12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 28 November 2013
As Big Finish's celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who, `The Light at the End' could otherwise be more traditionally known as the Eight Doctors. In many ways though, it could easily be considered as a second Five Doctors. It is certainly written and performed in the same spirit as `The Five Doctors'. It has also has definite plot similarities. Both involve the Doctors being taken out of their own timelines by the evil machinations of certain dubious Timelords.
This time it is not the Fourth Doctor who ends up stuck in some type of limbo but rather the first three Doctors who are rather sidelined. Obviously it is a little different to feature the three great actors who are no longer with us, but a more than adequate job is done in covering them as best as possible. William Russell provides a very convincing First Doctor and Frazier Hines delivers yet another perfect Second Doctor. The Third Doctor has, perhaps, the smallest role and some of his lines are a little unclear on the audio.
Doctors four to eight all receive a well balanced share of the action though. The Fourth and Eighth Doctors are paired off early on. This gives them the bulk of the first quarter and their interaction is possibly the highlight of the play. Tom Baker and Paul McGann are at their most playful, witty and Doctorish. Their toying with the lead antagonist and the irritation they cause him is highly entertaining. They seem to really enjoy playing off each other.The relationship is also somewhat reminiscent of their meeting in Terrance Dicks' novel `The Eight Doctors'.
Doctors five, six and seven all spend most of the story sectioned off with their companion; Nyssa, Peri and Ace respectively. They are each given separate tasks/missions by the author giving them equal air time. They are sufficiently varied and combine well as the story is revealed. Eventually they come together in true multi-Doctor style. It comes as little surprise, especially considering the marketing, that the main villain is the Master. Geoffrey Beevers plays it more in line with a Roger Delgado interpretation than his own decayed corpse, on screen version. Somehow this seems fitting. He also seems to revel in acting opposite Tom Baker and Paul McGann. Celestial Time Agent, Straxus, who has appeared in previous Big Finish productions, also makes a significant appearance.
The multitude of Doctors and companions are fitted into the storyline quite well. Obviously for some of the companions there isn't a great deal to do as the Doctors are almost acting like their own companions (similar to what has been scene in `The Day of the Doctor'). Even so, their performances are all of a high standard and all are clearly enjoying the experience of being in this anniversary piece. Nicholas Briggs, the writer of this and the voice of many televised monsters, also gets to take part in playing the Vess.
It is a somewhat complex but still easy to follow plot that is well written and highly enjoyable. But it is the performances that really draw the listener in. Its only major drawback is that when you reach the light at the end you are left with the wish that it could have been televised.
The special edition of this is also beautifully presented in a book style format with a whole array of fan indulgent special features and even a bonus audiobook. Well worth the extra cost and a good souvenir of the anniversary.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The light at the end is a special Doctor Who audio story from Big Finish Productions, made to give everyone the multi Doctor story they all wanted for the fiftieth anniversary of the show.
It comes in several different editions. One on vinyl. One with a lot of extras. And an ordinary one which just has the story across two cd's. And absolutely nothing else whatsoever in the way of extras or trailers or interviews.
This review is of that ordinary version. Which has to be mentioned first as the Amazon system will probably lump them all together.
The story runs for just under two hours, and each disc is basically one long episode. The only breaks are the usual cd chapter ones, and there is a cliffhanger to the end of disc one.
This story does stand entirely on it's own and you don't need to have heard any other audios to get into it.
The story features Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann all in prominent roles. Each Doctor is with just one companion. Who would be Leela, Nyssa, Peri, Ace and Charley. [Young adventuress from the early twentieth century, just in case you've not heard many other audios. She was mentioned in a recent tv special and appeared in lots of other audio stories].
The story sees the Master [not a spoiler, as he's on the cover of the box and the cast list] launch a scheme to rid the cosmos of his old enemy once and for all. Which draws people to a road in Totton [ which is just to the west of Southampton] on a certain date in November 1963.
The life of an ordinary man is shattered.
And the Doctor[s] have to fight for their very existence.
The Master is played by Geoffrey Beevers, who played the part in the tv story the Keeper of Traken, and who has reprised the role several times on audio.
Can this story give everyone an equal amount to do, and be something that more than justifies it's existence?
Disc one does take a little while to get going. Initially we're with the Eighth and Charley. It's nice to hear them again as they were early on in their run, when they were both full of the joys of exploring and adventure. When things start to get strange as they're caught up in the Master's trap it does take a little getting used to, since you're as in the dark as they are as to what is going on.
What then grabs the attention is the first meeting of Doctors in the story. The two in question do have a great amount of chemistry together.
Others are gradually pulled into things. What really does then next grab the attention is the performance of Big Finish writer John Dorney as the aforementioned ordinary man. It's convincing and subtle and steadily does become rather chilling.
Whilst you're still somewhat waiting for the story to come together though, there are lots of little moments that delight. A certain companions reaction to a sight of all the Doctors. A fun exchange about the costume of one of them. A stunning bit of imagery on a tv screen...it would take a while to list everything. But with things like that, you get great repeat value because it means you can listen to the story again and again and discover things that have slipped your mind.
