In Review: Big Finish: Doctor Who -The War Doctor – CASUALTIES OF WAR

The War Doctor and Cardinal Ollistra are stranded far from their Time Lord forces, with Daleks closing in, destroying all that stands between them.

Synopsis: The War Doctor and Cardinal Ollistra are stranded far from their Time Lord forces, with Daleks closing in, destroying all that stands between them.

Review: This final set of War Doctor stories also acts as Sir John Hurt’s swan song from Big Finish and Doctor Who and it’s quite a song to go out on.

The three stories, that make up the whole see the War Doctor reconnecting with Leela, but its a very different and more vulnerable Leela than the one we all know and love.

‘Pretty Lies’ by Guy Adams sees the Doctor and Cardinal Ollistra trapped behind enemy lines and charts their struggle to get back to the front. The story also features a reporter named Scandal who may hold the key to their rescue.

This was a really solid story, which not only dealt with the Doctor’s personal demons, but also saw the Doctor having to deal with a case of hero worship from the very enthusiastic Scandal who provides the listeners with another way to access the Doctor and Ollistra.

As has been the case with all of these releases. John Hurt and Jacqueline Pearce have carried on with their verbal sparring and both put in awesome performances.

The idea of having an inexperienced journalist tag along with them was really cool and allowed us to view the characters and situations from a different perspective.

I also thought the artificial intelligence of the editor was a fun, but not overly camp addition to the story.

‘The Lady of Obsidian’ by Andrew Smith sees the Doctor seeking help from a shadowy guerrilla force.

This guerrilla force happens to be led by the mysterious Lady of Obsidian who happens to be Leela, but it is a Leela so ravaged and changed by the time war that she has lived so many different lives and has so many memories that she is not sure of her true identity.

This provides some awesome material for John Hurt and Louise Jameson to sing their chops into. I loved the fact that the Doctor was having to gently remind Leela of their past life together onboard the Tardis.

Also adding to the danger and fear fact of this story was the wonderful addition of an army of beings who never fully formed their potential personalities or places within the time stream. A sort of time zombie if you will but more dangerous.

This on top of the ever looming thread from the Daleks make this a great middle chapter in the overall story.

‘The Enigma Dimension’ by Nicholas Briggs is an incredible way to end the series and a wonderful farewell for John Hurt’s Doctor Who experience.

The story, which sees the Doctor, Leela and Ollistra facing their worst fears as Gallifrey looks to be in danger from two forces. On one side we have the Daleks and the other the mysterious Enigma Dimension, which seems to have chosen Leela as its avatar.

Louise Jameson puts in a brilliant performance as she pretty much plays two roles. One being Leela and the other being the Enigma Dimension. There is a fantastic subtle change in how Jameson pitches her voice for these two roles. More harsh and direct as the Warrior Leela, but softer when she is voicing the Enigma.

This story by Nicholas Briggs is superb fun in that it provides plenty of action, but also has time for some very thought provoking dialogue between Leela and The Doctor who pretty much dominate the story with their back and forth dialogue.

I also loved how Ollistra was mistrustful of Leela’s precognition and the confrontation that takes place between the two women. Which forces the war doctor into having to mediate a peace between the two women.

The use of the Enigma Dimension and having all three main players caught within it was brilliant fun. And it so perfectly illustrated that no matter the perceived outcome. Nobody ever really wins are war.

Overall this final box set of War Doctor stories is a bitter sweet affair.

Sir Jone Hurt was brilliant as always and will be missed by all his fans.

That aside. We can be extremely grateful that John Hurt was given opportunity by Big Finish to reprise The War Doctor and gives us much more insight into the character and the Time War than we’d have had otherwise.

Big Finish: Doctor Who -The War Doctor - CASUALTIES OF WAR
  • Stories
  • Voice Acting
  • Audio Production
  • Art Work

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
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