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Big Finish (non-Blake's 7)
Spaceship Dispatcher
Doctor Who: The English Way of Death

Another round of splendid performances by Tom Baker, Lalla Ward and John Leeson as the Doctor, Romana and K-9. They were joined in both stories by an excellent guest cast of nu-Who actors too with The Romance of Crime featuring Michael Troughton (Last Christmas) and Miranda Raison (Daleks in Mahattan), and this story featuring Terrence Hardiman (The Beast Below). The period setting is nicely done in this production without having many modern effects sounds to spoil the feeling of either the 1930s, the period of the story, or the 1970s, the period of the original tv series. The complexities of the plot are all there, but so is all the wonderful humour and Douglas Adams-like touches that made both of the original novels so memorable. Another perfect 10/10.
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
The Avengers: Collection 3

Another four completely perfect audio re-enactments based on the original series of The Avengers, with Anthony Howell starring as Dr Keel and Julian Wadham as John Steed. If you know the ABC era of the show, these are probably the most accurate of any Big Finish series based on a television production; and that includes all their Dr Who stuff. 10/10
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Ela
I've been reading the Doctor Who Virgin New Adventures lately, when I can find them.

Latest reads were All Consuming Fire. Enjoyed reading the interactions between Sherlock Holmes and Watson, on the one hand, and the Seventh Doctor, Ace, and Benny, on the other. So much fun.

I managed to find the next one, Blood Harvest, too. Doctor Who in Chicago prohibition era gangster land. Also a good story.

Currently reading St. Anthony's Fire.

Mostly, I'm trying to get Benny background before I get started on the seven series of Bernice Summerfield audio stories I bought last month. Pfft
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Ela wrote:

Mostly, I'm trying to get Benny background before I get started on the seven series of Bernice Summerfield audio stories I bought last month. Pfft

In that case there's something you should know...

Benny was indeed created as a new companion for the Doctor in the early novels and stayed in the books for quite a long time before her character was married off to Jason Kane, brought in as a recurring character near the end of her run; when it was realised that the licence would not be renewed, Virgin did a cross-over featuring Benny and the McGann Doctor as a prelude to a Benny centred series of spin-off novels. They did not feature any reference to her initial run in the series, which is what you're reading at the moment, and obviously no mention of the Doctor himself. When even those ended, Big Finish used the character for their first audios; these were remakes of NAs and so effectively are a new canon of work that doesn't fit within the NA continuity either with or without the Doctor; it's this reboot that BF's later books and audios are based upon and not the books you're reading now. There are some dramas in the Dr Who main range of audios and the one Companion Chronicle set during the old days, including recent adaptations of Love & War and The Highest Science, but mostly the BF Benny stuff fits their own rebooted version. Big Finish's 'new' version of the character of Benny is very different compared with what you're reading, with a child and a broken marriage and all sorts of traumatic life changing experiences, though the fact that Lisa Bowerman is the official voice of Benny in both universes papers over a lot of the gaps; most of the backstory for the audio range was set up in BF's own collection of Benny novels that they published when it launched, most notably The Squires Crystal which is a must read if the audios are going to make any sense. Quite which continuity The New Bernice Summerfield Adventures will fit into I don't know yet; Virgin, Big Finish, a cross over, or a 'lets just forget the mess we made and pretend it all fits' approach...
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Ela
Yeah, I knew some of that. Ever since I got interested in Benny (mainly from her appearance in some BF Doctor Who stories), I've been trying to get some background on her from various places around the web, and it has seemed to me that trying to get her stories in any kind of sensible order is pretty much impossible.

I'm kind of a completist, though, I tend to plow through everything. Pfft

So where do I start to get the best background for the Benny series of BF audios? In reading the Bernice Summerfield forum over there, I kind of get the impression that jumping in with the first audio leaves some gaps in background from the Doctor Who New Adventures that make it harder to understand why Benny reacts the way she does to certain things. Things like her marriage and her interactions with Braxietel.

Aren't some of the first audios based on the New Adventures books? The titles are the same, anyway.

One thing, anyway, that struck me, is that Lisa Bowerman's Benny seems to say, "Oh, goddess" a lot, and the Benny I've seen in the books I've read so far hasn't said that once yet, that I can remember. Pfft

With all the Blake's 7 audios I just bought, I have plenty of time to get some Benny background reading in before I start listening to Benny. Wink

But any background you think I should have (and where to get it) might still be helpful. Smile
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Ela wrote:

So where do I start to get the best background for the Benny series of BF audios? In reading the Bernice Summerfield forum over there, I kind of get the impression that jumping in with the first audio leaves some gaps in background from the Doctor Who New Adventures that make it harder to understand why Benny reacts the way she does to certain things. Things like her marriage and her interactions with Braxietel.

Aren't some of the first audios based on the New Adventures books? The titles are the same, anyway.

One thing, anyway, that struck me, is that Lisa Bowerman's Benny seems to say, "Oh, goddess" a lot, and the Benny I've seen in the books I've read so far hasn't said that once yet, that I can remember...