Things really do click come disc two, though. With more fun meetings and the eventual exposition pulls it all together. Then when the Doctor[s] start to deal with things there are moments that are really quite rousing listening. Frankly by this point I didn't want the story to end.
But end it must. It does though manage to do what the tv special for the anniversary did, in that it looks both forward and back, celebrating both. The way things are resolved is one of those complicated explanation moments that make perfect sense if you just go with it and don't think about it too much.
There are some very nice wrap up scenes to follow.
This is not the greatest Doctor Who audio story ever. But it doesn't need to be. It does exactly what it has to do, in that it gets everyone involved [the first three do figure. Which is not a spoiler also because you'll hear them very early on. The actors who voice one and two are very good indeed. The voice of three isn't quite on a par with them, but that's only a minor complaint], provides lots of memorable moments, and celebrates the programme as a whole. So it's well worth five stars.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 4 March 2014
It's as good as you'd expect, probably moreso.
I hadn't ever heard a Who audiobook before so every aspect of it was something of a treat. The Doctors and their companions haven't aged much, in terms of their voices, they sound roughly as they did back in the day. Each of the five have their spotlight moments, and are also teamed up with one other of the Doctors for periods of the story.
Briggs has captured the personas brilliantly. The digs between the Fourth and Eighth Doctors are reminscent of Troughton versus Pertwee. The Fifth Doctor's curious approach and his somewhat hapless inquiry of the poor family man in 1963 before finding a solution are typical. The Seventh Doctor's preposterous language enlivens, and he is somehow an 'elder statesman' of the group. The Sixth Doctor's 'immodest' presentation has me liking him more and more as I get older-- his dressing down of one of the enemies is priceless.
When it was done, I found myself wanting this to go on for another hour!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
As we know, Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary was one MASSIVE party, enjoyed and celebrated through so many different medias, with the whole franchise and fanbase determined to celebrate to the fullest. Everyone and everything came together for this momentous occasion, including & especially all the different Doctors throughout history.
The Light at the End is a Big Finish audio drama that unites the Fourth (Tom Baker), Fifth (Peter Davison), Sixth (Colin Baker), Seventh (Sylvester McCoy) and Eighth (Paul McGann) Doctors in a all-star team-up (very similar to The Five Doctors and Day of the Doctor). Having enjoyed Big Finish & AudioGo's Destiny of the Doctor range so much, I was most keen to check out this particular drama, especially to see all the legends come back for this particular 50th Anniversary celebration in a brand-new setting.
The Light at the End focuses on November 23rd 1963 (sounds familiar...!), and Bob Dovie's life has been torn apart. The devastation that this innocent man has suffered, turns out to have grave consequences for the first eight of the Doctor's incarnations. The Time Lord's entire existence is threatened by arch-nemesis the Master and the mysterious `Vess'. Can the Doctor's various incarnations all work together to save themselves and all of time itself?
Nicholas Briggs (voice of the Daleks in the TV series and head-honcho of Big Finish) has written and directed The Light at the End, and (all-in-all) he should be proud of his production. With all the cast on form, rich sound-effects and soundtrack (LOVE the rendition of the Doctor Who theme used here!), The Light at the End is an audio drama of VERY high-quality. Worthy of Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary.
Tom, Peter, Colin, Sylvester and Paul's different Doctors all get sufficient time to shine through with their performances and roles within the story. And they all interact beautifully (just like Matt, David and John in Day of the Doctor), with the best team-ups being Doctors Four & Eight, followed by the exchanges with Six & Seven. Of course, companions are on hand with the likes of Leela (Louise Jameson), Nysaa (Sarah Sutton), Peri (Nicola Bryant), Ace (Sophie Aldred) and Charley (India Fisher) all providing great support and conversing brilliantly with each other and different Doctors. Geoffrey Beevers provides a deliciously malevolent turn as The Master, who is the perfect (and natural) foil for the Doctor in this audio-drama.
Plot-wise, The Light at the End is a bit tricky to follow, but coherent enough to make you want to continue. There's some nice twist-and-turns, and it juggles all the various plot-elements quite nicely. It's a major-outing that lives up to the hype, and adheres carefully to the continuities of both the Big Finish and original TV series. However, the Master's plan to undo the Doctor's life is somewhat underwhelming through the use of victimising a completely random innocent like Bob Dovie, and the Vess themselves come across as `filler' (especially when compared to the much meatier Creevix from The Time Machine). Aside from those issues, the rest of the Master's machinations are sinister and true to his brilliant scheming nature.
