Doctor Who – The final phase

The Fourth Doctor Adventures

2.7. Doctor Who: The Final Phase

I now want David Warner as an actual Doctor for a season….

If there is anything which televised Doctor Who has taught us, is that the reason this show works and works so well isnt special effects, it isnt CGI, and it certainly isn’t by using actors who don’t understand or appreciate the material.  It’s held together by performers, writers and ultimetly fans who love and respect the material.

Luckily, in Tom Baker and Mary Taam, we have a TARDIS duo who not only understand WHO, but happen to be two of the most iconic and loved starts from the TV show.  In Baker’s case, a convincing argument could be made that he IS the show.

After all, the image of Tom Baker, all curls, teeth, and the scarf was the defining image of the Doctor that many grew up with, hell, even those who didn’t grow up with him identify Tom with the show very strongly.

One of the concerns I had coming into BF was that with the medium being audio, perhaps the actor’s would be ‘off’ or maybe have aged past their characters.  Thankfully, this was unfounded – Baker in particular sounds as if he was still in his pomp.  A bit older, sure, but what is 40 years to a Timelord?  Surely that’s how long they leave the teabag in the mug, isn’t it?

Now, I have to confess, I jumped straight into this story in somewhat River Song fashion – not realising that this was a follow on from an earlier story, wibbly wobbly tiey wimey, Biggy Finishy….

The Final Phase was the seventh and final story in the second series of the Fourth Doctor Adventures.  Scripted by Nicholas Briggs and starring  Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor, Mary Tamm as Romana I, John Leeson as K9, and the legendary David Warner.

Sadly, this would be Mary Tamm’s final audio story, before her death.

So, what’s it all about?  Well, The Doctor and Romana have been separated. The Doctor is assisting the Proximan fight-back. Romana and K9 are being held captive by the Daleks. As the countdown to the opening of the Quantum Gateway begins, the Daleks reveal their real, deadly plans.

All in all typical BF Doctor Who fare.

What’s Good?  Tom Baker and Mary Taam, for a start.  Both deliver performances that are not only equal to what they delivered on the show but in some cases, the audio format allows them more pause, more opportunity for variety.  Baker in particular goes from clowning around to a snarling beast, a benefit of the more subtle nature that BF affords. 

David Warner, what more can be said, than utterly brilliant, as he has been all his career.  Its standard Warner fare – you know what you are getting, but by god, when it’s this good, how can I whinge.  The Man is Ras Al Guhl,  Eboneezer Scrooge and even Jor-El.  A real, utterly classy, legend.

As usual, BF’s attention to detail in presenting immersive SFX should not come as a surprise.  Indeed, the Nick Biggs voiced Daleks are at their most ranty and menacing.  The effects for the Dalek ships are suitable 60’s Who, and the general atmosphere created will throw you straight into the TV series.  Indeed, there is a lot to enjoy – particularly when material this well-produced is coming through a good quality sound system. So, what didn’t I like? Well to be fair, the subtleties and increases of the plot went over me a bit, but that’s entirely my own fault as I listened out of order, however, I can say that I followed what was going on and was thoroughly entertained in the process.  To be blunt, chunks of this ade far more sense than the current TV series!
Warner’s Cuthbert, is another in a long line of fools who take the Daleks at their word.  WOuld it not be good to get someone who knew what they were about from the off, who isn’t the Doctor?
Some of the scenes are repetitive, but this is a recreation of classic Who – let’s be honest, they specialised in repetition and filler.  To complain too harshly would be like moaning about carrier bags and sticky tape being used as SFX. 

Finally, would I recommend it?  100% I am going to go back and fill in the blanks and listen to the stories in the correct order, but moreover, if you want to hear top-class Who alumni doing their thing and taking the youngsters to school – this is for you.  If you just want to enjoy Mary Taam’s final performance as Romana 1, or if you want to hear Tom, well, being Tom, or even if you are an old school science fiction aficionado who wants to roll back the years with a classic slice of the 4th Doctor.

3/5

polly’s story – free this week

Big Finish are making one of the Companion Chronicles free this week and it’s well worth grabbing.

The Three Companions

The tale by Marc Platt features both Anneke Wills and Nicholas Courtney along with John Pickard and Russell Floyd.

The Three Companions – Polly’s Story by Marc Platt
Polly Wright has tracked down an old friend of the Doctor’s… Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart, former Brigadier at UNIT. As they trade stories of their time travelling in the TARDIS, it soon becomes clear that their pasts are intertwined, and linked to a current crisis on the planet Earth. And there’s a third companion, watching them from a distance. A certain Thomas Brewster…

All i want for xmas is who….

CAPTAIN JACK IS BACK

One of the most iconic characters in the Whoniverse is returning for the upcoming Festive Special of Doctor Who as John Barrowman MBE puts on his famous coat once more and reprises his role as Captain Jack Harkness.

The cheeky Captain left viewers reeling in the series 12 episode, ‘Fugitive of the Judoon’, when he made a brief surprise appearance with a stark warning for Yaz, Ryan and Graham to pass on to the Doctor before disappearing.

