Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor returns for a brand new saga: Ravenous.

Volume one sees the Doctor and Liv on the hunt for Helen after the events of Doom Coalition. With many obstacles ahead of them, will the Doctor and Liv be able to find Helen before it’s too late?

Their Finest Hour by John Dorney

Ravenous begins by throwing us right into the early days of World War Two and an exciting opening. We return to the familiar location of the TARDIS with the Doctor and Liv trying to track down Helen and the Eleven’s path. Ian McNiece makes a welcome return as Winston Churchill, slipping into a role that he plays brilliantly both on audio and television. Churchill calls upon the Doctor for help during the war as there are mysterious goings-on in the sky. Not even five minutes into the episode and Liv has already had some cracking one-liners which are really laugh-out-loud worthy. Hearing McGann’s Doctor conversing with Churchill is something I never expected to hear and it’s an absolute delight.

The Doctor and Liv take to the air with two polish pilots, Wilhelm and Jan, in an attempt to get to the bottom of things, which lead to some particularly notable comedic moments. The score, acting and sound effects throughout the scenes in the air are truly top notch. The main threat comes in the form of an invisible rectangular box in the sky, seemingly killing everyone it encounters. Dorney writes Liv Chenka brilliantly, giving her some of the heavier material in this story. Facing off against the villain of the story on her own in a completely Doctor-like manner is a joy to hear. Nicola Walker brings so much life to the role. With London at threat, it’s up to them to save the city from impending doom. Winston trying to persuade Liv to allow him into the TARDIS at one point is rather amusing, considering he is never allowed into the TARDIS. The story ends on a poignant and rather emotional scene where Liv reflects on a harsh truth. Overall, I found this story to be a really fun opening to Ravenous with a decent plot and great one liners. So far compared to Doom Coalition, the looser story arc seems evident early on.

How to Make a Killing in Time Travel by John Dorney

The second story opens with a rather intriguing opening with plenty of questions raised. We are introduced to Cornelius Morningstar and Stralla Cushing, the former funding the latter’s funding in her mission to invent time travel. Unfortunately, the Doctor and Liv are dragged away from their search for Helen by the blip it causes in the vortex. Or did it? It becomes clear that Morningstar’s got a very different agenda in mind…

Once again, Dorney writes some hilarious lines from both Liv, the Doctor and the rest of the cast. Jane Booker has a tricky job as Dron has a tricky job with her character’s Yoda-like way of speaking but the great delivery pulls off the comedy wonderfully. The Doctor is joined by Macy (Christopher Ryan), a character who I feel everybody knows in real life. Someone who says they cannot tell you something as it is top secret and then proceeds to tell you anyway. Despite her meekness, Cushing certainly appears to have ruthless streak as she does some unthinkable acts throughout. She’s given a rather tragic story and it’s clear why she developed the personality she did, portrayed effectively by Judith Roddy.

World of Damnation by Matt Fitton

‘World of Damnation’ is perhaps one of the most bizarre and creepy stories in the Eighth Doctor era. The Eleven is having a breakdown and Helen has become his saviour. We meet them in Rykerzon – a maximum-security planetoid for the galaxy’s most dangerous beings. The prison governor has some unusual ideas about rehabilitation with an old enemy poised to help out – the Kandyman can!

We learn what happened to Eleven and Helen after the stolen Battle TARDIS crash landed and it’s definitely not what you might expect. Kandyman is using his recipes to, apparently, reform the inmates. The Kandyman is written with an absolute savagery which feels like a very natural continuation of its solo TV appearance. Liv and some Ryzerkon inmates must save the Doctor from the web of a wonderfully-realised Thought Spider before the Doctor can go toe-to-toffee with the Kandyman once more. The story culminates in a shocking revelation that will give you a real sweet tooth for the final chapter of Ravenous 1.