The only thing really that betrays The Light at the End, is its anti-climactic ending. Aside from that, this is an audio-drama that (like Destiny of the Doctor) helps celebrate 50 years of Doctor Who in style. Like the Destiny series, like Day of the Doctor and everything else, The Light at the End simply cannot be missed by Whovians. Recommended!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Finally heard it and fully enjoyed it, managed to avoid spoilers completely so I got a nice surprise at the start with the villain being revealed so early. I enjoyed the fact it was more of what I term of a plot story than "fluff" which was what I was expecting, if I hadn't have known it was a multi Doctor story I'd genuinely have believed it was an 8th Doctor and Charley story for the first 10 mins or so. Even when another incarnation turned up I did worry that all the Doctors were about to be thrown into the mix but the story isn't afraid to put various incarnations on the sidelines and give others moments to shine. I also like the fact that the story is firmly about the regulars with few other characters rather akin to The Visitation. I haven't met Straxus in the range yet but judging from a few posts it looks like I'll meet him eventually. The villain was very well played and I enjoyed each time he met a different incarnation of the Doctor was a joy. While listening I didn't know who were doing the first three Doctors voices - I guessed Frazer was doing 2 as I'd heard him in The Destiny of The Doctor series and had heard good things about him from the companion chronicles. William Russell was very good as One but I'm not familiar with whoever performed as Three and to be honest I thought the performer struggled.
I clicked 5 stars but out of 10 I'd probably give it a 9 as I enjoyed it (I must mention the theme which I enjoyed), got a few surprises, had a good ride and had lots of lovely moments. In terms of story most of the regulars got something to do - not to sure about 7, it came over technically well and one of my personal favourite things about it was the Doctors various different reactions to the trap from those who wondered into it blindly to those who were suspicious and over complicated things getting themselves into deeper trouble. Very good stuff and keep it up Big Finish.
Also included is a very good behind the scenes documentary which is very lengthy and quite a good listen. A rather good celebration of Big Finish who have been making these audio's for well over a decade and a well regarded Companion Chronicle which was originally an exclusive with Doctor Who magazine starring original companion William Russell and Sharon Small.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 11 November 2013
This is a review of the Light at the End Special Edition CD from Big Finish. This is the 5 disc edition. The first two contain the anniversary story. The third is a behind the scenes documentary, the fourth a documentary covering Big Finish itself. The last disc is a companion chronicles during the First Doctor era called "The Revenants".
Expecting backlash from those of you who do not like reviews before the release date, I would like to point out that this package has been released early by Big Finish ahead of its general release and that of Amazon. The content is the same......
I started to listen to this and at first missed the theme tune bursting in. It was followed by confusion as Doctors appeared and disappeared, teamed up then were somewhere else on their own. But I was hoping it would all gel by the end of the first episode. It turned out I had the tracks on random play. I started again.
Someone elsewhere will probably give a cast list, cameo list or outright plain spoilers. I want to help keep the mystery to first time listeners so wont be giving much away. Suffice to say the adventure begins with a reworking of the theme tune which is quite a disco. Big Finish has reimagined the title tune a number of times and nothing yet can top David Arnold's 8th Doctor original version. It's a bit strange on a first listen but I do like the whistles. After a second go on full blast with headphones it's actually a good bombastic anthem.
Everything is converging in this adventure to 23 November 1963. The 8th Doctor and Charlie start the story (should I say they are the first pairing to appear) and it feels like they have never been apart. Their appearance here takes place during the early part of their `relationship' as the darkness of Charlie's arc hasn't yet taken grip.
It's not long before the other Doctors start appearing (All, from 1st - 8th) and many cameos from the companions. They also team up so it's not a case of singular missions with a reunion in the last act. Previous team ups have had the Doctors bickering with each other. Here they occasionally make the odd quip but are better matched. No offence to the other actors but the Big Finish Big Guns of Tom Baker and Paul McGann work terrifically together.
What is also refreshing and can only be done on audio (sorry dodgy cgi TV Doctors) is that all the Doctors (courtesy of additional voice artists - If you don't know I would suggest you don't read the cast list before listening) are all involved in the story. Not one of them sits in an armchair in his living room, not one gets made of wax, not one is a disembodied head pickled in time, and not one is recast as a different character. The first three Doctors do get involved quite a bit more than you would expect.
This by far is a proper celebration of Doctor Who and all the actors who have taken on the name. It's a clever story with some good twists but it's also NOT a complicated Moffett style plot that might alienate casual listeners (I'm worried Day of the Doctor won't be a celebration and will be dark and complicated [I'm not against the latter in general but I do want the Special to be fun])
LOOK OUT FOR - Plenty of audio links. There is so much to listen out for in the background. The Master is as sinister and malevolent as ever
The disc covering behind the scenes is well documented with all the contributors involved giving their thoughts. The second documentary disc runs down the history of Big Finish itself which is a fascinating listen as there is so much more than a series of Doctor Who audios to contend with. The bonus audio of the Revenants was only ever released before as a special download through Doctor Who Magazine and is a nice edition. Personally I'm not a fan of these part narrated audios, preferring full audio casts, but each to his own. There is also a Limited Edition Vinyl release with the same content and a basic cd that just covers the story itself.
It's worth looking at the BIG FINISH site but Amazon does sell them cheaper although you won't get the free download if you purchase the CD options.
The Light at the End parts 1 & 2: 1.56.31
Behind the Scenes: 1.06.48
This is Big Finish: 1.06.26
The Revenants: 1.10.40
The Special edition has the 5 discs, and a 32 page booklet with some pretty cast photos in an attractive case. I thought that they were additional postcards at first which would have been nice) judging by the promotional photo but on closer look they are pages from the book .