Jack's Back!
Programme Name: Doctor Who Special 2020 – Revolution Of The Daleks – TX: n/a – Episode: Doctor Who Special 2020 – Revolution Of The Daleks – Teaser (No. n/a) – Picture Shows: Captain Jack Harkness (JOHN BARROWMAN) – (C) BBC Studios – Photographer: James Pardon

In the upcoming special titled, ‘Revolution of the Daleks’, Captain Jack will be on hand to help ‘the fam’ as they discover a disturbing plan forming involving one of the Doctor’s most feared and dangerous enemies, the Daleks. With the Thirteenth Doctor locked away in a space prison, will Captain Jack be able to help save planet Earth?

On returning for the Festive Special, John Barrowman MBE revealed: “Putting on Jack’s coat and setting foot back on the set of Doctor Who was just like going back home.  It’s always thrilling  to play Captain Jack. He’s a character very close to my heart who changed my life, and to know the fans love him as much as I do makes his return even sweeter. I hope everyone enjoys Jack’s Heroic adventure with Thirteen.”

Picture Shows: The Doctor (JODIE WHITTAKER), Captain Jack Harkness (JOHN BARROWMAN), Graham O’Brien (BRADLEY WALSH), Yasmin Khan (MANDIP GILL), Ryan Sinclair (TOSIN COLE), Daleks.

Chris Chibnall, Executive Producer, said: “A Doctor Who Festive Special means treats galore, and there’s no bigger treat than the return of John Barrowman to Doctor Who, for an epic and emotional feature-length episode. If anyone can blast away the sheer rubbishness of 2020, it’s Captain Jack. Daleks beware!”

Matt Strevens, Executive Producer BBC Studios, added: “After a tantalisingly brief appearance in Fugitive of the Judoon it’s a total joy and thrill to welcome back John as Captain Jack. One of the most iconic characters in Doctor Who lore, his presence ignites this Festive Special from the start.”

‘Revolution of the Daleks’ will air over the festive period on BBC One with more details to be revealed soon. Doctor Who is a BBC Studios Production.

Autumn doctor who toy sets

Following on from the summer’s B&M release, Character Options is delighted to announce a brand new wave of Doctor Who action figure sets for autumn 2020. The new collection will be available in the UK on shelf in B&M stores from early October. Sales in the US will begin mid-October via The Official North America Doctor Who Store, and Amazon.

This exciting launch will introduce six brand new Action Figure Sets – an all new look for the Friends of the Thirteenth Doctor set, a new Companions of the Third and Fourth Doctors set, a very special U.N.I.T set, plus a Fifth Doctor & TARDIS set. Rounding up the release will be two more History of the Daleks Sets which chart their chronological TV appearances. Each and every set of this detailed series will include highly detailed 5.5 inch scale figures featuring multiple points of articulation and come presented in the now well established ‘classic’ Doctor Who packaging.

The Companions of the Third & Fourth Doctor set features new figures of Sarah and Romana 1 and 2 and spans the dates April 1974 to December 1979. This set includes Sarah Jane Smith in her outfit from 1974’s ‘Monster of Peladon’ story, Romana 1 in her outfit from December 1978’s ‘The Power of Kroll’ story and Romana 2 in her red outfit from the story ‘The Horns of Nimon’.

For many collectors, the arrival of the 1971 U.N.I.T Claws of Axos Set can’t be bettered but with the addition of the 1975 U.N.I.T Terror of the Zygons Set, Character Options has added what is possibly the most anticipated and eagerly awaited variant of the Fourth Doctor to the mix; decked out in his fetching tartan scarf and Tam ‘O’ Shanter hat. The set is completed by the addition of Sergeant John Benton, this time in camouflage fatigues and an additional U.N.I.T trooper, both with Sterling SMG machine guns as seen in the timeless 1975 story battling the shape shifting Zygons.

There is also an updated release of the Fifth Doctor TARDIS set featuring a ‘Visitation’ 5th Doctor variant.

The new series is also well represented with the first full set of The Fam!

After queries from fans on twitter we can also confirm the Ryan toy is made of plastic not wood.

Sophie okonedo to join britannia

Sky has announced that BAFTA and Academy Award® nominated actress Sophie Okonedo (Ratched, Death on the Nile) will join the all-star cast in the third series of critically acclaimed, Sky original drama Britannia.

Britannia

The series, which is currently filming in the UK, is an epic genre-bending tale of clashing civilisations and religions set in a wold of mythic Celtic tribes, psychedelic druids and terrifying Romans, as a young girl tries to build a rebel alliance with a group of misfits.

Callan volume two

Callan Volume Two

David Callan works for The Section, a top-secret counter-espionage organisation. He’s a killer, a trained assassin, and the best at what he does.

But that doesn’t mean he has to like it.

With the aid of the burglar Lonely; fellow operative Meres; and Section secretary Liz, Callan fulfils the orders of departmental head Hunter and finds himself in very murky waters.  Murder, betrayal and model soldiers. It’s all in a day’s work for Callan.

Big Finish presents four more full-cast Callan adventures, adapted from series creator James Mitchell’s Sunday Express Short Stories by his son Peter Mitchell.

Welcome to Outpost Skaro, we are mid regeneration and were not quite baked yet.