Hello again, Cass.  The original four Time War boxes ended on something of a cliffhanger with the return of a version of Alex so there had be a lot more incidents between that and the cracked Doctor who Benny and River meet during Lies in Ruins (from The Legacy of Time).  Since it is a Time War, and history is in flux and with Rakhee Thakrar not returning as Bliss because her career's entering the next stage, why not a pre-meeting with the Eighth Doctor's final almost companion with the added mystery of how they can meet here and again in his future.  It's a variation on the theme of Charley Pollard, although without the companion knowing that the Time Lord will become such a big part of her future and trying to figure out her own solution.

Despite a couple of references in the dialogue we don't really receive an answer and its clear by the end that there are more stories to tell, probably with Cass 2, 3 & 4 in the production pipeline (which is why Big Finish have gone with a new title rather than simple called it The Time War Volume 5) (apart from when they do in the credits at the end of each episode) (I'll update the title of this post if necessary).  Will it be as simple as retconning The Time of the Doctor, so that he knows full well who Emma Campbell-Jones's Cass is even if she doesn't recognise him and he's pretending (which puts a new spin one her rejecting him outright).  Rule One: The Doctor Lies.  When he has to.

Meanwhile, Elsewhere

With very little to work from other than Time of the Doctor and the novelisation of Day of the Doctor (with which this is broadly consistent) Cass is the type of female friend the Eighth Doctor tends to swan through the universe with; independent, capable and well prepared to call him out when he's clearly bullshitting.  But it doesn't feel perfunctory when she's invited onto the TARDIS at the end - she fits right into the time paradox shenanigans.  The theme of the boxset seems to be stories which have resolved themselves before they've begun and I'll admit this took me two listens to really follow what happens and how.  The loquacious Hieronyma Friend feels like she was originally written to be River Song.  Perhaps Alex (Kingston not Campbell) was unavailable.


A never meet your heroes tale with a twist.  Once again, this took me a couple of goes to completely follow the action either because my inevitable cellular decay means I'm slower on the uptake than I used to be or jointless time is difficult to convey on audio where its difficult to have diagrams (or both).  It was a pleasure to go round again though.  The three leads have an easy chemistry especially Emma, and Sonny McGann who in the ten years since his last appearance has become a fine actor and the writers of these stories have really leaned into the enthusiasm for adventure this version of the Doctor's great-grandson has, every now and then even sounding like the younger version of his father who debut in these audios twenty years ago ("TARDIS manual, TARDIS manual ...").

Previously, Next Time

The inevitable Dalek story, although they're used in a much subtler way than in the previous Time War stories and although their plan has the ring of one of those earlier jargon soups, this looks at the effects of the scheme on a more human level, the Doctor faced with an impossible choice morally but not logically, of whether to wipe out an entire civilisation, no doubt foreshadowing the adventures of his successor.  I am slightly confused as to whether the effects of this retcon bomb's are only felt on this planet, the whole Whoniverse (explaining the incongruities in the Doctor's memory in the previous stories) or if there's some larger mystery which is yet to be explored.

A History of the BBC in 100 Blog Posts: 1955.

The BBC's late lamented On This Day website commemorated the day in 1955 the BBC lost its television monopoly.  It says:  "The new Independent Television Authority (ITA) began its broadcasts with live coverage of a ceremony at the Guildhall marking the start of Britain's first-ever commercially-funded television station."  ITV was originally called the ITA, Independent Television Authority, presumably until someone noticed the mustiness of the name and that a more logical alternative to the BBC was right in front of them.

Infamously the BBC tried to spike the launch by killing off Grace Archer on a popular radio soap opera drawing in 20m listeners.  As this 2015 profile explains, the official line was that "the show had too many characters and they needed to get rid of one."  But they include the image of a memo from the controller of the Light Programme specially asking for a major character to be killed off to diminish interest in the launch of commercial television.  Notice this was a radio effort: BBC Television didn't yet have a show with popular viewership large enough to present a similar challenge.

The profile then reveals why Grace Archer was selected for termination.  Actress Ysanne Churchman had gone to equity to have her pay increased to match her male co-stars and to join the union.  Instead, the creator of The Archers, Godfrey Basely sacked her.  But she had the last laugh: "They say that when one door shuts another opens. And on the very night Grace died, ITV started, and immediately needed people with just exactly my experience to voice the commercials. And so I was able to make a good living from voice-overs for years."

