The Doctor has been disposed of, and the end of the universe is nigh. There will only be one winner, but how many will lose?
Two of Big Finish’s best writers, John Dorney and Matt Fitton come together to bring the Eighth Doctor’s Doom Coalition series to a smashing end.
4.1 Ship in a Bottle by John Dorney 10/10
The Doctor, Liv and Helen are hurtling into a future that has been utterly destroyed, trapped inside a shuttle with no possible means of escape. But with the lives of everyone in the universe in the balance, they’ve got to find one. And soon. When the stakes are this high, you can’t just give up. Or can you?
A tangential self-contained episode all focused on un-doing the cliffhanger from Doom Coalition 3 could easily have felt like an unwelcome divergence from the main story. However, the writing and performances present are fantastic and take the Doctor and his two companions on a real journey through dealing with a difficult apparently impossible situation.
4.2 Songs of Love by Matt Fitton 9/10
Left to fend for herself against a bunch of power-hungry plotters hell-bent on destroying the universe, what choice does a girl have but to throw in her lot with the winning side? Using her past to her advantage, River Song returns to the ancestral seat of the Time Lords to make her last stand.
Here we get the welcome return of Alex Kingston as River Song, and she’s making her first ever visit to Gallifrey. Kingston turns in a fantastic performance where she plays the double agent game with élan. It’s situations like this that we as fans have to thank Big Finish for creating.
4.3 The Side of the Angels by Matt Fitton 9/10
Cardinal Ollistra has plans for New York, plans which involve the Deputy Mayor and her sponsor, one ‘Reverend Mortimer’ – better known to the Doctor as the Meddling Monk. The Eleven arrives to stamp out the resistance, but that isn’t the only danger the Doctor finds lurking in the shadows – for New York is a city of Weeping Angels.
Matt Fitton cleverly ties the televised Doctor Who series episode, The Angels Take Manhattan into the Big Finish Doom Coalition narrative. We know from this episode that aired back in 2012 that for some reason there is an abnormally amount of time distortion in New York. Perhaps The Side of the Angels provides a possible explanation.
The Weeping Angels make their second appearance in Big Finish. A hugely iconic, yet tricky monster to realise on audio. Big Finish has learned from its first outing with these terrifying stone horrors, using creeping tense music clashes to actualise them very well. We also see a return from Rufus Hound, back for the third time playing the Meddling Monk. Also an appearance of an earlier regeneration of Cardinal Ollistra, prior to Jacqueline Pearce’s tenure as the fiery time lady, in the form of Carolyn Pickles (whom fans may recognise from Chris Chibnall’s Broadchurch)
4.4 Stop the Clock by John Dorney 9/10
The time has arrived. Events are in motion. The end of the universe is at hand and the Doctor and his friends have one hour to save eternity. Starting now.
The Doom Coalition narrative is tied up satisfactorily and takes the Eighth Doctor’s narrative a step closer to the Time War. Padrac and the Sonomancer’s ongoing “relationship” comes to an appropriately apt end.
Doom Coalition 4 is consistently excellent and does a fantastic job of tying together the many plot strands from parts 1-3 without needing to rehash the prior events. It brings this wonderful narrative to a climactic and fitting end and boasts so many excellent performances and characters including, in this reviewer’s opinion, the best original character Big Finish has created in the form of split-personality Time Lord, The Eleven. Mark Bonnar steals the show as Doom Coalition’s central villain and you’ll be thrilled to know that Big Finish has “major plans for bringing him back.”
The Doom Coalition series comes highly recommended and the fourth and final part doesn’t disappoint.
BLOGTOR RATING 9/10
Producer David Richardson
Script Editor Ken Bentley
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs
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), Mark Bonnar (The Eleven), Robert Bathurst (Padrac), Emma Cunniffe (The Sonomancer), Rufus Hound (The Meddling Monk), Beth Chalmers (Veklin), Carolyn Pickles (Cardinal Ollistra), Jacqueline Pearce (Ollistra), Olivia Poulet (Jerasta), Vince Leigh (Volstrom/ Matrix Keeper/ Computer), Sasha Behar (Presidential Aide/ Tessno/ Ladonne), Ronnie Ancona (Joanie Carrington), Alex Beckett (Alekall). Other parts played by members of the cast.