The Big Finish Monthly Range offering for August is ‘The Blood Furnace’, written by Eddie Robson and is a Seventh Doctor story with both Ace and Mel as companions.
This is one of those titles that just catches the imagination and has you curious to see what’s in store. Robson is a long time writer for Big Finish, having worked on a variety of stories for many of the Doctors and his offering this time around is a good indication of why he’s so frequently asked back.
Set in the early ’90’s ‘The Blood Furnace’ takes place on Earth. A slightly heightened but realistic setting that will, of course, take a twist and become a dark adventure. The atmosphere is fantastic and the twists of uncovering the plot and secrets is a handled very well, luring us in slowly but surely to a big exciting conclusion.
‘The Blood Furnace’ does a great job of building relationships between our regular and rotating cast. For example, Mel knowing one of the guest character’s helps us invest in the story and understand that there’s a chance that Mel may leave, again. Each of the leads is given time to shine with Ace having one of the funnest moments in a video game scene. Fans of this TARDIS team should not be disappointed.
The regular cast are at their best here. Each character is true to form and somehow Sophie Aldred remains capable of sounding as if she is still in her twenties. She’s also at peak Ace here, encompassing all of the elements we love of the character. Sylvester McCoy is in perfect form as the Seventh Doctor with his manipulative self in full swing! Mel, played by Bonnie Langford is so good that it’s a shame she doesn’t have more stories. She’s used exactly right here and the balance of the trio is phenomenal. Here’s hoping that one day there is a box set of Mel and Sabalom Glitz.
Martin Montague, the sound designer for this story does an absolute stellar job. It’s immersive, lush and jam-packed! Sounds come and go and they aren’t explained, it just sounds like you’re on a working ship. Not only are the sounds plentiful and excellently used but they are complimented so superbly by composer Andy Hardwick that re-listening to the music suite you can appreciate how much the music fits the story. At times it almost works as sound effects as it helps accentuate in an organic way, without over shadowing.
A well designed and interesting cover by the talented Anthony Lamb creates a visual for this audio that suits excellently. Director extraordinaire, Ken Bentley, has once again led his team to excellent result.
With a story that quickly picks up momentum as it goes we’re treated to a good story with interesting and exciting moments, full of great performances from all creative sides!
The TARDIS brings the Doctor, Ace and Mel to a recently reopened shipyard in Merseyside. It’s 1991, the hardest of times – but now they’re shipbuilding once again, thanks to the yard’s new owners, the Dark Alloy Corporation. A miracle of job creation – but is it too good to be true?
While the Doctor and Ace go in search of an alien assassin at loose in the yard, Stuart Dale, discoverer of the near-magical Dark Alloy material, has an extraordinary proposition to make to his old college friend, Mel.
But who is the Corporation’s mysterious client? Who does she really represent? And what’s the secret of the Blood Furnace? Seeking answers, the Doctor and friends are about to find themselves in very deep water…
Written By: Eddie Robson
Directed By: Ken Bentley
Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Bonnie Langford (Mel Bush), Julie Graham (Carolyn), Jade Anouka (Danuta), Todd Heppenstall (Stuart Dale), Clare Calbraith (Orla), Louis Tamone (Vinny), Ignatius Anthony (Lee).
Other parts played by members of the cast.
Producer David Richardson
Script Editor Alan Barnes
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs