Click here to return to the main site.

Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who


Starring: Sylvester McCoy
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £14.99 (CD), £12.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 324 8
Available 30 November 2008

In Egypt, archaeologist Howard Carter unearths an ancient secret buried in the Valley of the Kings... On the island of Mendolovinia, a deranged academic attempts to push back the frontiers of the human mind... On V-E Day, a Cockney spiv takes possession of a bizarre alien object... And in a top secret military bunker in the cold heart of Antarctica, the strangest and deadliest of the Doctor’s enemies lies in wait...

Like 100, this two-disc release is a celebratory affair comprising four single-part stories, each revolving around a particular number. This time the number in question is 45, to mark Doctor Who’s 45th anniversary. Big Finish once again shuns the well-trodden path of doing a multi-Doctor special and instead focuses on one incarnation of the Time Lord, the Seventh (Sylvester McCoy), accompanied by Ace (Sophie Aldred) and Hex (Philip Olivier).

In the blistering heat of the Egyptian desert, Howard Carter and his team search for the lost tomb of Userhat, a servant of the god Amun. What they discover sheds new light on the history of the world as we know it...

The opening story, False Gods, is written by Mark Morris, who is best known for his sci-fi and horror prose. A celebrity historical featuring Howard Carter (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Egyptology in general, and penned by a horror writer, the story seems at first to be heading towards familiar mummy’s curse territory. However, Morris has a few tricks up his sleeve.

The writer appears to have some trouble fitting all of his plot ideas into just 25 minutes, but otherwise this is an enjoyable little story.



Dr Verryman has devoted his entire life to the advancement of knowledge, but at what cost? When his experiments on a remote planet threaten all sentient life, only the Doctor can help - if he puts his mind to it...

Nick Scovell, the writer of the next story, Order of Simplicity, is best known for writing and appearing in stage adaptations of classic Doctor Who serials. As such, he seems to have no difficulty writing dialogue that actors relish delivering. These include Jon Glover as the very mad scientist Dr Verryman, who bellows his way through the production.

The cast also includes Lucy Adams as the sinister housemaid Mrs Crisp. The actress succeeds in sounding completely different from the more genteel character she plays in False Gods.



Opportunity knocks in war-torn London, but when a tea leaf steals from the wrong woman and acquires an alien object, it becomes a race against time to discover the truth. Some truths are best left untold...

Mark Michalowski, the writer of Casualties of War (not to be confused with the Eighth Doctor novel of the same name) will, like Mark Morris, be most familiar to listeners as the author of several works of Who-related prose fiction. He turns in a continuity-conscious story, which develops the character arcs of Ace and Hex, picking up plot strands from both the TV show and the Big Finish series.

The doubling up of cast members is arguably less successful here. Though Paul Reynolds’s Cockney spiv and Linda Marlowe’s similarly regional turn as his mother are light years away from the characters they play in the next episode, Beth Chalmers (who also portrays the menacing Miss Merchant) is unconvincing as a three-year-old. The production team should have recorded dialogue spoken by a real toddler instead.



Beneath the Antarctic ice, a mysterious death threatens peace negotiations and could spell disaster for the inhabitants of Earth. Can the Doctor cross the t’s and dot the i’s, or will his efforts get lost in translation...?

The Word Lord, penned by Steven Hall, brings the anthology to a satisfying conclusion. The episode reveals that recent occurrences of the number 45 have not been mere coincidences. Like the words “Bad Wolf” in the 2005 television series, the number gains an ominous significance and has somehow been following the Time Lord from one place to the next.

Paul Reynolds puts in a memorable performance as the deceptively light-hearted Nobody No-One, a villain who would not seem out of place in a Sapphire & Steel adventure.


Richard McGinlay

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£14.99 (
£8.49 (
£14.99 (
£13.49 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.