Doctor Who: Shadow of the Sun, is a triumph over adversity. It is the first full-cast, full-length Doctor Who audio drama by Big Finish to have been recorded entirely during lockdown is out now. But can you even tell?

When the UK entered an enforced lockdown towards the end of March 2020, businesses everywhere were forced to rethink their methods. Big Finish Productions were no exception. Thanks to the beauty of the internet, Big Finish have managed to create a new Doctor Who adventure despite the lockdown. The best compliment I can pay is that Shadow of the Sun doesn’t feel or sound any different to their studio output.

Doctor Who: Shadow of the Sun – Big Finish remote recording (c) Big Finish

Shadow of the Sun by Robert Valentine

This really is a victory for the whole team involved. Director Nicholas Briggs and producer David Richardson, tasked with pulling everything together. The Sound Design by Toby Hrycek-Robinson is particularly impressive. Given the circumstances you wouldn’t necessarily worry about the sound effect of K9 moving about the ship, for example. And yet it is included, adding to the convincing realism of the situation. Add in accompanying music by Jamie Robertson and the final product sounds like Doctor Who on Big Finish. Just as it always has done.

The cast do an admirable job at convincing the listener that this is a genuine adventure. Two characters in conversation sounds like two characters having a conversation face to face. In reality the actors were sat in their own homes with headphones on but you wouldn’t know it. Tom Baker is wonderful as usual. Companions Louise Jameson and John Leeson are back as Leela and K9 respectively, sliding back into character effortlessly.

Doctor Who: Shadow of the Sun – Big Finish remote recording on April 6th 2020 (c) Big Finish

Barnaby Edwards is simplyy sublime as the Autopilot. His vocals elicit compassionate malevolence that you might come to expect from a futuristic computer system. Completing the cast are Paul Herzberg (Dr Suleiman Zorn), Glen McCready (Captain Brandis) and Fenella Woolgar (Lady Malina Rigel-Smythe). All do a sterling job in their respective roles despite the unorthodox recording methods.

Overall

Beyond the technical achievement of delivering this story during lockdown, Shadow of the Sun is a brilliant release. Robert Valentine has written a terrifically thought-provoking piece. What starts out as a simple rescue mission turns neatly, subverting expectations. How do you save a ship of people from destruction if they don’t want to be saved? All the while the listener is wondering what will happen in the end. I won’t spoil the conclusion here but it is pretty powerful stuff.

Congratulations to all involved at Big Finish with delivering Shadow of the Sun. It truly is a triumph in adversity and deserves your support.

Doctor Who: Shadow of the Sun is available now from the Big Finish website.

Doctor Who: Shadow of the Sun (c) Big Finish

Synopsis

After an accident, the TARDIS lands on a luxury star-liner. Leaving their ship to repair itself, the Doctor, Leela and K9 find themselves facing a great terror: mingling at a cocktail party.

Something seems awry behind the pleasantries however. Guests are going missing, and equipment is breaking down. When the Doctor investigates further he discovers that the star-liner is literally on course for disaster.

But no-one seems surprised by this information, still less troubled. What’s going on? And can the Doctor and his friends save everyone… when nobody wants to be saved?

Cast

  • Tom Baker (The Doctor)
  • Louise Jameson (Leela)
  • John Leeson (K9 / Professor Nicely)
  • Barnaby Edwards (First Officer Hix / Autopilot)
  • Paul Herzberg (Dr Suleiman Zorn)
  • Glen McCready (Captain Brandis)
  • Fenella Woolgar (Lady Malina Rigel-Smythe)

Credits

Doctor Who: Shadow of the Sun is available now from the Big Finish website. The title is priced at £8.99 to download and £10.99 on collector’s edition CD. The Big Finish App, available on Apple and Android devices, also makes listening even easier. It is a free app to download, just search in your app store.

Please note that Big Finish is currently operating a digital-first release schedule. The mailout of collector’s edition CDs will be delayed, but all purchases of this release unlock a digital copy that can be immediately downloaded or played on the Big Finish app from the release date.

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