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 February 2015
23rd November 2013.
The 50th anniversary of 'Doctor Who' in 2013! What a year to remember!
I was looking forward to seeing a TV episode of 'Doctor Who' that celebrated the 50th anniversary featuring all the Doctors and the companions. I wanted a party atmosphere in the same vein as the 'The Five Doctors'. Obviously that wasn't going to happen in the current TV series of 'Doctor Who'.
So therefore, Big Finish came up with 'The Light At The End', a superb multi-Doctor adventure to celebrate 50 years of the show's history, featuring the surviving classic doctors; the companions and the Master. I couldn't wait to hear this adventure. Shame Doctors 9, 10 and 11 couldn't appear in it.
This is a 5-disc set limited edition, with the story on the first two discs, Disc 3 containing a 'making-of' documentary; Disc 4 containing a 'Big Finish' documentary' and Disc 5 containing 'The Revenants'.
DISC 1 & 2 - 'THE LIGHT AT THE END'
I listened to this story in the car with my parents when we went on a family weekend to Chichester. It was a day before the 23rd November 2013, in the lead up to the 50th anniversary.
'The Light At The End' is a story about the first eight Doctors experiencing a crisis as the life of Bob Dovie gets ripped apart on the 23rd November 1963. The Doctors and their companions must stop this crisis before their existence is at risk as the Master is somehow involved.
I was very pleased that Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann appeared as the main Doctors. I was extremely pleased that Louise Jameson, Sarah Sutton, Nicola Bryant, Sophie Aldred and India Fisher appeared as the main companions.
I enjoyed listening to this story and being thrilled by the 50th anniversary theme music. This is a better anniversary story to celebrate the show's history compared to 'The Day of the Doctor'.
This is a two-part adventure running 100 minutes approx. It was written and directed by Nicholas Briggs. I'm very pleased Nick Briggs said 'yes' to doing this multi-Doctor anniversary special.
This story was released in 3 versions - a standard edition; a limited edition and a vinyl edition. I bought the limited Edition since it had more features and I didn't have a vinyl record player.
So far, I've had my limited edition signed by Nicholas Briggs; Peter Davison; Colin Baker; Sylvester McCoy; Louise Jameson; Sarah Sutton; Sophie Aldred; John Dorney and Tim Treloar.
The limited edition is presented as a lavish booklet containing CIA Time Lords report about the story and amazing group photos of the Doctors and companions inside. Colin, Sylvester, Louise, Sarah and Sophie have signed the group photos inside the booklet for me which I'm happy about.
The story starts with the Eighth Doctor and Charley (Paul McGann and India Fisher). Hearing Paul and India as the Doctor and Charley was superb and it feels right they should be together since the Eighth Doctor adventures in Big Finish featured Charley from the start.
The Eighth Doctor and Charley discover the mystery first in connection with Earth, 1963. But they end up on a war-like landscape with strange flower-like creatures and funny robots. They soon bump into the Fourth Doctor and Leela who share the adventure with them.
I was pleased that Tom Baker wanted to do a multi-Doctor adventure as the Fourth Doctor, making up for his absence in previous anniversary specials. It was great to hear him joined by his companion Leela (Louise Jameson) who's equally fiery in this adventure.
The Fourth Doctor and Leela make their appearance when Charley appears in their TARDIS. I like Charley's first meeting with them and Leela saying 'Charlotte' is a strong name'. I also like the Fourth and Eighth Doctors working together as it sounds so unreal and amazing.
The Fifth Doctor and Nyssa (Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton) are my favourite part of the story, for obvious reasons. It's really good that Sarah is part of the 50th anniversary through Big Finish since she (and other classic companions) wasn't going to get a look in in the actual anniversary special.
The adventure with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa is pivotal, as they solve a mystery with Bob Dovie at his house in 1963. I like it when Nyssa gets to be a 'police sergeant' by the Doctor. They discover the dolls' house and see Bob Dovie's wife and kids inside, realising it's the Master's work.
I was a joy to hear the Sixth Doctor and Peri (Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant) together. Colin is unfortunate as he didn't get his 10-year in the TV series, but has done plenty of audios with the Doctor. So it's great to hear him take part in Big Finish's anniversary special with Peri beside him.
I like it when Colin's Doctor gets to save the day when discovering the Time Lords and bringing all the Doctors together. I also like it when the Sixth Doctor and Peri meet up with the Seventh Doctor and Ace and the two Doctors and companions work together as a team.
The Seventh Doctor and Ace (Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred) are great together in this adventure. Sylvester and Sophie have had more adventures as the Doctor and Ace through Big Finish and it's great they get to celebrate that in this anniversary special.
I like it when they're searching around a walled area and Ace uses her Nitro-9 again which was exciting to listen to. Things get tense when Ace (and the other companions) gets erased and the Seventh Doctor gets into the TARDIS receiving contact from the first three Doctors.
