In Review: Big Finish: Doctor Who: The Time War 3

If Michael Jayston had had this material decades ago, The Trial of a Time Lord would be fondly remembered and the Valeyard would be a fan favorite character instead of problematic canon.

Synopsis: The Time War rages through space and time – two powerful enemies in a fight to the death. The Doctor keeps to the fringes of the conflict, helping where he can. He is not a warrior. Not yet. But this war takes no prisoners, and friends and enemies are drawing the Doctor ever closer to his destiny…

Review: Doctor Who: The Time War 3 is a marvelous continuation of this range. I won’t spend a great deal of time on the plots of the stories by John Dorney, Lisa McMullin, Roland Moore, and Matt Fitton for two reasons. First, the Time War tropes are firmly established. Second, the writers use those tropes to create room for wonderful character beats and performance flourishes that I don’t want to spoil.

“State of Bliss” by Matt Fitton is a great showcase for Rakhee Thakrar. The story establishes the themes that will carry throughout the whole box set. It also gives Thakrar and The Sarah Jane Adventures alumna Anjli Mohindra some really affecting scenes to perform.

“The Famished Lands” by Lisa McMullin is an apocalyptic Harryhausen homage that encapsulates everything that the Time War is and everything that The Doctor struggles to remain. Natalie Gumede is perfect as a leader struggling in the ultimate moral quagmire.

“Fugitive in Time” by Roland Moore brilliantly places Adèle Anderson front and center as the latest incarnation of Tamasan. Anderson’s brief is obviously to fill the void left by the late Jacqueline Pearce, which she does ably. Her performance has echoes of Ollistra’s dynamic with The Doctor without being a carbon copy. This obviously buys Big Finish Time to work out how to address Ollistra’s presence or absence down the road. The story also highlights the skills of Wendy Craig in a role viscerally embodying the pain of the Time War.

Finally, “The War Valeyard” by John Dorney made me cry. It totally justifies The Valeyard. If Michael Jayston had had this material decades ago, The Trial of a Time Lord would be fondly remembered and the Valeyard would be a fan favorite character instead of problematic canon. Jayston delivers a superb performance that perfectly meshes classic and modern Doctor Who. This storytelling is truly what Big Finish is for.

Cast

Paul McGann (The Doctor), Rakhee Thakrar (Bliss), Michael Jayston (The Valeyard)

Nicholas Briggs (The Daleks / Time Strategist), Adèle Anderson (Tamasan)

Wendy Craig (Shonnath), Andrew Fettes (Aid Worker / Shopkeeper)

Raj Ghatak (Zendo / Emory), Natalie Gumede (Aeronwen), Anjli Mohindra (Calla)

Jamie Newall (Vashko), Jude Owusu (Dransino), John Scougall (Ryall / Sythes)

Venice Van Someren (Nim), Nina Wadia (Deepa), Tracy Wiles (Digital Voice / Comms Message / Servant)

 Production Credits

Script Editor John Dorney, Matt Fitton

Written by John Dorney, Lisa McMullin, Roland Moore, Matt Fitton

Cover Artist Tom Webster

Director Ken Bentley

Executive Producers Nicholas Briggs, Jason Haigh-Ellery

Music Jamie Robertson

Producer David Richardson

Sound Design Benji Clifford

9.7
Big Finish: Doctor Who: The Time War 3
  • Story
    9.0
  • Performances
    10
  • Audio Production
    10

Raissa Devereux became a life-long genre fan at the age of four when she first saw The Wizard of Oz at a screening at Arizona State University. Years later, she graduated from A.S.U. as an English major, History minor, Whovian, and Trekkie. Now a Florida transplant, she loves the opportunity Sci-Fi Pulse has given her to further explore space travel, time travel, masked heroes, gothic castles, and good yarns.
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