The Doctor and co are Stranded on Earth, again. But as worlds collide in more ways than one, will they survive against their new foe of urban life?
Since the beginning of the millennium, the Eighth Doctor has been given a chance to be fully fleshed out. Big Finish have provided some incredible stories that have carried the story forward from the TV Movie. But as the years pass, every now and again, the Eighth Doctor’s era undergoes its own form of regeneration, with new companions and story arcs. From the likes of the Divergent Universe, to the New Adventures, to the boxset eras. Stranded launches the newest era for the Eighth Doctor. One that borrows from the past but is different to anything seen before…
Lost Property by Matt Fitton
The TARDIS crew are stranded. After escaping the horrors of The Eleven and the Master Menagerie, they land in London 2020, back at Baker Street. But the TARDIS has given up the ghost and The Doctor, Liv and Helen are trapped. As the trio attempt to acclimatise, they run into an eccentric Curator with a warning, a mystery across the city, and a new horror for the Doctor to face; leasing tenants…
The king of the boxset arcs Matt Fitton returns to pen the inaugural tale in the set and it has a simple but engaging premise; introducing this new but familiar world to the listener. Fitton captures every aspect of this world perfectly. Whilst there is a mystery for the Doctor to solve, it is sometimes given the back seat to allow the wider world to develop. A perfect balance of both makes for an engaging beginning to this new set. Compared to the others, it might be the weakest of the set, but if this is how it starts off, just imagine how good the rest is!
The quality is of course helped by the cast. Alongside the returning perfectionist regulars of McGann, Walker and Morahan, we have the new regulars of the Baker Street tenants; Rebecca Root as new companion Tania Bell, Amina Zia and Avita Jay as sisters Aisha and Zakia Akhtar, Jeremy Clyde and David Shaw Parker as elderly couple Ron Winters and Tony Clare, and newly renting father and son Alan Cox and Joel James Davison (son of the famous Peter) as Ken and Robin Bright-Thompson. Every one of these characters are a joy to listen to and feel extremely real. They all have their own personalities, quirks and drivers that make them individual and engaging. All of them get a chance to shine later in the set.
Alongside, there’s Robert Portal as alien tech dealing partners/twins (could never figure out which) Jim and Midge, and the wondrous Tom Baker himself returns as The Curator for the first time in seven years. Despite being the same character in all but name, he still has that twinge of vague clairvoyance that makes it unique from the Fourth Doctor and it is wonderful to hear him as the joy-filled purveyor of art once again.
Wild Animals by John Dorney
After residing in London for the last few weeks, the TARDIS crew are adjusting to their new life. Well, most of them. Liv and Helen have jobs and the Doctor is taking his new role as a landlord seriously. Or at least he tries to. But when a terrible deed is committed, the team remembers that their old life is not the only dangerous one, and that the worst thing is often not what happens but what happens after…
Fitton’s partner in crime, John Dorney, returns and puts the TARDIS crew through another very human ordeal. But it is a fresh take on his previous formula that is perhaps more effective given the realistic setting. Dorney has proven time and time again how well he can write characters in these situations, and this is no exception. And that ending… it is just beautiful….
The three major regulars all get their chance in the limelight, alongside the new secondaries, most notably Rebecca Root, Avita Jay and Amina Zia. Robert Portal also returns, this time as DI Treadwell, who is enjoying every second of his “no craps to give” performance, and Raj Ghatak joins as Sanjit, the owner of the shop Liv works at who gets caught up in the story.
Must See TV by Lisa McMullin
A new tenant has made their way to Baker Street. The enigmatic but helpful Mr Bird. In fact, very very helpful. So helpful, that the Doctor is developing a slight bit of jealousy. But then, strange events begin to occur and the residents discover they are part of their own kind of reality TV. And that’s not even the oddest thing, as a friend of Tania’s has arrived all the way from Cardiff, Sergeant Andy Davidson. THE Sergeant Andy Davidson…
Having penned an episode from the recent Time War set, Lisa McMullin returns to pen what can be seen as the bottle episode for the series. Restricted locations. Only main cast, with an exception or two. A small but intriguing mystery. McMullin manages to take some characteristics of Base-Under-Siege and merge them beautifully with the style of locked room mystery, as the characters attempt to get to the truth of the matter. Also helping is the further fleshing out of all the main players and introducing a new player into the mix…
Fleshing out those characters, with the cast give their strongest performances yet, and uncovering more character details makes for a compelling listen. Added to the mix is The Human Frontier’s Clive Wood as the enigmatic Mr Bird and Tom Price arriving into Doctor Who proper as Sergeant Andy Davison. One step closer to that Who/UNIT/Torchwood crossover…
Divine Intervention by David K Barnes
After winning big on a TV Game Show, the Doctor thinks he has the solution to the team’s financial troubles. However, realising that he still has much to learn about, Helen organises an intervention with the Doctor and his tenants. There’s just a couple of things. The intervention is crashing Liv’s date, and Sergeant Davidson is having an intervention of his own with Liv’s date. Oh, and there’s also a potential invasion from the future…
From the mind behind the fantastic Early Adventure Daughter Of The Gods, David K Barnes takes the helm for the finale and pulls out all the stops. After the previous stories dealing with smaller threats and homebound stories, this finale adds in a sprinkle of the original invading alien menace the show is known for, whilst managing to still keep it in the overall style of the boxset…
The regulars build up their repertoire yet again, going all out for the finale, with the secondary characters now given a chance to be involved in a more traditional Doctor Who-esque plot. From the event TV gathering at the beginning, to the defending the universe ending, the cast give everything they can, making for an utter joy to listen to. Clyde and Cox also take on other roles and are joined by Aurora Burghart as the invading antagonists, fully rounding off a phenomenal cast.