Surprisingly, the first three Doctors make an appearance in this anniversary special. The First Doctor is voiced by William Russell and the Second Doctor by Frazer Hines, who have both done interpretations of their Doctors in 'The Lost Stories'. The Third Doctor is voiced by Tim Treloar.
Geoffrey Beavers delivers a superb performance as Master, the villain of this adventure. This is the decayed Master between 'The Deadly Assassin' and 'The Keeper of Traken'. I got a chill went down my spine when Nyssa discovering it's Master before he came to Traken.
John Dorney plays Bob Dovie in this adventure, and I'm sure he's very pleased to be part of the 50th anniversary of 'Doctor Who' through Big Finish. Bob is the catalyst of this crisis with the Doctors and says something significant about something which to him 'is just impossible'.
There are lots of cameos from companions including Carole Ann Ford, William Russell; Maureen O'Brien; Peter Purves; Jean Marsh; Anneke Wills; Frazer Hines; Wendy Padbury; Katy Manning; Janet Fielding and Mark Strickson. These cameos appear as a sequence in the TARDIS with Charley.
I really enjoyed it when all the Doctors met up and worked together. Hearing Tom, Peter, Colin, Sylvester and Paul in the same scene was extraordinary. Also when Tom and Paul's Doctors distract the Master as Peter, Colin and Sylvester's Doctors sort out Bob Dovie was exciting.
I wish though that the companions had a bigger part to play in the story as they were erased by the Master. I would have liked Leela, Nyssa, Peri, Ace and Charley interacting with each other and calming the Doctors down, but this is a minor complaint.
I enjoyed how the story ends with the eight Doctors, having solved the crisis, going to see Bob Dovie at his house to check he's alright. Bob Dovie is really rattled by the point the Eighth Doctor and Charley as he and his family are trying to get some sleep.
'The Light At The End' is a fantastic audio adventure to celebrate 50 years of 'Doctor Who' and I'm very pleased I listened to it in the car with my parents to Chichester. It features everything I love about the classic series of 'Doctor Who' including my favourite Doctors and companions.
The next story for the Eighth Doctor and Charley is 'Enemy Aliens'.
DISC 3 - THE MAKING OF 'THE LIGHT AT THE END'
I enjoyed listening to the making-of documentary on Disc 3 of this limited edition of 'The Light At The End' as it features plenty of interviews of classic 'Doctor Who' stars.
This documentary looks into how writer/director Nick Briggs and producer David Richardson came up with this multi-Doctor story for the 50th anniversary and assembling a galaxy cast of stars.
As well as Nick Briggs and David Richardson, there are interviews with the Doctors and companions. It's a shame not everyone worked together in the same room as some worked separately.
The Doctors interviewed include Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann. I enjoyed hearing the comments made by the actors especially when they talk about anniversary postage stamps and Sylvester mentioning playing Radagast the Brown in 'The Hobbit'.
I delighted to hear the companions interviewed including Louise Jameson, Sarah Sutton, Nicola Bryant, Sophie Aldred and India Fisher. I like how they mention reflecting on their time in the TV series and being grateful to Big Finish to still be carrying on in 'Doctor Who'.
I met Sarah, Louise, Sophie and Colin in Fareham before Christmas 2014 when they signed the CD booklet for me. I chatted to them about the 50th anniversary in general and 'The Day of the Doctor'.
The documentary also interviews William Russell; Frazer Hines; Carole Ann Ford; Anneke Wills and Tim Treloar who played the earlier Doctors and companions. There's also Geoffrey Beevers; John Dorney; Oliver Hume (who played Straxus) and composer/sound designer Jamie Robertson.
DISC 4 - THIS IS BIG FINISH
This is another good documentary with Big Finish on Disc 4 that celebrates 'Doctor Who's 50th anniversary by looking into the achievements Big Finish in 2013 and beyond.
Nick Briggs and David Richardson get interviewed as well as interviews with the classic Doctors; companions and many more who have shared in the success of Big Finish.
The Doctors include Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann interviewed in this documentary. I like how they reflect on their time in the TV series and how Big Finish has made an impact on their lives by carrying on 'Doctor Who' for them.
Many companions get interviewed including William Russell; Carole Ann Ford; Anneke Wills; Frazer Hines; Louise Jameson, Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding; Nicola Bryant, Sophie Aldred and India Fisher. Equally they reflect on their involvement in 'Doctor Who' and their delight with Big Finish.
I enjoyed listening Sarah's comments about Nyssa having an extended history in Big Finish compared to the TV series. I also enjoyed Sophie mentioning using 'a baseball bat' to beat up a Dalek; and the complications of Sylvester working on 'The Hobbit' and 'Doctor Who' at the same time.
The documentary also looks into the successes of many Big Finish audios including the Klein stories; the spin-offs such as 'Jago and Litefoot', 'Counter-Measures' and 'Vienna'; and mentioning the upcoming box sets such as 'Philip Hinchcliffe Presents' and 'The Fifth Doctor Box Set'.
There are interviews with Tracey Childs (Elizabeth Klien); Geoffrey Beevers (the Master); Terry Molloy (Davros); producer Phillip Hinchcliffe of the Tom Baker era and script editor Alan Barnes.
