Ian McNiece, in portraying Winston Churchill, has somehow managed the nigh-on impossible.

Hard to believe it’s been more than two years since we first reunited with Winston Churchill on audio. Or, at least, the Doctor Who version of him. So it’s with great excitement we’re reviewing the second volume. This time, young Winnie must face a beguiling Silurian detective, confront the Doctor during his darkest hour and pay tribute to the real-life men and women in the war.

Young Winston by Paul Morris

The set begins with a slow one, but Paul Morris’s skill with thought-provoking characters and motives gives the story an incredible pace. Morris also grasps the ancient youth of the Eleventh Doctor to superb effect and McNiece grasps that in his performance. Neve McIntosh is zesty as ever playing Madame Vastra and her encounter with young Churchill is gratifying one for fans.  Iain Batchelor must also be applauded for his superb turn as young Winston. But the scene stealer has to be Melody Grove, who is outstanding and totally believable as Carmen. An extremely enjoyable first story.

Human Conflict by Iain McLaughin

Iain McLaughin’s entry into the second series is poignant, gritty and moving all at the same time. The war-weary aspects of the Ninth Doctor is given a thorough shakedown that’s very much appreciated. The sound design in this release is faultless with an unmistakable old wartime feel. The characters are well-drawn and the pacing is superb. The denouement is extremely satisfying but leaves some food for thought.

I Was Churchill’s Double by Alan Barnes

With every Alan Barnes script you’re guaranteed rich characters and a good dose of humour. What we get is yet another very intricate story with the wonderful addition of McNiece’s Ninth Doctor. The delivery is evocative and the Doctor’s dialogue is true to the character. The result is a thoughtful and very amusing tale. The icing on the cake is to hear Roberta Taylor back on Big Finish after a ten year absence. She is brilliant as the devious Maid!

Churchill Victorious By Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky

What we’ve come to expect from Khan and Salinsky are stories that boast superb set pieces matched with characters one can empathise with. The dedication to making Churchill stories come over as not merely celebrating the man but also the people who fought in the war on all sides. The message that war isn’t over in a day, and for some is never really over, is a sobering one. The clear admiration for Churchill that Ian McNeice exhibits makes this story, and the whole set, one of unequivocal quality.

Overall

Historical characters deserve to be treated with the utmost respect. Director Ken Bentley has crafted a fitting tribute not only to Churchill but the indomitable spirit of the British people during the most dreadful of historical events.

Blogtor Rating: 10/10

‘The Churchill Years: Volume Two’ is now available to buy from the Big Finish website.

Synopsis

This title was released in February 2018. It will be exclusively available to buy from the BF website until April 30th 2018, and on general sale after this date.

Young Winston by Paul Morris

London, 1899. After spending time in warzones abroad, Winston Churchill considers a Parliamentary career. But a memento from his visit to Cuba, four years earlier, returns to haunt him. Across the city, the Great Detective has a mysterious caller, all the way from Havana. As ruthless mercenaries wield alien powers, young Winston and Madame Vastra learn they have a mutual friend – an eccentric young man, sporting a bowtie…

Human Conflict by Iain McLaughlin

1941. The Prime Minister has much on his mind as London reels from the Blitz. When a daring mission to discover Nazi secrets bears unexpected results, Churchill heads north to retrieve technology that could win the war. But an old ally is set against his intent. Weary from his own people’s conflict, the Doctor knows that some weapons should never enter the field of human conflict.

I Was Churchill’s Double by Alan Barnes

Alexandra Palace, 1942. Strange television signals show a paranoid Churchill urging on the resistance in German-occupied Britain. A man in a battered leather jacket makes a guest appearance. The broadcasts come from another world, one where the country is now part of the Kaiser’s Empire. Of course, the Doctor is involved, and while Churchill claims to understand the notion of ‘alternative histories’, he never expected to be part of one.

Churchill Victorious by Robert Khan & Tom Salinsky

VE Day, 1945. The war is over. The PM has seen the crowds and made his speech. Now he wishes to soak up the atmosphere, moving incognito among his fellow countrymen. But an alien interloper lurks in a backstreet tavern, and ‘William Churchyard’ must lead a few plucky Londoners into one more fight. The Doctor is in trouble, and at the time of his greatest victory, Churchill also faces his greatest danger…

Written By: Paul Morris, Iain McLaughlin, Alan Barnes, Robert Khan, Tom Salinsky
Directed By: Ken Bentley

Cast

Ian McNeice (Winston Churchill), Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra), Iain Batchelor(Young Winston), Melody Grove (Carmen / Housekeeper), Owen Aaronovitch (Luis Ortega), Leighton Pugh (Reggie / Jorge / Clerk), Gyuri Sarossy (Lt Fleming), Bethan Walker (Bragnar), James Joyce (Connolly), Ken Bradshaw (Colonel Fischer), Emily Woodward (Louisa), Hywel Morgan (Von Moltke), Roberta Taylor (Maid), Mark Elstob (John Logie Baird / Kaiser Wilhem III), Nicholas Asbury (Visguard / Captain Morgan / Special Branch Officer), Alisdair Simpson (Sidney Wheeler / Field Marshal Brooke), Susan Tracy (Diane Wheeler / Miss Cunningham), Simon Chandler (Corporal Arthur Dimes). Other parts played by members of the cast.

 

Producer David Richardson
Script Editor Matt Fitton
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

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