Sweet Salvation by Matt Fitton

The Eleven’s improvised plan to team up with the Kandyman, under the guise of reducing crime has the entire TARDIS team on the ropes. The Kandyman’s ruthlessness throughout this two-part saga is an astonishingly performance by Nicholas Rowe. The lengths he goes to must be heard to be believed. He plays the part incredibly well throughout both stories and the imagery of the Kandyman from the artwork and descriptions really enhances the mood. It’s utterly terrifying! Hearing Liv being chased by the Kandyman is something I definitely did not expect to hear. It’s safe to say Live once again shows her dark side and the influence the Doctor has had on her. It’ll be interesting to see where this character arc goes in the next release. Ravenous concludes on a triumphant note but it wouldn’t be an Eight Doctor box-set without a big, dramatic ending! No spoilers here!

Overall

As the long-awaited sequel to Doom Coalition, Ravenous unequivocally lives up to a year’s worth of hype. Though not as arc-driven as Doom Coaliton was, the stories told are simply sublime. The return of the Kandyman came as a surprise when it was announced. The late era of the show didn’t exactly produce many memorable monsters. But the writing and acting pulls it off so well that we think Rowe’s Kandyman has a big future in Who audio. The ingredients of McGann, Walker, Hattie Morahan and Mark Bonnar is a recipe for something spectacular, all with their own energy and fantastic chemistry. Ravenous leaves us hungry for more!

‘Doctor Who – Ravenous 1’ is available to buy now from the Big Finish website.

Synopsis

This title was released in April 2018. It will be exclusively available to buy from the BF website until May 31st 2018, and on general sale after this date.

Having saved the universe and restored peace at home, the Doctor and Liv go in search of their friend, Helen. Following a trail of breadcrumbs through space and time they discover an unsavoury conspiracy, and an old enemy lurking in the shadows, waiting.

1.1 Their Finest Hour by John Dorney

In the early days of the Second World War a strange and elusive craft attacks British targets. Could it be a German superweapon? Churchill calls for the Doctor’s assistance and with the help of a squadron of Polish fighter pilots the TARDIS crew take to the skies to investigate.

1.2 How to Make a Killing in Time Travel by John Dorney

A disturbance in the vortex causes the TARDIS to land on the Scapegrace space station, where Cornelius Morningstar experiments in time-travel for nefarious purposes. But the Doctor’s plan to stop him winds dangerously out of control as the different agendas of criminals, murderers and alien dynasties conspire against him.

1.3 World of Damnation by Matt Fitton

Rykerzon is a maximum-security planetoid designed to hold the most dangerous criminals in the star system. The Governor plans to reform its inmates, with the help of the Kandyman. But two prisoners prove particularly troublesome: the alien fugitives known as the Eleven, and Miss Helen Sinclair.

The Doctor and Liv have finally tracked down their friend – but are they too late?

1.4 Sweet Salvation by Matt Fitton

The Eleven has the authorities in the palm of his hand and an entire world held to ransom when the Kandyman cooks up a deadly confection containing a secret ingredient. In a last-ditch attempt to prevent disaster Liv teams up with a desperate criminal, and the Doctor must decide whether Helen is still his friend.

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

Cast

Paul McGann (The Doctor), Nicola Walker (Liv Chenka), Hattie Morahan (Helen Sinclair), Mark Bonnar (The Eleven), Ian McNeice (Sir Winston Churchill), Laurence Dobiesz (Wilhelm Rozycki), Gyuri Sarossy (Jan Ostowicz), Tracy Wiles (Secretary / Ground Control), Beth Chalmers (The Heliyon), Roger May (Cornelius Morningstar / Verdarn), Judith Roddy (Stralla Cushing), Sarah Lambie (Gorl), Jane Booker (Dron / Yetana), Christopher Ryan (Macy), Nicholas Rowe (The Kandyman), Amerjit Deu (Governor), Charlie Condou (Crabhead / System / Jarl), Pippa Bennett-Warner (Ruzalla), Beth Goddard (Ludina Braskell).  Other parts played by members of the cast.

Producer David Richardson
Script Editor Ken Bentley
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

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