Lost Season of Doctor Who to be Audio Drama

SFFaudio News

Big Finish ProductionsWired is reporting that Big Finish Productions is working on a new season of Doctor Who.

“A sci-fi production company is restoring a long-lost piece of Doctor Who history by resurrecting the show’s cancelled 23rd season as a series of audio dramas.

The shows, starring then-Doctor Colin Baker, were originally supposed to air in January 1986. But a cost-cutting network boss pushed back Who’s premiere that year to September, essentially killing the season envisioned by executive producer John Nathan-Turner.”

Word is Nicola Bryant (playing the role of Peri) will also be returning! Peri rocks! Episode 1 of the NEW 23rd season of classic Doctor Who (titled ”The Nightmare Fair”) is set for a November 2009 release, with subsequent episodes following in 2010.

[via Monster Rally]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Max Warp

SFFaudio Online Audio
BBC Radio 7 - BBC7Doctor Who: Max Warp
Full cast audio drama
Stars Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith
Written by Jonathan Morris
Directed by Barnaby Edwards
Produced by Big Finish Productions
52 minutes

Just heard this on BBC7 and it’s really fun so I thought I’d better post it before it slips away. (Since it already aired last Sunday, oops, it’s only available until November 1, so get cracking!)

Max Warp is a sort of Agatha Christie style murder mystery (eh, well, you’ll see…hear) that crosses paths with Douglas Adams (with one or two direct references as well) and then ends up in Doctor Who’s lap. Terrible sentence I know but where this tale takes place is probably the most fun part.  Here’s the skinny from the Big Finish page:

Broadcasting live from the Sirius Inter-G Cruiser Show. Hosted by outspoken columnist and media personality Geoffrey Vantage, with spaceship-guru-extraordinaire O’Reilley and daredevil pilot Timbo ‘the Ferret’…When a test flight of the new Kith Sunstorm ends in disaster, the Sirius Exhibition Station is plunged into a web of murder and intrigue. Someone – or something – is trying to re-ignite a war between the Varlon Empire and the Kith Oligarchy…only two investigators, the Doctor and Lucie, can hope to uncover the truth.

And so it goes, and I’d love to tell you more about this story but that would be spoiling things.  Listen to Max Warp yourself.  You can do so right now by clicking here!

Posted by RC of RTSF

Dead London

SFFaudio Online Audio

BBC Radio 7 - BBC7 Doctor Who: Dead London
Full cast audio drama
Airs on consecutive Sundays beginning on Sunday, October 19*
6PM and 12AM GMT
Written by Pat Mills
Produced by Big Finish

Tomorrow, BBC7’s The 7th Dimension presents another popular Big Finish Doctor Who audio drama. This time it’s Dead London starring Paul McGann (reprising his 8th doctor role) and Sheridan Smith. Here’s the word from the Big Finish website:

Someone’s playing with us. Manipulating time and space for their own ends.

The TARDIS lands in London. But which one? The Doctor and Lucie find themselves trapped in a maze of interlocking Londons from Roman times to the present day.

But they are not alone in this labyrinth: a killer is on their trail.

Sounds like dependable ol’ Doctor Who fun-o-tainment, and Big Finish always manages a superb production, so check it out. You can also listen to any BBC7 program for 6 days after it airs, so you never have to miss a show.

* Note: BBC7 has revamped their website. The 7th Dimension webpage no longer exists, and show descriptions no longer mention the number of episodes a series may contain, so watch the schedule page closely.

Posted by RC of RTSF

Quickie Freebie Fun List

SFFaudio Online Audio

Quickie Freebie Fun List

Hey groovy guys and groovy gals, just in time for the weekend, here’s a quick selection of freebies available for download from BBC 4 and Big Finish. (applause) One, Lost Souls, is a Torchwood spin-off running around 43 minutes. The other, The Coup, is a spin-off from Doctor Who (aren’t they all?) and clocks in at 23 minutes or so. –That means over an hour of full-cast science fiction audio drammer fa nuthin’. Ain’t free stuff great?!

Here’s the scoop direct from the respective websites:

BBC Radio 4 - Torchwood: Lost Souls

FREE Torchwood audio drama: Lost Souls (Available until next Tuesday.)

“The Torchwood Institute was founded by Queen Victoria in 1879 to protect the British Empire against the threat of alien invasion. By 2008, all that remains of the organisation is a small team based in Cardiff. And now, following the tragic deaths of two of their colleagues, the remaining three – Captain Jack Harkness, Gwen Cooper and Ianto Jones – have to protect the human race against another unknown force from the darkness.

