The adventures of the Eighth Doctor, Liv Chenka and Helen Sinclair continue in the second part of Big Finish’s Ravenous saga. After defeating the combined forces of the Eleven and the Kandyman it’s time for the TARDIS team to take a break from danger for a little rest and relaxation. But of course, things never ever go that way for the Doctor and his companions…
Escape from Kaldor by Matt Fitton
Rather than diving straight into peril, Ravenous 2 builds upon something of a holiday for our TARDIS crew. The Doctor treats each of his companions to a trip home – starting with Liv’s home planet of Kaldor. This story provides a long-awaited piece of backstory on Liv’s home and family ties. It also sees a return of classic Doctor Who foe the Voc robots of The Robots of Death fame. In this adventure writer Matt Fitton takes the basic template of “robots running amok’ and spins it into a fast-paced story that relies on both high stakes and quality character drama. It is a particularly personal story for Liv with an unplanned reunion with her sister Tula.
As well as being a great opener to the set, the story is particularly noteworthy for the way it plays on the listeners’ expectations regarding the conclusion. Additionally, it also sets up an interesting period in the characters’ lives that will inevitably be explored at a later date.
Better Watch Out and Fairytale of Salzburg by John Dorney
Christmas specials may have become a staple of Doctor Who over the past decade or so, but on the Big Finish side of things it’s still something of a rarity. In that context this two-part festive tale is a special treat. Dorney draws on European traditions and classic Christmas staples for an adventure that thrives on mystery. Using multiple narrations and often non-lineal storytelling, the listener is kept guessing until the very end. Spread across two parts allows far more room for the story to breathe, thriving on the slow build up and general atmosphere as much as it does on the larger set pieces.
If Escape from Kaldor could be considered Liv’s story, then these can definitely be viewed as Helen’s. The Doctor takes something of a backseat as his companions drive the story forward. Helen in particular proves herself a true hero but also a cut above many of the Doctor’s other companions when it comes to her abilities. That isn’t to say the rest of the cast doesn’t shine though, with Paul McGann especially leaving his mark with both his fantastic narrating skills and exquisite comic timing. It’s a Christmas episode so it can’t all be doom and gloom, and despite covering the “dark side” of Christmas pretty succinctly there’s still more than enough space for some good old festive magic.
Seizure by Guy Adams
It isn’t until the final story that the set’s namesake finally makes their appearance. The Doctor, Liv and Helen cross paths with the Eleven once again aboard a dying TARDIS. However, if the Eleven needs the Doctor’s help, then you can be sure that there’s also something far worse lurking in the shadows. Adams does a brilliant job of selling the labyrinth-like qualities of a TARDIS interior, with an ever-growing sense of claustrophobia as the true threat begins to close in. It’s also a pleasure to hear Mark Bonnar back as the Eleven once again, with the character having more than earned his title of “main villain” across both Doom Coalition and Ravenous. Meanwhile the titular Ravenous are still shrouded in mystery, but already make a great addition to Time Lord mythology.
In good Doctor Who tradition the story ends on something on a cliffhanger, setting events up nicely for third volume due out in April next year. You’ll just have to listen to find out what, but it’s safe to say that Seizure is far from the last we’ve heard of the Eleven!
With the Eighth Doctor extremely light when it comes to televised adventures and the many novels starring him long out of print, fans look to these audios as a definitive piece in this incarnation’s timeline. Like Dark Eyes and Doom Coalition before it, Ravenous is setting itself up to be a rather magnificent trilogy. Ravenous 2 satisfies fans with references to both the new and old. It also delivers what is undoubtedly one of the finest Christmas adventures Doctor Who has ever produced. In some respects it might be something enjoyed even closer to the holiday season, but that’s still much too far away to wait.
If you’re feeling ravenous for a great set of adventures, then this will certainly sate your hunger!
Having reunited his companions, the Doctor decides to lift their spirits by treating each of them to a trip to their home world.
On Kaldor Liv is confronted by a face from her past, and on Earth Helen must summon all her skill and knowledge to help save her friends from eternal damnation.
But try as they might to stay out of danger, dark forces are emerging. Dark enough to strike fear into the hearts of a Time Lord.
2.1 Escape from Kaldor by Matt Fitton
Returning to a home world she’d rather forget, Liv reluctantly accompanies Helen to the grand opening of a luxury shopping mall. But when a glitch in the system sends the Robots of Death on a rampage, Liv’s past comes crashing down about her.
2.2 Better Watch Out by John Dorney
The Doctor hopes to take Liv’s mind off recent events by treating his companions to a traditional European Christmas. But not everybody is full of the spirit of Christmas when a wave of misery follows the Krampus as they run through the streets of Salzburg.
2.3 Fairytale of Salzburg by John Dorney
With the Doctor and most of the population condemned to hell, Liv and Helen race against time to discover the source of all this chaos, and to find the one man who can save the people of Salzburg from eternal damnation.
2.4 Seizure by Guy Adams
As if it wasn’t enough to be trapped in the labyrinth of a dying TARDIS and pursued by a ghost, the team find themselves face to face once more with the Eleven. But the Doctor has bigger things to worry about when he discovers they’re being hunted by the only creature to strike fear into the hearts of a Time Lord; The Ravenous.
Written by Matt Fitton, John Dorney and Guy Adams.
Directed by Ken Bentley.
Paul McGann (The Doctor), Nicola Walker (Liv Chenka), Hattie Morahan (Helen Sinclair), Mark Bonnar (The Eleven), Claire Rushbrook (Tula Chenka / SV111 / SV23), Richard Popple (Kit Laver), David Rintoul (Galla Posca), Tracy Wiles (Hadway / Salma / V75), John Dorney (Sol / Security Guard / Comtech / V21 / V616), Jamie Newall (Shafranek), Carla Mendonça (Waltraud Raither / Imp 1), Kate Rawson (Inge / Imp 2), Ewan Goddard (Christophe / Krampus Runner), Robert Whitelock (Bruno / Vagabond / Priest), Siân Phillips (Pilgrim), Raad Rawi (Bishop) Kate Duchêne (Antonia Werner), Susan Hingley (Maria Werner), Pippa Haywood (Jaxa), George Asprey (Ravenous). Other parts played by members of the cast.
Producer David Richardson.
Script Editor Ken Bentley.
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs.