve been more than just quick cameos for the Classic Doctors. This story, however, pulls out all the stops. We get EVERY single Doctor Big Finish has rights to, as well as nearly every companion from the classic days too. (the only ones who don’t show up whose actors are still alive are Romana, K-9, and Mel.) The story is a lot of fun, filled with much nostalgia from the classic days. It’s definitely worth a listen if you’re familiar with Classic Who.

Overall Review: 9/10

Continuity: The Master that is in this story is portrayed by Geoffrey Beevers. This is the infamous “Crispy Master”, who appears in “The Deadly Assassin” and “The Keeper of Traken”.  Charley Pollard is the only companion exclusive to Big Finish who appears in this story. Her first appearance was in “Storm Warning”.  In fact, if you haven’t listened to any of Big Finish’s previous stories, you’re in luck–Charley and Straxus (from the 8th Doctor’s range) are the only big references to Big Finish. (There’s a minor reference to the Sixth Doctor play “The Wishing Beast”) It’s almost as if Nicholas Briggs wanted this story to be as accessible to newcomers as possible, which is welcome for people like me.

Trivia: Kevin Dovie, the youngest child of Bob Dovie, whose family resides at the address in the story, is portrayed by Benedict Briggs, the son of Nicholas Briggs. In addition to this story, Big Finish also released a trilogy called 1963, which crosses the 5th, 6th, and 7th Doctors’ timelines. They also released a trilogy of Companion Chronicles, and an 11-part story called Destiny of the Doctor. There is also a special edition of Light At the End which comes with an exclusive Companion Chronicle and a booklet. I only reviewed the Standard Edition. (There’s a vinyl edition, but that’s sold out.

The Day of the Doctor

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Writer: Steven Moffat

Director: Nick Hurran

Producer: Marcus Wilson

Series: 50th Anniversary Special

Companion: Clara Oswald

Summary: The Eleventh Doctor meets the Tenth Doctor and The War Doctor when he discovers an “impossible painting” of Gallifrey, which is actually Gallifrey suspended in time. Is it possible that the Doctor can change history and free Gallifrey?

Review: Was this special worth the hype? I’d say yes!  It was great to learn the mystery of the War Doctor, who was played very well by John Hurt. He captured the angst and the struggle with the decision to go against everything he believed in. It was fun to see the three Doctors interact, and there were so many humorous moments, like the “confusing the polarity” line.  Seeing the Zygons again was excellent, as they are among my favorite monsters and I’d been wanting more stories with them for ages.  I loved all the nods to the past, like the more subtle ones like showing that Clara teaches at Coal Hills School, the same school where Barbara and Ian taught; to the more overt ones like the TARDIS console room shorting out and turning into the classic console room. And best of all was seeing Tom Baker. I’d heard him spoil things, but my Facebook friends dismissed the idea as another rumor, so seeing him actually turn up was such a joy.  This was a great story and a great celebration of the show’s past and present.

Continuity: Clara teaches at Coal Hills School, where Barbara Wright and Ian Chesterton taught.  Ian Chesterton is now chairman of its Board of Governors.  Clara rides a motorbike into the TARDIS console room, mirroring a policeman doing the same thing in the Doctor Who movie.  We’ve also seen the Tenth Doctor and Rose ride a moped out of the TARDIS in “The Idiot’s Lantern” and the Eleventh Doctor rode a motorcycle out of the TARDIS in “The Bells of St. John”. Clara can now open the TARDIS by snapping her fingers, just like the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors have done on numerous occasions, beginning with “The Forest of Shadows”. (The TARDIS must love her now!) The Eleventh Doctor is still wearing Amy’s glasses.  Malcolm, the scientist who worked with UNIT in “Planet of the Dead”, is mentioned.  The Doctor uses the phone outside the TARDIS again, just like he did in “The Bells of St. John”.  The War Doctor’s catchphrase “No more” was said by Dalek Caan in “Journey’s End”.  Both the War Doctor and the Tenth Doctor seem to like red buttons (cf. “The Christmas Invasion”) When Kate Stewart notices there are three Doctors, she asks for the “Cromer file” referencing the “The Three Doctors”. The Doctor wishing to intervene for crying children was mentioned in “The Beast Below.”  “The Three Doctors” and “Time Crash” also had scenes where a returning Doctor criticized the TARDIS’s current console room. The Tenth Doctor says his last words when the Eleventh Doctor mentions Trenzalore.  Before regenerating into the Ninth Doctor, the War Doctor’s final words are “This body is wearing a bit thin”, the final words of the First Doctor before he said “Keep warm” and collapsed in “The Tenth Planet”.

Trivia: This was the first Doctor Who episode to be released theatrically, unless you count the Dalek movies from the 60’s.  The story uses the very first opening for the show.  It was also the first Doctor Who episode to be shot in 3-D and set the record for the largest ever simulcast of a TV drama, airing in 94 countries and 1500 theatres worldwide!