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Doctor Who 'The Light at the End' - Big Finish Audio Drama

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Published October 25th 2013
Tom Baker and other classic Doctors outwit the Master
Attention all Doctor Who fans: Big Finish have produced an epic audio drama that features the first eight incarnations of the Doctor.

This November will mark 50 years of an iconic British science fiction series that is arguably more popular than ever.

Nicholas Briggs, renowned for doing Dalek voices, has written and directed Doctor Who 'The Light at the End'. Prepare to treat your ears to two hours of fanboy bliss.

For those who are not familiar with Doctor Who allow me to summarise: a cosmic hobo known as the Doctor traverses time and space to fight for your right to party; he is often accompanied by one or more companions.

So how does a show last 50 years? Simple, when the lead actor decides to move on (or they outstay their welcome) the weary Time Lord's body regenerates—complete with new fashion sense and eccentric quirks.

The TV show is currently up to its eleventh Doctor (Matt Smith) with his swansong scheduled Christmas 2013.

Big Finish, however, use Paul McGann (eighth Doctor) as their incumbent Time Lord for their audio dramas.

Stop fiddling about and get on with it – The Doctor

Everyone has their favourite Doctor. 'The Light at the End' delights fandom of the classic era by cramming eight Doctors, some old friends and a few guest appearances together to face yet another trap set by the Master (Geoffrey Beevers).

This portrayal of the Master is all about elaborate ruses and carefully constructed monologues that are laced with eloquent diction to juxtapose his grisly, emaciated, visage.

The first law of time prohibits Time Lords from meeting their former selves however multi-Doctor stories typically involve ludicrous exceptions for the sake of celebrating the show.

Old man white hair, Beatles haircut, frilly shirt, long scarf big eyes, cricket boy, Joseph and his amazing technicolor dream coat and Lord Byron, all of them, they were you? – Ace

The first three Doctors (William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee respectively) have passed away however their legacy is immortalised through their television work. Keen listeners will recall particular sound bites that depict the bickering trio as ghosts of the past. Their presence in the narrative is eerie; they support the surviving cast by playing for more time and letting the odd clue slip. There is something amusing about the first three iterations of the Doctor squabbling. William Hartnell's incarnation keeps the other two focused on the task at hand for the sake of their future selves.

Doctors four-to-eight (Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann respectively) are also active participants in a race to prevent time from folding in on itself. Should the Doctors fail it would be as though the original Doc never left his home planet, Gallifrey.

'Cricket boy' finds himself at the centre of the inciting incident with his companion from Traken, Nyssa (Sarah Sutton). The TARDIS crash lands on Bob Dovie's house in 1963 England. Bob Dovie seems a little forgetful and mistakes the time travellers for Police who are investigating his missing wife and kids. An innocent visit takes a sinister turn when the Doctor and Nyssa find miniaturised family members in a doll house. This is where the fifth Doctor's greatest strengths—compassion and sensitivity—are also his biggest vulnerabilities which the Master exploits.

Doctor Who Time Lord

Tom Baker and Paul McGann are an excellent Time Lord duo who are supported by Leela (Louise Jameson) and Charlotte—Charley—Pollard (India Fisher). They spend most of their time phishing for details from the Master by cracking jokes and letting the villain rant. Tom Baker's Doc even offers the Master a jelly baby.

Meanwhile Colin Baker's incarnation of the Doctor—along with his immediate successor, Sylvester McCoy—scope out an arms dealers market with their companions Peri (Nicola Bryant) and Ace (Sophie Aldred). The Docs seem to mellow with age as they treat one another as equals. Peri points out that the Doc is effectively praising himself.

'Joseph and his amazing technicolor dream coat' engages in an argument with a key character that is very reminiscent of his passionate defence in 'Trial of a Time Lord'. This tense moment is very satisfying and fuels the sixth Doctor's ego.

Sylvester McCoy has one of the best voices for audio dramas. His Scottish accent and the way he delivers his lines are so articulate, so delightful to hear that it takes you back to when he was headlining the show.

The Time Lords will not let this stand. I was working with them! – The Master

'The Light at the End' should appease Whovians who are in need of a multi-Doc fix. A huge cast can often be risky however Nicholas Briggs has done a superb job to ensure everyone gets a fair share of the action and are true to their characters.

The last few minutes of the audio drama are especially amusing and it was pleasant to experience a serious story that was punctuated with humorous dialogue and a clever plot. Whovians should be pleased.

Doctor Who 'The Light at the End' (Standard Edition) is now available on CD (AUS $25.13) and as a digital download (AUS $19.99).

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Why? Eight classic Doctors reunite to outwit the Master
Cost: $20-$25
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