Written by John Dorney, Phil Mulryne & Matt Fitton
Starring John Hurt
In a time of war, every means of victory must be explored. In the Time War, the unthinkable must be thought, and neither side can afford to be squeamish about their methods. When the destruction of an obscene weapon leads to the Time Lord once known as the Doctor uncovering a secret Gallifreyan initiative, he cannot believe what is being considered. Should victory be sought at any cost? Or are there worse possibilities than losing to the Daleks..?
Big Finish brings us three new battles for John Hurt’s “not the Doctor” Doctor that pit the Time Lord’s 9th regeneration against three obscene and unimaginable WMDs.
Where the first volume of The War Doctor was almost solely the brainchild of writer and director Nicholas Briggs, for the second part the veteran is reinforced by John Dorney, Phil Mulryne and Matt Fitton. Where the first volume feels more like the three acts of a film the second has three distinctively separate stories, more like a trilogy. The intention with this volume was to exhibit a contrast to the original; this is clearly achieved, but without loosing any of the epic magic of the first.
My biggest/only concern with the first volume is clearly addressed in this second: is this War Doctor, or artist formally known as Doctor, or whatever you want to not call him, truly morally different from his other incarnations? In Only The Monstrous he certainly walked the line, but in Infernal Devices, we see the more morally grey time lord’s machinations first hand. These three new stories act to further balance the character against his previous and future selves.
The Legion of The Lost gets things going excellently and introduces a new race of alien technomancers, who use a hybrid of technology and magic; with David Warner voicing their leader Shadovar, they are a fascinating and innovative new creation. Warner, now a veteran of Big Finish turns in a wonderfully theatrical performance, that reminds the listener of some of the actor’s more eccentric past roles. This is a fantastic series opener, written by the multi-talented John Dorney.
Phil Mulryne’s A Thing of Guile, is the second instalment where Dalek scientists are developing a new secret weapon to win the time-war. This outing is more of a slow boiler, but the climax of the tale is palpable and takes the Daleks to an entirely new place, which at this point in time is really quite impressive.
Finally, there is The Neverwhen by Matt Fitton. On an isolated world ravaged by battle, arms and technology are in a state of flux; changing from laser guns to bows and arrows and back again in an instant. As a stand alone piece this high-concept sci-fi yarn is brilliant, but as the third and final part, it rounds off the trilogy perfectly.
With high expectations after the incredible Only The Monstrous, the stimulating Infernal Devices doesn’t disappoint. For any nay-sayers (myself included) who thought it wasteful to cast John Hurt as the Doctor for a one-off 50th Anniversary special, these audios will cause you to swallow your words. Hurt brings his A-game once more and shares some further fiery affinity with Jacqueline Pearce as this story’s archetypal antagonist.
This second volume comes highly recommended. Check out The War Doctor series and follow as it continues to go from strength to strength. I can’t wait to see where, or should I say when it goes next?
BLOGTOR WHO RATING 9/10
John Hurt (The War Doctor), Jacqueline Pearce (Cardinal Ollistra), David Warner(Shadovar), Jamie Newall (Co-ordinator Jarad), Zoë Tapper (Collis), Robert Hands(Captain Solex), Oliver Dimsdale (Commander Trelon), Laura Harding (Navigator Valis), Barnaby Kay (Commander Thrakken), Jaye Griffiths (Daylin), Tim Bentinck(General Kallix), Tracy Wiles (Commander Barnac), and Nicholas Briggs as the Daleks. Other parts played by the cast.
Producer David Richardson
Script Editor Matt Fitton
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs