Audio As you can see I'm pretty well rushing through this series now. With shorter story durations and faster pacing, they're very easy to "boxset" in a way which wasn't the case with the longer stories in the earlier iteration with their ponderous duration, leisurely spreading their stories across two and a half hours filling two cds. But it's worth nothing this series sees another structural change with the fifty minute stories giving way to two half hours with a cliffhanger in the middle, seemingly at the behest of the BBC who ran the radio broadcasts one of these episodes at a time, filling up the rest of the "fourth dimension" with some other reading. Which makes it all the more strange that they would subsequently then miss some of them out. With only Orbis, The Beast of Orlok, The Scapegoat and The Cannibalists being transmitted in 2010 (which is why, as I said last time I waited until now to listen to any of this). There'd be a three year gap before series four turned up, broadcast on a daily basis during two weeks in January 2013 as part of the anniversary celebrations.
The overall deliberate theme of the series appears to be sequels featuring monsters and villains we haven't seen for a while outside of non-Who licensing or the novels though it's odd that two of the choices happen to be insect based. At a certain point, someone has to write a story about the Wirrn invading Metebelis 3 and attempting to impregnate the spiders, indeed it's amazing Big Finish haven't commissioned that for the Tom Baker series. Imagine the arguments between a Wirrn Queen and The Great One with Tom refereeing. There are other recurrences too. Lucie's possessed or threatened with possession a lot again (to the point that she references it herself in the final episode). Two of the episodes are underpinned by very similar backstories. There's also a slightly darker tone for much of the duration, even in the notionally more comic stories. But overall it simply underpins what I love about this franchise at its best, the sheer variety of stories and its constant ability to reinvent itself. Same incarnation, vastly different approach to the storytelling compared to even Storm Warning.
The Beast of Orlok
that Daniel Anthony was the first black actor to play the Doctor, albeit not his own incarnation but Matt Smiths. Here he's called upon to play a grunt with a soul in a homage to Starship Trooper featuring the giant insects from the Ark in Space. Written and directed by Nicholas Briggs, after some brilliant Gravity-like spacesuit action (and years before the release of that film) (and in audio where the special effects cost nothing) and the odd burst of action, it's mostly a talky, philosophical affair about the nature of war and why we fight. Notable at the time of broadcast for being the first Wirrn story since a BBV production there are some useful developments to the mythology, including how the insects appropriate the psychology of hosts which means that if the hosts are cows, they become basic themselves. At this point, the Doctor's initial forgetfulness post Orbis seems entirely forgotten and his relationship with Lucie is just as it was last year, albeit that the tone of the stories is a touch darker.
for years I used to say "scapeghost" instead thanks to seeing an advert for the old PC text adventure, this being the first place I'd ever seen it and no one corrected me for years...
The Eight Truths / Worldwide Web
Another epic season finale in the mold of the new television series with a global threat (that's pretty easy to guess once you've heard about the cult, the crystals and you look at the title but I think you're supposed to) and what's now a pretty contemporary setting (made in 2008 it's set in 2015). As ever writer Eddie Robson is really on point with his characterisation of the Doctor and Lucie with the former displaying all the bravery and also wit which turned me onto him being my favourite Doctor in the first place. But the script's satire is itself very brave in places; was this the reason it wasn't ultimately broadcast on the radio? In the process of wrapping up the story threads begun back in Orbis, with elements such an artificial sphere containing an electronic afterlife which seem to have influenced Steven Moffat's thinking later in at least a couple of stories. Notable casting in the form of Sanjeev Bhaskar and Stephen Moore, or Colonel Ahmed and Eldane as they would be on television later. Can't wait to find out what happens in Bla-