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Doctor Six Gets a True Regeneration

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Friday 27 October 2017
Rating:   8

One of the big gaps in Doctor Who lore is the account of exactly how Doctor Six becomes Doctor Seven. Big Finish decided to make that story, complete the transition, fill the gap. They decided to do this in the style they have used more and more often since about 2013 - a box set of 1 hour stories loosely connected. The advantage of this method is not to overtax any one writer with trying to produce the big spectacular. If anyone remembers "Zagreus" and "The Next Life," then he/she will know just how large a disaster that can become as the writer loses control of the story. The rationale for this set is to visit four different moments in Doctor Six history as constructed by Big Finish. So, each story includes a different companion, and the stories do not themselves happen in strictly chronological order. Sadly, the death of Maggie Stables made using Evelyn out of the question. However, we get Doctor Six with Constance (his newest companion in Big Finish terms), Charley, Flip, and Mel. That makes three entirely Big Finish companions. The story arc is intriguingly different because it follows not Doctor Six's development, but The Valeyard's development. The listener goes through the series witnessing The Valeyard slowly put together the means by which he will take over The Doctor's life. Part 1, "The End of the Line," is a murderer on a train story with the twist that the train is part of a multidimensional instability. It is quite creepy and quite inventive. Part 2, "The Red House," is a bit more standard Doctor Who fare, with Doctor Six and Charley arriving on the planet of werewolves, or is it the wolves that turn into humans? There is a dodgy scientific experiment going on and a cold, callous mad scientist who suddenly goes all sympathetic and caring. This story, to my mind, is the weakest of the set. Part 3, "Stage Fright," connects Doctor Six and Flip with Jago and Litefoot. The Valeyard has commissioned Jago's theatre for private dramatic recreations of The Doctor's "deaths." We see that as The Valeyard grows in power, he starts taking increasing amounts of story space. Part 4, "The Brink of Death," begins right off with The Valeyard succeeding. He has inserted himself in The Doctor's place so that even Mel does not know it has happened. Doctor Six is down to six minutes (significance in the number?) to save himself from being erased from existence. His solution is self-sacrifice for the greater good, which fits perfectly with Doctor Six as portrayed in Big Finish stories.

There are a couple of quibbles on my part. One is that "The Brink of Death" involves a magical form of radiation lethal to Time Lords but only mildly uncomfortable to humans. That is simply not how radiation works. In "End of the Line" there is a bit about multiverse versions of oneself leading to "the dark side" taking over and converting nice people into homicidal maniacs. It just doesn't ring true. Mel does not get nearly enough to do in "The Brink of Death."

The performances are generally outstanding. Michael Jayston really relishes his role as The Valeyard. Some Big Finish regulars, such as Anthony Howell, Lisa Bowerman, and Robbie Stevens turn in top rate performances. Generally, we can say that Big Finish took a Big Risk that succeeded very well.



Awesome Sixie send off!!!!

By:Matthew David Rabjohns, Bridgend, United Kingdom
Date:Monday 29 February 2016
Rating:   10

These four stories produced to finally explain the circumstances of the sixth Doctor's parting from the series is absolutely excellent. Every single story is totally different, and all have a separate feel, but together they give Colin the send off he always deserved but never received on screen in 1986.

The End of the Line begins the story arc eerily. Its brilliant drama mixed with some atmospheric sound design and some great performances from the entire cast. There's only a cameo from the Valeyard in this story, but that's not a downer on the story as the build up is superb to the first cliffhanger on this set. And yet again, Miranda Raison makes a brilliant companion for the Doctor. The sound design like Ive said is particularly good here.

The Red House is a little bit more of a tongue in cheek story but it has its brilliant macabre moments. Michael Jayston too is superb again as the Valeyard, and the sound design once more lifts the whole story into another Alan Barnes cracker. And its great hearing India Fisher again as Charley. A real treat.

Stage Fright is absolutely brilliant in so many ways. First it brings back those two brilliant characters of Jago and Litefoot, who as always are welcome light humour and the performances of Trevor Baxter and Chris Benjamin need no introduction. And Michael Jayston sparks off Colin with such brilliance. And then theres one of my all time favourite BFP Companions, Flip, brought to life brilliantly by the wonderful Lisa Greenwood.

and to finish the set, The Brink of Death by Nick Briggs is superbly written. Colin really delivers an exceptional performance as the wonderful and totally underrated and under appreciated SIXIE. This set is absolutely brilliant and Im chuffed to own it. Great drama and a brilliant bow out for Colin. The ending he really deserves!!!




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