Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor adventures in the Time War continue in The Time War 2.

Big Finish’s second volume of this saga sees the return of the Eighth Doctor and his newfound companion Bliss. Still dodging the draft in the war across time, the Doctor gets drawn into danger by some new and old faces.

The Lords of Terror by Jonathan Morris

THE LORDS OF TERROR BY JONATHAN MORRIS
THE LORDS OF TERROR BY JONATHAN MORRIS

The Doctor takes Bliss to her home-world to reunite with her family, only to discover the Time War got there first. The world has been ravaged with only one domed-in city remaining. Separated, the pair discover that the history of this world is far from simple. The script is neatly split to give Bliss and the Doctor two very different adventure without ever favouring one character. The Doctor ends up in the midst of a philosophical debate, with callbacks to some of the Doctor’s more questionable actions. While Bliss gets the adventure side of the tale, learning more about the city and falling into the villain’s clutches. But it’s Bliss that gets the bulk of the character development, we really get to see a different side to her that perhaps hasn’t been highlighted in previous stories. The sound design throughout this story is truly top notch, with distinct mechanical

tones that emphasise the sudden militarisation of the colony.

Planet of the Ogrons by Guy Adams

PLANET OF THE OGRONS BY GUY ADAMS
PLANET OF THE OGRONS BY GUY ADAMS

Planet of the Ogrons begins with one of the most confusing yet hilarious openings to a Big Finish story yet. So naturally we won’t spoil a moment of it. Adams wastes no time in getting right to the heart of the story and introducing Julia McKenzie as The Twelve. Regenerated since meeting the Doctor in the ‘Doom Coalition’ arc, the former Eleven has a new lease on lives and a strange Ogron in tow. McKenzie is fabulous as The Twelve, playing the sweet little old lady with a carefully masked malevolence. If you’ve not heard ‘Doom Coalition’ or its sequel series ‘Ravenous’ then don’t fret. The Twelve’s whole deal is explained quite succinctly and Adams includes a way to keep a leash on the character so that she doesn’t distract from the main villain. Speaking of villains, this story brings us one of the most interesting Dalek variants in Doctor Who media – the Overseer. But to say any more would risk spoilers. Ditto the Ogron character, who’s a fun addition and a bizarre way to make fun of the title character.

In the Garden of Death by Guy Adams

IN THE GARDEN OF DEATH BY GUY ADAMS
IN THE GARDEN OF DEATH BY GUY ADAMS

The Doctor, Bliss and the Twelve are stuck in a prison camp. With no memories. So they don’t know who has them locked up and why, how they could escape or even if they deserve to be here. Especially when the Doctor seems to be getting special treatment in his captivity. Inevitably, this means that interactions between the main characters and some periphery players can get a little frustrating for the listener, knowing everything they don’t. However, it’s a nice way to play with the characters and see what they will do when given a fresh start. The plot perhaps drags a little but, when it gets going, it really gathers momentum into a spectacular ending.

Jonah by Timothy X Atack

JONAH BY TIMOTHY X ATACK
JONAH BY TIMOTHY X ATACK

The finale finds the Doctor commanding a submarine on an alien ocean world. The Daleks are drilling into the ocean floor, looking for something and nobody knows what. Well, almost nobody as the Twelve is still somewhere on board. The sound design really comes into its own for this final story with a very different setting from normal for Benji Clifford to sink his teeth into. Atack sets the rules for this new world in a way that demands unusual and imaginative ways for the Time Lords and Daleks to clash and the effect is gangbusters. The ultimate ending to the story invokes a Lovecraftian style horror with a really fascinating motive.

Overall

The second outing for the Eighth Doctor in the Time War does not mess around. The stakes ramp up with each story as the extremes people will go to for victory constantly tests the Doctor’s moral compass. Julia McKenzie steals the show as the Twelve, bringing a fresh yet familiar take on the character. The only real qualm is the under-use of Jacqueline Pearce’s Cardinal Ollistra, who could have had a fiery chemistry with McKenzie. Nevertheless, this is a fully-blooded, intelligent set of stories that more than justifies Big Finish getting into the Time War.

Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor – The Time War, Volume Two is available to buy now from the Big Finish website.

Synopsis

The Eighth Doctor battles for survival in the Time War.

2.1 The Lords of Terror by Jonathan Morris

When the Doctor takes Bliss to her home colony, they discover that the Time War has got there first. Bliss finds her world altered beyond recognition, and the population working to serve new masters.

No dissent is allowed. The Daleks are coming. The planet must be ready to fight them.

2.2 Planet of the Ogrons by Guy Adams

Avoiding the Time War, the Doctor and Bliss are found by an old acquaintance: the latest incarnation of a criminal mastermind the Doctor knows of old. But unlike her predecessors, the Twelve has a handle on her previous selves’ unruly minds.

There is a mystery to solve involving the Doctor’s TARDIS and its unusual occupant – and answers will be found on the Planet of the Ogrons.

2.3 In the Garden of Death by Guy Adams

In a prison camp like no other, the Most Dangerous Man in the Universe is held in isolation. The rest of the inmates have no memory of who they were or what they might have done.

No memory even of their captors. Until the interrogations begin.

2.4 Jonah by Timothy X Atack

In the depths of an ocean world ravaged by the Time War, the weary survivors are pressed into service by Cardinal Ollistra.

Something is hidden beneath the sea: the Twelve knows the truth, if only she could drag it from her jumbled mind. And when the Doctor becomes the captain of a submarine boat, all omens spell disaster…

A special run of prequels to Doctor Who: The War Doctor.

Written By: Jonathan Morris, Guy Adams, Timothy X Atack
Directed By: Ken Bentley

Cast

Paul McGann (The Doctor), Rakhee Thakrar (Bliss), Nicholas Briggs (The Daleks), Jacqueline Pearce (Cardinal Ollistra), Julia McKenzie (The Twelve), Nikki Amuka-Bird (Tamasan), Amanda Root (Lendek), Rakie Ayola (Pollia / Lambda Epsilon), Guy Adams (Rendo), Simon Slater (Carvil / Shaler), Jon Culshaw (Doctor Ogron), Victor McGuire (Borton), Anya Chalotra (Ensign Murti), Tania Rodrigues (Chief Panath), Surinder Duhra (Executive Officer Omor). Other parts played by members of the cast.

1 COMMENT

  1. I have to very much disagree about Julia McKenzie as the Twelve. I found her gratingly awful, and her ability to convincingly play multiple distinct personalities especially was practically non-existent, and just amounted to wildly inconsistent and largely indistinct silly voices. One of the rare misfires as far as casting goes from Big Finish, McKenzie just did not have the range required for the role. As such, personally I thought she really brought down this latest set a couple of notches, which was a shame as the stories themselves were great.

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