DISC 5 - 'THE REVENANTS'
This is a bonus companion chronicle adventure featured on Disc 5.
I listened to this story on the way back home from my family weekend in Chichester. It was really nice listening to it after enjoyed the previous 50th anniversary celebrations of 'Doctor Who'.
This story was originally released with an issue of 'Doctor Who Magazine' in 2012. Now fans can enjoy it with this limited edition of 'The Light At The End.'
This is a First Doctor companion chronicle by Ian Potter starring William Russell as Ian. It features the First Doctor with Ian and Barbara and is set right after 'The Dalek Invasion Of Earth'. It feels right that this bonus adventure should be included in a 50th anniversary collector's edition as this.
'The Revenants' is a story about an older Ian returning to the Orkney Islands in Scotland in 2012. He meets a girl called Jeannie and tells her about an adventure he had with the Doctor and Barbara. He recalls and tells his adventure set in 1956 all those years ago.
This was a somewhat relaxing and entertaining experience. I wouldn't rate it highly as a 'Doctor Who' story but it's not bad. The action and pace seems slow in places, but I enjoyed the murky atmosphere of the Orkney Islands described by Ian and felt the marshy lands under my feet.
William Russell performs really well as Ian as well as the Doctor and Barbara. I like Ian's sense of nostalgia when he reflects back on his adventure in 1956. I also like Ian's relationship with Barbara, especially that moment when they consider staying and living seven years before getting to 1963.
I enjoyed William's interpretation of the First Doctor. It's not as good as Peter Purves' version, but the crotchety nature of the character is still there. I like that moment when it turns out the Wissfornjarl happens to be the Doctor at the end of Episode One.
Lots of references are made to previous adventure with the Doctor, Ian and Barbara. Most particularly is reference made to Susan's departure in 'The Dalek Invasion of Earth' and the Doctor is still recovering missing his granddaughter after locking her out of the TARDIS.
William Russell is joined by Sharon Small who plays both Janet and Jeannie in this story. I like the Scottish tones of Sharon's voice and she plays both characters from two different time periods extremely well balancing her voice and performances in each one.
Jeannie is someone who meets an older Ian and becomes intrigued by this adventure he had in 1956. Janet is a character the Doctor, Ian and Barbara meet in 1956 who is a witch and she believes the Doctor to be the Wissfornjarl and knows something about the strange Marsh-Wraiths.
I did find the Marsh-Wraiths slightly disappointing. It's not the sound design was terrible, but for me they weren't realised enough and didn't seem to have a huge impact of the story. I did like the Doctor's confrontation towards them in the second episode of the story.
'The Revenants' has been an enjoyable story to listen to. It's a nice bonus adventure to add to the 50th anniversary celebrations. I wouldn't consider it the greatest story I've listened to, but I enjoyed hearing William Russell as Ian narrating an adventure he had with the Doctor all those years ago.
The next story for the First Doctor, Ian and Barbara is 'The Rescue'.
This is a superb collector's edition from Big Finish that is worthy to celebrate 50 years of 'Doctor Who'. This and 'The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot' are, for me, the best anniversary specials for 'Doctor Who's 50th. I highly recommend 'The Light At The End' to anyone that loves this show as I do.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
`The Light at the End' is a fabulous multi-Doctor adventure, an exciting, creative, complex and immensely satisfying audio `movie for the mind', filled with familiar voices from half a century of travels in Space and Time. An outstanding story in its own right and a 50th anniversary treat for classic-series fans, it really couldn't get much better than this. 5*
This reviews the 5 CD Limited Edition which includes two audio documentaries and a bonus adventure from the Companion Chronicles. It's available (2014/15) for just about a tenner more than the Standard Edition from some sellers and well worth getting; I've reviewed the Limited Edition package and extras after the story review so skip to the end if you just want to see that part.
CDs 1 and 2: `The Light at the End'
According to the `Making of' audio documentary (on CD 3 of the Limited Edition), originally there was no multi-Doctor audio adventure planned for the 50th anniversary. When the idea was accepted, after encouragement from various people including several `Doctors', Nicholas Briggs then wrote and directed what in my opinion ranks as a true classic. It's presented as a two-parter in two episodes of an hour each, with the essential cliffhanger! The many classic-series resonances and references throughout the story are both clear and relevant to the plot.
*** This review contains very mild spoilers, but little you wouldn't guess from a glance at the cast list and the back of the packaging. If you want to keep the story entirely `fresh', then please stop reading now and buy it! Preferably, immerse yourself into this epic with headphones and avoid interruptions, because there's a lot to take in! Be prepared to get considerably (and enjoyably) confused the first time you listen - it all becomes clear in the end.
It's a superb tale of Time and the TARDIS, an adventure that could only happen to the Doctor and could only make sense if the timelines of all eight classic Doctors were folded together into the plot as they are. Shifting from a November afternoon in England, 1963, to the strangest reaches of Time and Space, the tale sees our timeless hero once again confronted by his equal and opposite - the Master, played to silky, sinister perfection by Geoffrey Beevers.
