theoxygenfactory

Doctor Who

Big Finish have the licence from the BBC to create full-length Doctor Who audio dramas and short stories with the official surviving Doctors and their companions. As such they’re seen as official new Doctor Who, and are extremely popular with fans, enabling deeper and sometimes more controversial stories than can be shown in a family timeslot on TV.

Short Trips: A History of Christmas

A short story collection with a Christmas theme, this was part of the ongoing series of story collections labelled as Short Trips.
My story,The Feast, was set in the seventeenth century and concerned the dangerous time when Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas for being a pagan ritual. But what if the pagans tried to get it back and conjured up St Nicholas through mystical rites? Only to find that he wasn’t exactly what they expected.

A History of Christmas Cover Art

Christmas is a time for many things. For family and old acquaintances. For giving, for receiving, for feasts and celebration. For huddling round the warmth of the fire, sheltered from the dark and the cold outside.

And the monsters.

It’s also the busiest time of year for the mysterious Doctor, whether he’s caught-up in the violence of ancient Rome, taking Leonardo da Vinci on a day-trip to the stars, or popping in on the very first Christmas on the moon.

Spend Christmas with the Doctor. If you dare.

The Stories
The Lampblack Wars – Matthew Sweet
Home Fires – Jonathan Blum
The Feast – Stewart Sheargold
Rome – Marcus Flavin
Set in Stone – Charles Auchterlonie & John Isles
The Thousand Years of Christmas – Simon Bucher-Jones
Presence – Peter Anghelides
Danse Macabre – Joff Brown
The Church of Saint Sebastian – Robert Smith
The Prodigal Sun – Matthew Griffiths
Faithless – Ben Woodhams
Be Good For Goodness’s Sake – Samantha Baker
Ode to Joy – Jonathan Clements
Nobody’s Gift – Kate Orman
The Innocents – Marc Platt
Comforts of Home – Pete Kempshall
Christmas on the Moon – Simon Guerrier
The Anchorite’s Echo – Scott Andrews
The Revolutionaries – John S. Drew
The Gift – Robert Dick
Callahuanca – Richard Salter
Not in My Back Yard – Eddie Robson
She Won’t Be Home – Joseph Lidster
Saint Nicholas’s Bones – Xanna Eve Chown
The Long Midwinter – Philip Purser-Hallard

Review

“Some of the better writing for Ben and Polly that I’ve seen, and of course the more enigmatic Troughton from the beginning of his tenure. The alien works well with the time period, too — all in all, a fine little tale. The ending is quite fitting.”

Buy Here

Released December 2005. The Feast featured the Second Doctor as played by Patrick Troughton, and companions Ben Jackson and Polly Wright, as played by Michael Craze and Anneke Wills. It was the featured story for the collection, sent out as a preview before the collections release.

Short Trips: Farewells

A short story collection centred round the theme of farewells. My story, The Velvet Dark, had the Doctor attending the apparent funeral of his nemesis, The Master, only for it to be a trap, and another bid from his best enemy for resurrection. The story delighted in some whimsical horror, using all the Master’s known imagery, and fun was had with the idea that he was a masochist who actually enjoyed being defeated by the Doctor.

Short Trips Farewells Cover Art

‘After all, who knows, if I go down well, I might even make it my farewell performance.’

Sometimes it’s easy to say goodbye — to a friend, to a way of life, to a lover. Sometimes it’s heartbreaking. And sometimes they just won’t take the hint.

Say hello to 14 stories of goodbyes, as the Fourth Doctor contemplates his mortality after a funeral; a young man goes to murderous lengths to stop Jo Grant from leaving him; the First Doctor considers his flight from Gallifrey; the Fifth Doctor desperately tries to get rid of an unwanted companion — and more.

The Stories
The Mother Road – Gareth Wigmore
Father Figure – Steve Lyons
The Bad Guy – Stephen Fewell
Separation Day – Andy Campbell
The Very Last Picture Show – Andrew Collins
Into the Silent Land – Steven A. Roman
Wake – Jake Elliot
The Velvet Dark – Stewart Sheargold
Life After Queth – Matt Kimpton
Black and White – John Binns
Curtain Call – Joseph Lidster
Utopia – Darren Sellars
The Wickerwork Man – Paul Magrs
The Three Paths – Ian Potter

Review

“[The Velvet Dark is] well-written, and Sheargold captures the regulars competently enough…this is exactly the sort of thing people talk about when they lampoon the Master.”

