NB: NO SPOILERS FOLLOW, BUT READER DISCRETION IS STILL ADVISED!
It’s safe to say that this saga of the Eighth Doctor has been a very interesting one. Following on from the epic that was Doom Coalition, Ravenous may have been slow to start, but like Doom Coalition before it, it quickly began to pick up steam. With tales featuring Winston Churchill, a demonic return for an underrated Seventh Doctor villain, escapades with Kaldor robots, the best and most Christmassy Christmas Special ever, a companion collective and a shocking twist cliffhanger, the Ravenous saga has been an intriguing listen, especially when the eponymous titular monsters finally appeared and a new nightmare entered the listener’s minds…
Now we reach the end of the journey and a climactic showdown is expected. Does it deliver? And who will see it through to the end?
Starting off the set, Matt Fitton embraces the full horror feel with an homage to A Quiet Place but with a unique Who twist. The Eleven is cured, and wishes to head off into the universe. The Doctor however, wants to make sure that his visitor won’t relapse. So a trip to the Still Foundation medical centre is required. However, things aren’t all that helpful when they arrive. Something is stalking the TARDIS crew, and the only way to escape is to whisper. But soon, discoveries are made, and a sound hunting creature will be the least of the Doctor, Liv and Helen’s worries…
Fitton’s starter is expertly done in the sense that it serves two functions. Firstly, giving us a reminder of where we left off, with all involved. Secondly, it delivers a truly creepy story that provides not only unsettling imagery, but also revelation upon revelation, setting up points for the next two tales.
What also helps the tale is the minimal cast. Save for the four regulars, Natalie Simpson and Clifford Samuel are the only other cast members and are brilliant, giving all they can and providing each reveal that bit more gravitas. Fitton’s focus is certainly on the conflict and interaction between the leads. This is definitely the last respite for our main cast, as from here, the proverbial you know what begins to hit the interstellar fan…
Fitton’s final tale for the saga arrives with the final set up and the return of an infamous foe; the first return of many! Despite all that has transpired, The Eleven’s trust has been granted, and as such, The Doctor has agreed to drop him off wherever he wishes. As such, he decides to drop himself off on the dust planet of Parrak, believed to have something that can help his schizophrenia issue. But as the rest of the team help him integrate, they are caught up in a conflict between the locals and their Great Provider. When the team discover that the Provider is someone the Doctor knows all too well, who is looking for the same item that The Eleven seeks, they will also discover the truth and the true meaning of fear…
Whist this instalment starts off as a more traditional fare of a Doctor Vs. Master story, Master abusing the local resources and hitting a lot of familiar beats, it’s done cleverly so that you are lured into a false sense of security. When the rug is pulled out, you will not be expecting it. It can safely be said that the last ten or so minutes are the most shocking of the set. So far anyway. The regulars are as always brilliant and the guest cast of Ony Uhiara, Chris Jarman and Eben Figueiredo help sell the importance of the prior plot before the bait and switch is revealed. But of course, special mention must be given to Geoffrey Beavers returning as the Decayed Master who sounds delightfully and politely evil as usual.
This is it. The end is here. And the moment cannot be prepared for. John Dorney pens this epic two part finale, but is it everything that it promised? The truth is out, betrayals have been made, and the Ravenous are released upon the universe with a plan so horrendous, it defies explanation. With the Doctor and his friends separated and the universe in terror, the only hope for the universe is… The Master… and The Master… and The Master… and Missy. But when the secret of the Ravenous are discovered, a plan is formed. But who will survive to see it to the end?
What can be said about this story that won’t spoil it? Very, very, VERY little. Dorney has expertly crafted a mammoth of a two-parter finale whereby every last moment and element is used so well that to say anything that happens will be a potential spoiler. All that can be said is that Dorney’s script will make you go through every last emotion under the spectrum. And THAT FLIPPING CLIFFHANGER!!!
The cast are brilliant. Mark Bonnar is a standout. It is a pure delight to hear Derek Jacobi, Eric Roberts and Michelle Gomez natter off each other. George Asprey and Susie Emmett are still bloody terrifying as the Ravenous. Robert Whitelock then rounds off the cast with a brilliant performance that helps cement a lot of elements in the story. To go any further would ruin what should be an experience you should enter completely blind. It truly deserves your full attention.
If there was one criticism, it is that the stakes, whilst being big, don’t seem as grand as the ones in the finale of Doom Coalition. But again, it has been said multiple times that it is incredibly difficult to follow and top Doom Coalition, so they haven’t tried to. Despite that, this set is still a fantastic conclusion to a grand saga.
From well-written scripts, to stellar casting, expert direction from Ken Bentley, a truly atmospheric score from Jamie Robertson, and the most haunting sound design from Benji Clifford (putting his skills learned in Survivors to good use here), this is a set that answers nearly every remaining question from the saga, and even the one before that, whilst leaving one or two points hanging to tease you about where the range might go in the future. The only question now is, how long until we are Stranded?
Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor Adventures: Ravenous – Volume 4 is available now on CD and to download from the Big Finish website. It will be available from other stockists later in the year.
The Ravenous are the most relentlessly voracious creatures ever to haunt a Time Lord, and they now have the Doctor’s scent. The only thing left to do is stand and fight. It will take a monster to defeat a monster. But what will be the cost?
The past, the present, and the future conspire against the Doctor as he fights to defeat the only creature ever to strike fear into the hearts of a Time Lord.
4.1 Whisper by Matt Fitton
Seeking respite after their battle with the Ravenous and hoping to find a quiet place where the Eleven can recuperate, the TARDIS crew visit the Still Foundation. But all they find is a small band of survivors under siege from a terrifying predator. A predator that hunts by sound.
4.2 Planet of Dust by Matt Fitton
On the parched world of Parrak, the Master holds sway. But he is exhausted and desperate, and his final hope for survival lies somewhere beneath the desert. When the TARDIS arrives, alliances will be made and trust will be broken – and feuding Time Lords will discover the Ravenous never, ever give up.
4.3 and 4.4 Day of the Master by John Dorney
The Doctor investigates a mystery in the vortex, Liv follows the trail of their enemy, and Helen searches for a god. Everywhere they go there is a Master or Mistress, but is the Doctor’s oldest enemy there to hinder them, or to help? With the TARDIS crew scattered and lost, only a miracle can save the universe. And for that to happen someone is going to have to die.
- Paul McGann (The Doctor)
- Nicola Walker (Liv Chenka)
- Hattie Morahan (Helen Sinclair)
- Geoffrey Beevers (The Master)
- Michelle Gomez (Missy)
- Derek Jacobi (The War Master)
- Eric Roberts (The Master)
- Mark Bonnar (The Eleven)
- George Asprey (Ravenous)
- Susie Emmett (Ravenous)
- Eben Figueiredo (Leet)
- Chris Jarman (Kyphus)
- Clifford Samuel (Kinner)
- Natalie Simpson (Vonn)
- Ony Uhiara (Ronica)
- Robert Whitelock (Artron / Cadrin)
- Cover Artist: Tom Webster
- Director: Ken Bentley
- Executive Producers: Jason Haigh-Ellery & Nicholas Briggs
- Music by Jamie Robertson
- Producer: David Richardson
- Script Editor: Ken Bentley
- Sound Design by Benji Clifford
- Written by Matt Fitton & John Dorney