Synopsis: Having reunited his companions, the Doctor decides to lift their spirits by treating each of them to a trip to their homeworld.
Review: Big Finish has both Halloween and Christmas sorted out with this latest series of stories to feature Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor. In fact, the Christmas story, which is a two-parter is most likely going to be a new tradition for me because the narrative and character beats were so cool.
The set consists of four stories. Three of which see the Doctor taking his companions on a visit to their homeworld, which is not as relaxing as intended.
‘Escape from Kaldor’ by Matt Fritton sees Livchenka return home to find herself, the Doctor and Helen in the midst of a robot uprising. This story is beautifully written and sees a welcome return of the service robots, which we first Glimpsed in the Tom Baker Doctor Who Adventure ‘The Robots Of Death’. Mixed into this story are some interesting musings about class and the haves and have-nots. It also serves as somewhat of an examination of how employment might well work as a society becomes more and more automated.
As well as battling the robot uprising and putting things as right as they can be. Livchenka also has an uneasy reunion with her sister Tula who happens to work for the corporate system, which irresponsibly triggered the robot uprising by ignoring certain safety checks.
Better Watch Out by John Dorney is the beginning of a wonderful two-part story, which manages to outdo pretty much every single one of the Doctor Who Christmas episodes without even breaking a sweat.
This opening part sees the Doctor, Helen and Liv Chenka visiting the beautiful city of Salzburg to enjoy the festivities surrounding the city. But not everyone is celebrating. When the Doctor encounters the miserly old landlord who is threatening to evict a young family. He feels compelled to intervene. But things soon take on a horrifying turn when the Krampus makes an appearance in a mission to take the whole city to hell.
Fairytale of Salzburg by John Dorney completes the story started with ‘Better Watch Out’ and sees Helen and Liv Chenka taking centre stage as they attempt to rescue The Doctor and the people of Salzburg from the Krampus, but they’ll need help from a certain 4th Century Bishop in order to restore peace and love to the city.
This story is really, really clever in that it not only makes us care about the various characters, but it also uses time travel and the whimsy of Christmas in some really effective ways. We find out that wishing for something can often have unexpected consequences unless you are more specific.
Seizure by Guy Adams sees the Doctor and his friends on a rescue mission, but it’s a mission that has some very dire consequences for The Doctor as he tries to rescue The 11 from a dying TARDIS.
The set up of this story is wonderfully executed and Mark Bonnar is as versatile as ever as he voices the various personalities of The 11. The very notion of a monster that eats Timelords offers some truly mouth-watering possibilities.
This story ends on a wonderful cliffhanger that will have fans yelling for more.
The Voice Acting
As always the voice acting is superb throughout. I especially liked Mark Bonnar’s performance as The 11, but Hattie Morahan steals the show in this set as she has to voice an older and more weathered version of Helen who has spent 40 years trying to figure out the Tardis controls.
Music & Sound Effects
Once again the team at Big Finish do some great work with their various soundscapes and music. I loved the various pieces of music that were used for ‘You Better Watch Out’ and ‘Fairytale Of Salzburg’.
This set provides both a wonderful Halloween and Christmas present for fans of Doctor Who, with a wonderful mix of whimsy and horror.
- You can pick up your own copy of ‘Ravenous 2’ here at The Big Finish website.
- Voice Acting10
- Incidental Music10