Yes, that's an example of the changes; although the NAs did infamously have the characters cursing with made up swear words in some of the novels, so I put that down to a humorous homage of the fact. The audios that were based on the books were a mix of NAs from after the Dr Who licence expired and novels that originally did feature the Doctor but were totally rewritten to remove him and fit a 2 hour production length. Basically, they can't realistically be part of the same overall 'story' for the character in the same way that Human Nature being a NA and an episode of Nu-Who pretty much confirms these as post-Survival alternatives. But the trouble is that Big Finish have borrowed continuity from the original NA series despite their own books and audios being a reboot, so there is nowhere to get an established or consistent backstory from because there isn't one! My advice would be to try and get the Squires Crystal novel if you can, make sure you start the audios with Oh No It Isn't! and don't worry too much about the rest of it. Just enjoy the Virgin and Big Finish series seperately.
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Ela
What you are saying is pretty much what I've seen on the various sites I've checked, trying to find more info about Benny. Guess I'll just continue to muddle along. Smile

I'll read what New Adventures I can find and start on the audios when I get through my current playlist of Doctor Who.

In the Doctor Who Main Range, I'm currently listening to Cradle of the Snake. Then I have the subscriber's Short Trips that I got with my most recent sub, and the two Rocket Men Companion Chroncles I acquired recently (one as a sub bonus and one as the Listeners selection for February).

Most importantly, Dark Eyes 4!!! Grin


And speaking of the Listeners selection, what are opinions on the Listeners selection for March:
The Invasion of E-Space? Worth getting or not?
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Don't know any of those releases, sorry Grin
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Ela
The Benny book you mentioned above, The Squire's Crystal, doesn't seem to be readily available unless one wishes to pay an inflated price for it to a third party seller. Too bad.
 
MrAlienMan
May I just say that the first Big Finish audio adventure that I listened to was 'The Book of Kells' from the eighth doctor adventures when it was repeated on BBC Radio 4 Extra and I listened to the rest of the series and loved it and I have listened to 'Dark Eyes' and loved it too
Now I am completely hooked.

On BBC Radio 4 Extra right now there is an 7th doctor adventure called 'A Thousand Tiny Wings' and will be there for the next few days.
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Enjoyed all the Eighth Doctor Adventures series, with Sheridan Smith as Lucie Miller, but didn't really get on too well with either Dark Eyes (vols 1 or 2) or A Thousand Tiny Wings; iirc I gave my copies of both away to Trevor Travis...
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
timdalton007
MrAlienMan wrote:On BBC Radio 4 Extra right now there is an 7th doctor adventure called 'A Thousand Tiny Wings' and will be there for the next few days.


Only shame about the BBC Radio 4 Extra version of A Thousand Tiny Wings is that they cut it down from four episodes to three. It's a very different story when you do something like that, especially when you start shifting cliffhangers about as a result. Still, a good solid story and we'll be reviewing it soon over on Stories From The Vortex.

timdalton007
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Now I'm excited! Even better than Torchwood or a new Sherlock Holmes release, Big Finish have just announced a new collection Graceless stories!! They are one of my favourite audio spin-off series out there, with neat but emotive and sometimes quite mature narratives... with Ciara Janson and Laura Doddington too. All we need is a word on the Blake's 7 range as well and 2016 is looking very cool.
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
timdalton007
I haven't posted about it here in awhile but my Big Finish centric podcast Stories From The Vortex is still going strong. We've covered a lot of ground in the last year of so covering a large number of Who releases as well as the first Survivors box-set and the first season of Cyberman. Our most recent episode (Episode 34) is the first of a two-part look at the stories that introduced Elizabeth Klein to Big Finish's Doctor Who range, covering Colditz and A Thousand Tiny Wings.

You can find the podcast via our website or on iTunes.

timdalton007
 
timdalton007
The Defectors:

With Sylvester McCoy's Seventh Doctor being my favorite Doctor and era of Jon Pertwee's Third Doctor's being my favorite era of the show, it was with quite some excitement that I came to listen to The Defectors. Even more intriguing, this was the beginning of the “Loccum Doctors” trilogy leading up to Big Finish's 200th main range release and which saw the three main range Doctors (Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy) swapping places with one of the first three Doctors. Yet my listening to this story proved to be something of a disappointment.

The Defectors biggest problem story is its script by Nicholas Briggs, more specifically its plot. On the surface at least, it has all the trappings of a classic Third Doctor adventure involving Jo Grant (Katy Manning) and UNIT being throw into chaos when the regular army arrives while the Brigadier is away in Geneva. When Captain Cornelius (Neil Roberts) arrives to escort the Doctor and Jo to an undisclosed location, Jo is shocked to find that the Doctor who steps out of the TARDIS isn't her Doctor at all. While Jo wonders who the Doctor really is, they arrive on the mysterious Delphin Isle which turns out to be home to a secret military base, overly friendly locals and (of course) strange events. With echoes of stories like Claws Of Axos and The Sea Devils, it has Third Doctor written all over it.

Yet the actual plot itself is lackluster. The first two episodes are essentially little more than set up and even once events slowly start rolling in the second episode, things don't improve much. With part of the story's appeal being that we see the Seventh Doctor in a Third Doctor adventure, he actually contributes very little to the plot until the last episode having spent the two middle episodes of the story stuck in an office having a conversation with Commander Wingford (played by Big Finish stalwart Barnaby Edwards). On the plus side this means the story gets to focus more on Jo, which leaves the tale feeling like a poorly expanded story from the Companion Chronicles range. Plus , while the UNIT set-up is very much part of the era being emulated, it isn't until the end of the story that they and Mike Yates (an underutilized Richard Franklin) actually contribute to the story, echoing what happens to McCoy's Doctor as well. The worst part might be the alien threat which, once exposed, ends up going comedic almost instantly, further undermining what little tension the story has. The ingredients are all there but the recipe doesn't come together into a satisfying story that either completely captures the Third Doctor era or that makes proper use of McCoy's Doctor.

While the plot and script leave this as a bit of disappointment, that's not a charge that can be leveled at other elements, the performances especially. McCoy does his best with the material he's handed and, though I prefer the master-plan making and darker Seventh Doctor, it's nice to hear McCoy play something a little lighter here. It also helps that he has some wonderful chemistry with Manning who gets most of the action in this story. While Manning sounds considerably older than she did in the 1970s (and sounds almost ridiculous trying to be younger Jo at times), her energy and warmth come through and Jo is better served here than she was in some of her original TV stories. The supporting cast is solid with the performance from David Graham as Shedgerton being the best as he becomes Jo (and the listeners guide) to the events unfolding on the island. Last but not least is the aforementioned (and underutilized) Richard Franklin who sounds not a day older than he did in the 1970s in his handful of appearances in the story.

Then there's the music and sound design. The music especially is a stand out as Joe Kraemer's score captures perfectly the Dudley Simpson scores of the Pertwee era, especially in the early episodes of the story. Big Finish have proven themselves adept at capturing and recreating the feel of a particular era and this story is no exception. The sound design is, of course, imbecile with utterly convincing soundscapes that put the listener into UNIT HQ and onto the mysterious Delphin Isle. The results of both are strong and bode well for Big Finish's upcoming Third Doctor Adventures box-set.

Sadly though, despite the strengths of the performances and sound design, The Defectors is still a disappointment. Briggs' script ends up relying more on nostalgia for the Third Doctor era than actual plot to carry the story and thus it never completely captures that era or makes strong use of McCoy's Seventh Doctor in that setting. It's a decent story but I can't help but feel it could have been so much more.

[b][/5/10b]

timdalton007
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
timdalton007 wrote:

The Defectors:

...The sound design is, of course, imbecile with utterly convincing soundscapes that put the listener into UNIT HQ and onto the mysterious Delphin Isle. The results of both are strong ...

I think you meant impeccable Grin
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Doctor Who: The Well Mannered War

This story was the final part of Gareth Roberts' trilogy of s17 novels originally published in the mid-1990s, and all of them were and are amongst my favourite books based on the show. It's a while since I read them, but all three adaptations feel right according to my recollections though. The rapport between Tom and Lalla, with John Leeson as K-9 too, is still as much fun as always. This one also links into the continuity of other stories, and has a wonderful ending with the Doctor and Romana starting out on new adventures; it was a finale that ended the book range on a high, and it's still a great feel good last scene now. Michael Troughton and Tim McInnerny are well cast, both joining in the fun and memorable in their own roles. Everything here works just as it should, as a drama and a homage to a classic novel. 10/10
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
The Worlds of Big Finish

Hahaha, brilliant Grin

Worlds is a completely insane three hour crossover story featuring Abby and Zara, Sherlock Holmes, Dorian Gray, Iris Wildthyme, Vienna Salvatori and Bernice Summerfield; a marvellously tangled and implausible timey wimey tale of 'effect and cause' that all makes perfect sense by the end! Anyone that follows my own efforts will know my love for crossover fanfic and appreciate that my score here is obviously biased, but this is seriously the most fun I have had with a Big Finish drama ever - 10/10
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Doctor Who: Damaged Goods

This was a novel in the 1990s New Adventures series that I never read first time around but, with the big build up from so many positive reviews over the years, it was an audio that came with high expectations. Maybe it was the way that it was cropped from a novel into a drama script, but this was a lot more shallow than anticipated; there was a domestic setting and real world adult themes, but no time was spent on them and they remained unexplored and under-developed. By the time the story is part way through the second disk, it has become another Big Finish special effects 'soundscape' with the actors pushed very much to the back of the mix. The performances themselves were all good and, despite being two of my least favourite comapnions in print, Chris and Ros worked well for me on audio and I'm looking forward to hearing them again. This was okay, but imo nothing special - 7/10
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Ela
Damaged Goods is coming up on my playlist soon. I've read the novel, so it will be interesting to see the similarities and differences.
 
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