The Sounds of London
On top of the fantastic writing, amazing acting, and superlative direction from regular Eighth Doctor overseer Ken Bentley, the music and sound design are impeccable. Podcast co-host Benji Clifford sits in the foley chair for this set and succeeds in bringing the city of London to our ears, as well as anything else required. Jamie Robertson returns as composer and manages to still keep the feeling of the Eighth Doctor era, whilst reinventing his score for this new style of stories. Both complement the boxset perfectly and we can only hope they continue their work for the next three sets…
On paper, it seems like this would have been the hardest series to get right, especially with it following on from the gigantic finale that was Ravenous 4. But, with the work of so many talented people behind it, from actors, to writers, and composers and sound designers, all involved have pulled out every last stop to make this the best it can be. It certainly shows. It will rightly be one of the most acclaimed sets for the Eighth Doctor in Big Finish’s history. It’s no surprise we are all waiting as patiently as possible for the next set to drop into our laps…
But before that, the Eighth Doctor has one last trip into the Time War… an incursion with the War Master… and then, a journey into a new kind of Time War altogether. One where being the Time Lord Victorious can be his greatest downfall…
Doctor Who: Stranded 1 is available to purchase on CD and Download now from the Big Finish website, and from other stockists later in the year.
The TARDIS is gone. Stranded in one time and place, the Doctor, Liv and Helen seek refuge in Baker Street. But the house has changed: they now have neighbours – not all of them welcoming. And someone has a dire warning for the future.
The Doctor and friends face their greatest challenge yet: living one day after another, in 2020 London.
1.1 Lost Property by Matt Fitton
Trying to find a way to resume his travels, the Doctor calls in some old favours.
As the residents get to know the new arrivals, something else finds its way into Baker Street, seeding suspicion.
Helen meets a man with a very familiar face – and a terrible warning.
1.2 Wild Animals by John Dorney
After weeks of London living, some of the TARDIS crew are finding it easier to adjust than others.
Liv has found a new friend, but Helen is worried about the Doctor.
And when a tragic crime takes place, the Time Lord must learn the limits of his powers.
1.3 Must-See TV by Lisa McMullin
There are new arrivals in Baker Street: Sergeant Andy Davidson, and the helpful Mr Bird.
The Doctor isn’t happy that someone else in the house is more useful than him. When the residents’ TVs start to malfunction, he suspects foul play.
Someone is watching…
1.4 Divine Intervention by David K Barnes
As the Doctor becomes desperate, Helen and Liv advise him to accept their situation.
Liv makes a date – but gets more than she bargains for when the whole household comes along.
And when a threat from the future finally arrives, the Doctor is placed in real danger. It’s time for the truth to emerge…
- Paul McGann (The Doctor)
- Nicola Walker (Liv Chenka)
- Hattie Morahan (Helen Sinclair)
- Rebecca Root (Tania Bell)
- Tom Price (Sergeant Andy Davidson)
- Tom Baker (The Curator)
- Aurora Burghart (Rafaella Hicks / Teeja)
- Jeremy Clyde (Tony Clare / Jack Addison)
- Alan Cox (Ken Bright-Thompson)
- Joel James Davison (Robin Bright-Thompson)
- Raj Ghatak (Sanjit)
- Avita Jay (Zakia Akhtar)
- Robert Portal (Treadwell )
- David Shaw-Parker (Ron Winters)
- Clive Wood (Mr Bird)
- Amina Zia (Aisha Akhtar)
- Script Editors: John Dorney and Matt Fitton
- Written by Matt Fitton, David K Barnes, Lisa McMullin and John Dorney
- Cover Artist: Tom Webster
- Director: Ken Bentley
- Executive Producers: Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs
- Music: Jamie Robertson
- Producer: David Richardson
- Sound Design: Benji Clifford