Combining multiple Doctors into a single story was always going to be a challenge, but it's done brilliantly, with the strengths of each incarnation's personality perfectly used in the plot. Which Doctors were paired up depended on logistics, with the writing fitted around that (again, from the `Making of' CD), but it all works so well you would never guess.
Tom Baker's Fourth and Paul McGann's Eighth Doctors make a great pairing, two cosmic adventurers combining to give the Master a problem he should have foreseen. If he could never outthink a single Doctor, then what chance against two - or eight? Paul McGann has of course played his Doctor mostly on audio and is in his element once again. The wonderful voice of Tom Baker, still offering jelly-babies at improbable moments, made the decades fall away for this 1970s `Doctor Who' fan - but then, "what is Time to a Time Lord?"!
Peter Davison's Fifth Doctor displays all the intelligent charm and sensitivity we expect as he tries to help Bob Dovie (John Dorney), an ordinary human caught in an extraordinary moment in time - Saturday November 23rd 1963 at just after five o'clock ... Sensitivity isn't perhaps the first attribute you'd assign to the Sixth Doctor (!) and his incarnation is perfectly used here with Colin Baker on top form, as he bulldozes his way through the covert chicanery behind all their problems. Listening to Peter Davison and Colin Baker was a delight and as if Time had stood still; they might have just stepped out of the TARDIS from mid-season in the 1980s.
Sylvester McCoy is definitely the thoughtful, late-version Seventh Doctor here as he adventures with Ace then joins forces first with the Sixth and later also the Fifth Doctors in some very enjoyable sequences, and understands the explanation of the Light at the End - with some help from three more of his former selves, because this story includes all of them ...
If five Doctors in one adventure weren't spectacular enough, this script goes the whole way! It's done very cleverly and the three earliest incarnations are far more than just bystanders, working as a trio throughout the story, first glimpsed through the mists of Time then later becoming clearer and playing a key role in the plot. All three early Doctors are (of necessity) slightly `elsewhere' in Time throughout the story and this effect is one part of the audio that benefits from listening with headphones for a suitably immersive experience.
William Hartnell's First Doctor is very well played by William Russell (also briefly as his own original character, Ian) and in a nice touch is still undoubtedly the `chairman' when meeting his later incarnations. Patrick Troughton's Second Doctor is raised with uncanny accuracy by Frazer Hines (also in a brief cameo as Jamie) and characteristically co-irritates with the Third Doctor, with Jon Pertwee's splendid incarnation played here by Tim Treloar. Jon Pertwee is *my* Doctor so I was unsure about hearing another actor in his role, but the performance is good with an appropriately rich English voice ("good grief!"). Perhaps a slightly faster speaking pace would have helped this characterisation, but overall I thought it was a great success to have The Three Doctors `together' again.
Every Doctor needs a companion, so it was a surprise to learn that initially no companions were to be included, but happily, in the finished production they are, and each written appropriately. Louise Jameson brings Leela's cleverness, instinct and readiness for action to help the Fourth Doctor in some dangerous moments, while the Fifth Doctor's delicate task on Earth is aided by Sarah Sutton's intelligent, caring Nyssa as they experience the most chilling moment of the whole story. The Sixth Doctor and Nicola Bryant's Peri are still amiably sparring their way through the Vortex after all these years!, while in a sticky situation for the Seventh Doctor, who better to help than Ace, as ever "not carrying" her home-made arsenal and with some great lines including a concise pen-portrait of the other seven Doctors, perfectly played by Sophie Aldred as if no time had passed since 1989.
The Eighth Doctor as cosmic wanderer is ably companioned by Charley Pollard, out for adventure as usual. She certainly finds it when India Fisher has a great scene where Charley briefly `meets' a host of former Doctors and companions, seen hazily through shifting Time. It's very cleverly written with each tiny cameo perfect for every companion, from Ian and Susan to Turlough and Tegan.
Jamie Robertson's sound design and music create an epic scale; the experience is like listening to a `Doctor Who' movie that could never be made visually, without an actual TARDIS to bring the actors from their own `Doctor Who' moments across five decades. After all the high drama and danger, after (of course) the Doctors are ingeniously victorious once again, we come down to Earth for a delightfully small-scale, humorous ending that even has time to name-check one of the most popular and sadly missed companions, rounding off a superb production in style.
`The Three Doctors' and `The Five Doctors' were anniversary high points I've never forgotten seeing for the first time. This adventure is in the same class and it's an essential buy.
Five stars of course - though I'd like to give it Eight, one per Doctor! Thanks for reading.
CD 3: Audio Documentary `The Making of `The Light at the End''
An entertaining `Making of' audio with all the contributors you'd hope for. It was interesting to learn how this superb story, which now seems the obvious way to celebrate the 50th anniversary on audio, was only arrived at by degrees as the essential elements (multiple Doctors, the companions, the companion `flashback' sequence) were added. A great final result though, which sounds just as if it had all been planned right from the start.