This Is Your Life

"Celebrating television's This Is Your Life."
A whole website dedicated to the programme.
[Big Red Book]

"From somewhere in Great Britain we’ve selected someone to whom we’re going to pay an unusual tribute. That person is here in our BBC Theatre in London. He – or she – does not know that behind this archway are the friends and family who helped to shape his, or her, life. Whose life? Well, it could be anybody’s. It could be you – or you – or you!."
[Look and Learn]

"My parents were invited by the BBC to appear on Russ Conway’s “This Is Your Life”  Actually, it was Dad who was invited, but Mum went along too.  I think she wanted to go shopping in Oxford Street!"

The show had long since passed over to Thames Television, but this is still a delight.

"The Irish broadcaster Eamonn Andrews became the first subject of the British version of the television programme This Is Your Life when the host and creator of the show’s American version, Ralph Edwards, surprised him in July 1955.  Eamonn, already contracted to present This Is Your Life, was led to believe the subject was to be his friend, the boxer Freddie Mills, after the original choice of footballer Stanley Matthews had been cancelled due to a press leak."
[Big Red Book]


"A series of talks by Orson Welles, illustrated by his own sketches."
[BBC Clips][BBC Programme Index]

"In January 1955 psychologist, broadcaster and humanist Margaret Knight stunned post-war Britain by suggesting in two talks on the BBC’s Home Service (now Radio 4) that moral education should be uncoupled from religious education."
[Humanist UK]

"An investigation by Robert Reid into the National Health Service in Salford."
[BBC Rewind]


"The first of two experimental broadcasts from a Vickers Varsity in flight over Norfolk. Cameras from the cockpit and the bomb aimer's compartment, supplemented by cameras on the ground, capture the plane taking off and landing, as well as other aircraft, such as a Lincoln, Canberra and Meteor NF12, flying alongside."
[BBC Archive][BBC Programme Index]

"A look around the new BBC TV studios at Gosta Green, Birmingham, opened by the Lord Mayor."
[BBC Rewind]


"24 November 1955 The BBC claims that imaginative teaching techniques will be at the core of programmes."
[The Guardian]

"TV viewers are fed radio commentary due to a technical problem but it's still a good day for sport on television."
[The Guardian]

"If you like old trucks and the BBC, this is just your thing. If not, keep reading, because the tale is worth telling anyway."
[Curbside Classic]

"It’s long been known that the recordings of the 1950s BBC radio drama adaptation of The Lord of the Rings are (barring some unforeseen miracle) forever lost to time. But, lately there’s been a renewed interest in searching the BBC archives to see what actually remains."
[The One Ring]

"“And over the brow of the hill he comes – Archie Scott-Brown driving a 2-litre Lister-Bristol. The crowd waves to him as he comes through. . . . . and as he streaks away out of my sight to the left, we can just see McAlpine in a Connaught coming over the crest of the hill to my right, in second place. . . . . . . . followed closely by Parnell in an Aston-Martin. . .”"
[Look and Learn]

"I love Sooty. He's the universal constant: everyone with a television born in the late 1940s onwards watched his shows when they were little, and everyone loved them. He's definitely in my top few kids' programmes of all time, and I suspect I'm not alone in saying that. So, sit back and enjoy this part-retrospective, part-making-of documentary from 1983. It's interesting, fun, and heart-warming in equal measures."

"You may think what has Dixon of Dock Green and Jack Warner got to do with the Buckinghamshire Constabulary - well nothing actually! but all hopefully will become clear as you read on."
[Milton Keynes Heritage Association]

"It's Friday, it's five to five... it's Crackerjack" - "CRACKERJACK!"
[BBC Cult]


"On the surface, our British cousins appear to be a lot more liberal than we Americans are when it comes to censorship."
[Rebeat Magazine]

"Construction and development are the keynotes of this report.  The BBC was occupied through the year in carrying out an expansion and a reinstatement of the physical instruments and installations of broadcasting on an extensive scale, not hitherto equalled in this country."

"The re-introduction of the BBC Handbook last year was welcomed by many who desired authoritative and extensive information about the BBC's constitution and organisation."
[World Radio History]