We are now on the third Doom Coalition series, and the stakes are even higher as the Eighth Doctor, Liv Chenka and Helen Sinclair continue to hunt the Eleven and the growing Doom Coalition.

Showing how high the stakes have grown, Matt Fitton and John Dorney are the sole writers on this disc. As they’ve penned my favourite stories so far in this series, I was eager to see how the story arc progresses under their guidance and was not disappointed one bit.

3.1 Absent Friends by John Dorney

This is the only real standalone story on the disc. The TARDIS crew wind up back in England in August 1998, where the residents of a small village are receiving phone calls from the dead. In a not-so coincidence, everyone has received new mobile phones in a so-called good will gesture from an emerging telecom company.

The underlying mystery in this story serves as a backdrop for individual heartbreaking storylines surrounding Helen (Hattie Morahan) and Liv (Nicola Walker). You’ll shake your head in a bit of frustration, as it feels like at one point that Helen learned absolutely nothing from “Beachhead” in Doom Coalition 2. But it’s something the plot acknowledges as well. Dorney does a master sleight of hand, so convincing  at one point, he managed to slyly insert a certain New Who monster into the story. But be sure to have tissues on hand, because you’re going to need them. This is the most emotional story of this particular series.

3.2 The Eighth Piece by Matt Fitton

The Doctor (Paul McGann), Liv, and Helen separate to find other pieces of a mysterious device that was found in the first episode and puzzle out why it was built in the first place. The Doctor winds up in Cromwell-era England, Liv is left in Prague in the 1400s, while Helen leaps forward to 2016 to put her scholar credentials to good use.

From here on in, the stories on this disc are tightly interwoven. The Doctor sends his companions completely off on their own in other centuries to do their own investigations. It brings back memories of the first part of “Day of the Moon,” when the Eleventh Doctor sent Amy, Rory, and River Song around the US to investigate the Silence.. It’s an apt comparison, as guess who comes riding to the rescue? Everyone’s favourite nun with a gun!

My one complaint about Doom Coalition 2 was that I felt the series underutilised River (Alex Kingston) in the last episode. It was a shame that she seemed to be a one-off cameo. Clearly, that wasn’t the case. “The Sonomancer” was merely setting her up for the much larger role she plays in this segment of the series, and it’s amusing to see her literally pass by the Doctor and he (naturally) does not have a clue as to who she is, even in the vaguest sense.

The key takeaway is to start paying close attention to what’s going on because you will really be lost in the next episode without it.

3.3 The Doomsday Chronometer by Matt Fitton

Still separated, Liv tries to escape death in Prague while the Doctor works to extract himself from Cromwell’s clutches in the 1500s. But the heart of this story comes from the madcap historical road trip with River Song and Helen Sinclair.

While “Absent Friends” excelled for its emotion, this one stood out for the amount of action and a good bit of comedy. Helen finds herself literally plucked out of her own timeline and ping-ponged through a 600-year period as River goes on to prove that she’s probably madder than the Doctor. From literally tearing into Da Vinci paintings to doing the Germans’ work for them during the Blitz, River and Helen do the most in figuring out the mysterious Doomsday Chronometer. They make an outstanding team.

This episode is extremely dense, and at one point, I thought I had crossed into the final episode. But it strikes just the right pace regardless and feels much longer than it is. That, in this case, is a very good thing.

3.4 The Crucible of Souls by John Dorney

I understand why Big Finish’s own description of this episode is so vague. The end of “The Doomsday Chronometer” goes directly into this episode, and for those who are checking out the review before listening, there will be no spoilers here.

But rest assured of these things: you finally get the Doctor and River working together as a team and Liv and Helen get involved in a hilarious case of mistaken identity. Paul McGann as always is outstanding as the Doctor. But this story leaves you with a nasty cliffhanger that makes you look at the calendar and go, “Why isn’t it 2017 yet?”

In Conclusion

Doom Coalition has become a favourite Big Finish series, and this third instalment takes the pace set in the first two box sets, then ratchets it up several notches. It’s an extremely dense set, with a lot of information. Hattie Morahan and Nicola Walker, as Liv and Helen get plenty of screen time and chances to shine. They are intelligence, resourceful women who think on their feet and don’t easily fall apart. These stories do a lot to show Liv’s vulnerability and Helen especially gets a huge maturity boost.

As mentioned earlier, River Song has a much, much larger role and is arguably the glue pulling everyone together. At one point she saves the Doctor, Liv, and Helen multiple times thanks to the handy dandy vortex manipulator and psychic wimple. John Dorney and Matt Fitton aren’t afraid to explore River’s Time Lord nature at all.

So. Is it 2017 yet?


Doom Coalition 3 is available to buy now direct from Big Finish

3.1 Absent Friends by John Dorney

Earth. The late 20th century. Across the world, the mobile phone is gaining popularity as more and more people decide to join the digital age. But for the residents of a sleepy English town sitting in the shade of a new transmission mast, that ubiquity has a troubling cost.

When the TARDIS veers off-course, the Doctor and his companions find themselves in the middle of a mystery. Sometimes the past comes back to haunt you. And sometimes the future does as well.

3.2 The Eighth Piece by Matt Fitton

15th Century Prague: in the castle dungeons, a prisoner raves about the end of the world. Outside, Liv Chenka seeks out the workshop of a strange Clockmaker to see what he is creating.

England, 1538: Lord Thomas Cromwell finds his duties interrupted by otherworldly forces – clockwork soldiers, an unusual nun, and a mysterious scholar calling himself ‘the Doctor’. Perhaps the truth can be extracted in the torture chamber of London’s Bloody Tower?

Rome, 2016: Helen Sinclair has an appointment with an enigmatic Professor, whose greatest work is almost complete. Only the Eighth Piece is missing…

3.3 The Doomsday Chronometer by Matt Fitton

While River Song takes Helen on an archaeological expedition like no other, the Doctor finds himself enlisted by an alien Queen to save her people.

Trapped and alone, Liv stares death in the face as she meets the enemy who’s been dogging the TARDIS travellers’ footsteps throughout Earth’s history.

The Doomsday Chronometer has been protected for five centuries: secret cults and societies jealously guarding its mystery. But what is their real purpose? The Doctor is about to discover the truth…

3.4. The Crucible of Souls by John Dorney

The date has been set.

The trap has been sprung.

A life has been taken and a maniac is on the loose.

With the TARDIS crew separated and in terrible trouble, will today be the day the bad guys win?


Written By: John Dorney, Matt Fitton
Directed By: Ken Bentley


Paul McGann (The Doctor), Nicola Walker (Liv Chenka), Hattie Morahan (Helen Sinclair), Alex Kingston (River Song), Jeremy Clyde (George), Ian Puleston-Davies(Angus Selwyn), Richard Hope (Phillip Cook/Kal), Anna Acton (Kate Drury), John Shrapnel (Thomas Cromwell), Kasia Koleczek (Apolena), Glen McCready(Solvers/Abbot), Emma D’Inverno (Rosalia), Tim McMullan (Octavian), Janie Dee(Risolva), Robert Bathurst (Padrac), John Heffernan (The Imposter) and Nicholas Woodeson (The Clocksmith). Other parts portrayed by the cast.



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