CD 4: Audio Documentary `This is Big Finish'
As well as `Big Finish' talking about the work of their company, this audio documentary includes enjoyable comments from many of the actors who play the companions seen only as `visions' in `The Light at the End', looking back not only on this production but right back to the beginning of `Doctor Who' with William Russell and Carole Ann Ford. The final section on the new contributions of Philip Hinchcliffe to the world of `Doctor Who' audio is also very interesting, especially for those who grew up enjoying the splendid `Gothic' seasons he created with Robert Holmes.
CD 5: The Companion Chronicles: `The Revenants'
(Originally released with an edition of DWM; if you don't have it then it's another excellent reason to consider buying the Limited Edition package.)
Beyond the northern rim of Scotland lie the beautiful isles of Orkney, strewn with standing stones and relics that were already ancient when the Vikings sailed from over the sea. Now, another traveller is returning over the sea to Orkney, a man with tales to tell stranger than any Celtic legend or Viking saga, because he is Ian Chesterton and many years ago he sailed in an alien Ship through Space and Time ...
William Russell recreates his role as Ian, narrates and also voices fellow companion Barbara and does a convincing portrayal of the First Doctor. His `hmmm?' made me almost see William Hartnell, head back, eyebrows raised, clutching his lapels! Sharon Small plays two different women of Orkney, one from the present and one from half a century ago but in some ways from a far earlier time. Their excellent performances, together with the atmospheric sound and music and Ian Potter's clever writing, bring to life a story that is very faithful to its era, with a clear emphasis on `science' from Ian and the Doctor as they face a landscape of mystery and a local legend becoming reality, with a couple of great twists at the end.
This is the first of the `Companion Chronicles' I've heard, and it certainly won't be the last. It's presented as two half-hour episodes and is set in the timeline shortly after Susan left the TARDIS following victory over the Dalek invasion of Earth.
Finally, the packaging of the Limited Edition is excellent, done as a small-format hardback book in a similarly well made hardback slip case. As well as the five CDs, cast lists, etc. the full-colour book also contains several pages written as if a report to the High Council on Gallifrey about this strange incident. It would serve as a brief introduction to the Classic Doctors for any who need one and is well done, but one of the illustrations does contain a *spoiler*, so leave reading it until you have enjoyed the show!
Excellent modern group photographs of the five `Doctors' and five `companions' complete the collection, along with a portrait gallery of all the `companions' who appear as cameos - plus `the Master' of course.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This 2-cd audio story features a fairly rare thing – all eight of the Doctors taking part in an audio story. Yes, the first three Doctors are also present – voiced admirably by William Russell, Frazer Hines and Tim Treloar respectively. But the main roles in the story are taken by the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors and their companions – Leela, Nyssa, Peri, Ace and Charley. Also heard through the story are other companions – Susan, Ian, Steven, Vicki, Sara, Polly, Jamie, Zoe, Jo, Tegan and Turlough. The release of this story coincides obviously with the 50th anniversary and I think it’s really nice that Big Finish have been able to put something together that really strongly features the first eight Doctors; the more current Doctors have been well served in tv specials, and this story really highlights the huge contribution of the earlier Doctors. And it does it very well. It’s full of in-jokes for the avid Doctor Who fan (which is not to say that anyone not so familiar with earlier Doctor Who material will not understand or appreciate it, because they most certainly would), the most apparent being the significance (or not!) of November 23rd 1963 at slightly after 5 p.m.
The story begins quite cryptically with the Master (it is clearly him, as his voice is totally recognisable; played perfectly as always by Geoffrey Beevers) makes a choice. Are you sure? the other voice says. Oh yes, the Master is sure. But we, as listeners, are left wondering what is he sure about and what has he chosen? Evidently he believes it bodes ill for the Doctor, but we have to wait a while to find out exactly how. Even when we think we might know, some way through the story, it really has a lot more layers left to unfold before we find out the whole series of events and plans. And mention has to be made of John Dorney playing poor Bob Dovie brilliantly – I loved his emoting at the end!
This is brilliant stuff; the Doctors are all played perfectly. While the first three Doctors are often heard in the distance, or not materialising quite fully so their voices are somewhat in the background, the other Doctors, played perfectly by Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann really get to play their parts. Their roles are all word- and character-perfect I think. The Fourth Doctor is larger than life, the Fifth is worried, the Sixth brash, the Seventh mysterious and the Eighth trying to do the right thing. But of course they’re all more than just specific character traits that we can readily identify; they each carry the whole of the Doctor ethos with them, and bring it all to the table in this multi-layered, multi-cast, broad story of times, events, people (important and not so important) and November 23rd 1963 on Earth. Absolutely recommended – if you buy only one Doctor Who audio cd this year I think it would best be this one.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 May 2014
It's Doctor Who. It's Big Finish. It's a celebration of 50 years. It's got Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy & Paul McGann. It's got a host of companions. It's got Geoffrey Beevers as The Master. It's got the TARDIS. It's written & directed by Nicholas Briggs. It's a cracking story. It's got lots of Extras. It comes in special Limited Edition packaging...WHATS NOT TO LIKE?