“Martha Jones, ex-time traveller and now working as a doctor for a UN task force, has been called to CERN – the world’s largest particle physics laboratory in Geneva – where they’re about to activate the Large Hadron Collider. The LHC is a particle accelerator, which has been built deep underground in a 27 km tunnel under Switzerland and France. Once activated the Collider will fire beams of protons together recreating conditions a billionth of a second after the Big Bang – and potentially allowing the human race a greater insight into what the Universe is made of. But so much could go wrong – it could open a gateway to a parallel dimension, or create a black hole – and now voices from the past are calling out to people and scientists have started to disappear…

“Where have the missing scientists gone? What is the secret of the glowing man? What is lurking in the underground tunnel? And do the dead ever really stay dead?

“Lost Souls stars John Barrowman, Freema Agyeman, Eve Myles, Gareth David-Lloyd, Lucy Montgomery and Stephen Critchlow.”

Written by Joseph Lidster
Produced and Directed by Kate McAll

FREE Big Finish audio drama: U.N.I.T. – The Coup (Available indefinitely.)

Big Finish - UNIT: The Coup“To wet your appetite for the full UNIT mini-series, we are giving away the introductory UNIT story, The Coup, absolutely free for you to download and enjoy! Originally available only as a free CD with Doctor Who Magazine, this drama stars Nicholas Courtney and sets the stage for the new UNIT adventures.

“The UK division of the UNIT prepares to cede its authority to a new organisation… But who is attempting to sabotage the hand-over?

“The Coup stars Nicholas Courtney (reprising his well-known role) as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart with Siri O’Neal, Nicholas Deal and an appearance by David Tennant in the fourth story as Colonel Brimmicombe-Wood.”

Written by Simon Guerrier
Directed by Ian Farrington

Posted by RC of RTSF

Review of Dark Shadows: The House of Despair

SFFaudio Audio Drama Review

Horror Audio Drama - Dark Shadows: The House Of DespairDark Shadows: The House Of Despair
By Stuart Manning, Directed by Gary Russell; Performed by a full cast
1 CD – 72 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Big Finish
Published: September 2006
ISBN: 1844352439
Themes: / Horror / Birds / Lost Souls / Witchcraft / Ghosts / Immortality /

After years of wandering the world, Quentin Collins is coming home. But the Collinwood that awaits him is no longer the sanctuary he remembers. As the town of Collinsport hides in fear from otherworldly powers, Quentin vows to unite old friends and reclaim his birthright.

Dark Shadows was one of those lightning-in-a-bottle phenomenons. Modern audiences look at it now and don’t get what audiences of the late 1960s saw in it, or why so many of its fans can’t let it go today. Without its Vietnam era frame of reference, the show seems to have little or no appeal. It isn’t scary by today’s standards. It’s not intentionally funny. Buffy it ain’t.

One can’t help but wonder, then, if there’s any point in attempting an original cast resurrection. So many of the mainstays are no longer living, and the show’s biggest star, Jonathan “Barnabas” Frid, is retired at age 82. With four original series stars in the leads, however, Big Finish productions has achieved a nostalgic romp with a modern storytelling style, intelligent and psychological, dripping with atmosphere, which should satisfy fans of the one-of-a-kind soap opera and modern audiophiles both.

David Selby makes a creditable transition from the Sixties anti-hero that was Quentin Collins, recovering lycanthrope, into a strong leading man. He returns to his ancestral home at age 130-something to find it deserted, overtaken by a supernatural presence who just might be the hidden Big Bad from Hitchcock’s The Birds. Enlisting the aid of the witch Angelique, he sets out to re-establish his dynasty as the new Collins family patriarch.

Selby’s eternal tongue in cheek awareness of his character’s failings serves him well. Lara Parker, forty years later, is still enthralling as the beautiful, horrific Angelique. To the writer’s credit, she maintains her darker side, an ally, but still a potential villain. Kathryn Leigh Scott has a voice made for audio drama, and brings dignity to the long-suffering Maggie Evans, who, after all this time, still hasn’t figured out that her friends the Collinses are not quite human. John Karlen returns as servant Willie Loomis, now “Mad Willie.” As always, he brings life and sympathy to a weak and even sleazy role. Newcomer Andrew Collins is well-cast in his part, which shan’t be revealed herein. The original Robert Colbert Dark Shadows score is blended nicely with original music.

During my listening, the background effects balance was sometimes a little off, obscuring the voices. It’s important to remember, though, that it’s nearly impossible to get the balance right for every sound system out there. I listened on a rental-car stereo. As an audio theater producer myself, (who’s also been chastised in a review for effects balance) I’m the first to say that it’s a lot to ask of an editor to create something artful and make it work for the most pedestrian sound system. For an optimal listening experience, grab some headphones. This is the first of four existing titles in a series, with more promised for the future.