Buy Here

Released March 2006. The Velvet Dark featured the Fifth Doctor as played by Peter Davison, and companions Tegan Jovanka and Vislor Turlough, as played by Janet Fielding and Mark Strickson.

Red

As the title suggests this was a treatise on extreme feeling – passion or rage, but particularly the effect of violence on a people who chose to have that emotion removed. I was interested in dualities, contradictions. Would removing the violent urge in someone actually lead to a perfect, irresponsible, crime-free society? Or would removing the violence cause harm instead? Would those who are deprived instinctively want what they could now not have and become depraved and lust after forbidden violent emotions? And what if this violence could come back, unbidden? Putting the Doctor at the centre, as the figure of moral right and a man who never uses violence to get his way, I wondered what would happen if he became part of the violence, if he became, vicariously, the killer?

Doctor Who: Red Cover Art

Subject 2660 ­- Celia Fortunatè, designated citizen of the needle. Subject experiencing traumatic, violent delusions during waking moments. Subject remains passified and under control of Whitenoise. Medication has been prescribed.

Subject 0357 – Vi Yulquen, designated Matriarch of the needle. Subject is under constant surveillance due to her wish to experience harm. This is in direct contravention of Whitenoise’s programming. Also supplier of the drug classified as Slow. Editing is required.

Subject 0841 ­- Chief Blue. Technician in symbiotic relationship with this Whitenoise system. Knowledgeable in human psychological evaluation. Subject has been diagnosed a voyeur, and has a dangerous obsession with the Red Tape. Machine augmentation is favoured to curb this defect.

Subject [error] ­- Melanie Bush, designated companion of subject 3999. Subject [error] is not chipped and is a threat. Her ability to harm has not been checked, compromising the continued security programming of this Whitenoise system. She must be inhibited.

Subject 3999 ­- the Doctor. Subject has committed homicide. This subject now in constant redline. His propensity for violence remains unchecked. Analysis suggests synchronisation with the killer. The Doctor will attempt to kill again. He must be stopped.

Review

“Red is one of the most atmospheric productions we have had in ages…the script and the direction marry so beautifully to produce a distinctive final result.”

Buy Here

Released August 2006. Red features the Seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy, and Bonnie Langford as Melanie Bush. The guest star for this story is comedienne, Sandi Toksvig, who played Matriarch Vi Yulquen.

The Death Collectors

The Death Collectors was hard sci-fi, conceptually challenging with a deeply alienating threat, and a study in death and how it is either embraced or fought. It was intentionally set before the TV Movie where Sylvester McCoy’s Seventh Doctor dies, and so his impending death was highlighted with the use of Madame Butterfly, as used in the TV Movie. The solo, lonesome, brooding Seventh Doctor is perfect for this environment – at once wise and incomprehensible. This was his funeral dirge.

The Death Collectors Cover Art

SYNOPSIS – The Death Collectors:

‘There is only death.’

A virulent disease that killed millions. A missing scientist. An ancient race of salvagers who collect and preserve the dead. The quarantined planet Antikon connects them all.

When the Doctor arrives on a sky station above Antikon, a single accident has already set in motion a chain of events that will mean the death of every living thing.

And the only way he can stop it is to die. Again.

SYNOPSIS – Spider’s Shadow:

It is the eve of battle and the Martial Princesses Louise and Alison are hosting a royal ball. But there are unwelcome visitors in the garden and a sequence of events spiralling out of control. And what’s more, the Doctor doesn’t even remember arriving.

Review – Death Collectors

“Sheargold deliver[s] another highbrow piece of science fiction that is conceptually flawless.”

Review – Spider’s Shadow

“Spider’s Shadow is a compelling little drama…[with] an interesting new twist on the old ‘time loop’ idea.”

Buy Here

Released June 2008. The Death Collectors features Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor. The guest star for this story is Katherine Parkinson who plays Danika Meanwhile, best known for playing Jen in The IT Crowd. The guest star in the one-part story, Spider’s Shadow, is Kevin McNally who plays Henry, the spider. He is arguably best known for his role as Mr Gibbs in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.