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5.0 out of 5 stars Four adventures about '100' with the Doctor and Evelyn, 27 Jun 2013
This review is from: Doctor Who: 100 (Dr Who Big Finish) (Audio CD)
A delicious delight of Doctor Who with Colin Baker's Doctor and his companion Dr Evelyn Smythe played by Maggie Stables.

Following the success of 'Circular Time' (my favourite Doctor Who audio, as I've said many times before), Big Finish decided to do another anthology series of adventures to celebrate 100 releases of Doctor Who since 1999.

With four stories on 2 discs, written each by stupendous writers and directed by the multi-talented Nicholas Briggs (who's now Big Finish's executive producer as well as the voice of the Daleks), this has got to be a Doctor Who audio you don't want to miss.

As before with a 'theme of seasons' in 'Circular Time', the theme running through each of the four stories is something to do with the number '100'.

`100' is the first Doctor Who audio I first encountered Evelyn Smythe, travelling companion to the Doctor. I actually found it rather nice to listen to an older travelling companion compared to the young ones you get with the Doctor, and Evelyn certainly has that `auntie' quality to her character. She's certainly a strong and reassured presence when teamed up with the Doctor, and Maggie Stables pulls off the part pretty well.

'100 BC'

The first of the four stories is `100 BC' written by Jacqueline Rayner. I became aware of Jacqueline Rayner from reading/listening to the Tenth Doctor story `The Stone Rose', and she certainly enjoys doing historical adventures. She's also the writer who started off Evelyn's TARDIS travels in her first story 'The Marian Conspiracy'.

This story is set in Ancient Rome, 100 BC and it's about the Doctor and Evelyn meeting Gaius Julius Caesar and his wife and having to save the flow of time by making sure their son - the future Roman emperor - gets to be born. It's a funny and whimsical tale, and it made me laugh when the Doctor and Evelyn bickered with one another and tried to avoid perverting the course of history. It's a gentle comedy between two characters who have been travelling together for some time reflecting on the adventures they've had together. `100 BC' also guest stars Will Thorp playing the young Caesar, who's well-known in Doctor Who circles for playing Toby in `The Impossible Planet'/'The Satan Pit' which I found and still find terrifying. It was really funny when the Doctor tried to bring Caesar and his wife together by offering a romantic dinner and Evelyn sabotaging his ever effort and Caesar reacting to it if not with a little annoyance.

'MY OWN PRIVATE WOLFGANG'

The second story is `My Own Private Wolfgang' by Robert Shearman. For me, Rob Shearman wrote the first Dalek story in the new series called 'Dalek'. I've had the pleasure of meeting him at a convention in Swansea 2011, and he signed the CD sleeve notes for `100' for me (as did Nicholas Briggs and Colin Baker). To me, Rob's a very clever guy with such wit and humour and has written some very popular Doctor Who audios such as 'The Chimes of Midnight' and 'Jubilee' (also with the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn).

`My Own Private Wolfgang' is a story about Mozart who has now approached his 100 birthday which is surprising since he died very young. And he wants to end it all and tried to shoot himself in the head - three times - during his last performance. The Doctor and Evelyn solve the mystery and discover the astonishing truth about Mozart's immortality. John Sessions plays Mozart in this story, who I know for playing Roland of Brittany in 'Castle of Fear'. He's really funny and witty in this story as Mozart, and it is a very clever and unusually funny tale by Rob Shearman. I especially like `the diddly dum bit in the middle' line at the beginning of the story, and found Rob's philosophy come through when Mozart answers the question what makes good art `as it's a matter of knowing when to stop - That is it. It's as a simple as that.' There's no theme music at the beginning and end of this tale, and I like it when it all seems to come to an abrupt e-

'BEDTIME STORY'

The third story is `Bedtime Story' by Joseph Lidster. I know Joe Lidster for writing the Torchwood episode `A Day In The Death' featuring Owen Harper's character, and also the brilliant Sixth Doctor and Peri story 'The Reaping' with the Cybermen. He has the knack for writing very strong and down-to-earth drama with some emotional maturity and scenes of chilling horror.

In this story, the Doctor and Evelyn visit a house where a family is mourning the loss of a father after attending a funeral. But all is not what it seems here, as something or someone wants this family to die one by one with the grandparents after a new baby grandchild is born. It involves telling a bedtime story and sending people off to sleep every `100' years. In this story again it guest stars Will Thorpe again as a `young Jacob' and Frank Finlay who plays an older Jacob narrating this story. It also features Susan Brown who also appeared in `Castle of Fear' as well as the whole Stockbridge trilogy with Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton, and appeared in 'Torchwood' - 'Children of Earth'. It also features Martha Cope who played the Controller in (see `Bad Wolf') with Christopher Eccelston. This story has a very spellbinding and chilling performance from Maggie Stables as Evelyn, but I'll let you find out for yourself when you come to it.

'100 DAYS OF THE DOCTOR'

The last story of this collection is `100 Days of the Doctor' by Paul Cornell. Paul is of course the writer responsible for `Circular Time', writing my favourite love story with Nyssa, and has written for the TV series with stories such as `Father's Day' and `Human Nature'/'The Family of Blood'. He's also written for the Virgin range of Doctor Who novels back in the 90s including `Love and War' and `Goth Opera'.

Paul Cornell writes for Colin's Doctor for the very first time in this story, and it's a nostalgic tale of all the Doctor's lives. It is a two-hander with Colin Baker and Maggie Stables who are only cast members in the story, apart from Nicholas Briggs who plays the Assassin at the very end. Essentially it's a story about the Doctor and Evelyn visiting all of the Doctor's lives, past, present and future in order to save himself from being assassinated and being infected with a deadly virus. It's a nice little story, although it would have worked great if we had guest cameos from some of the other Doctors and companions such as Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann, Nicola Bryant, Sophie Aldred, etc. But it's a nice little tale all the same and well played by Colin and Maggie.

There are some CD extras on this release. They are as follows. Firstly there's a trailer for the next Doctor Who release 'Absolution' featuring the Eighth Doctor with his companions Charley and C'rizz. It's at the beginning of the first disc on this CD release.

At the end of Disc One, there's some behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew such as Colin Baker, Nicholas Briggs, Will Thorp and Robert Shearman, focusing specifically on the first two stories `100 BC' and `My Own Private Wolfgang'. Then on Disc Two, there's more behind-the-scenes interviews focusing on `Bedtime Story' and `100 Days of the Doctor', with contributions again from Colin, Nick Briggs, Will Thorpe and Maggie Stables.

To conclude, `100' celebrates not only Big Finish but also as before with Circular Time the essence of Doctor Who with its various storytelling and wonderful characters. And since it features Colin Baker's Doctor, who's superb in these stories and was selected specifically for this release since he's regarded as the Big Finish Doctor, it goes to show how much more storytelling there is to tell in time and space. And I especially like four-episode anthology releases with their contained story-telling and variety of genres to tell.

Here's to `200'!
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 18 Oct 2013 23:58:23 BDT
Timelord007 says:
Hit & miss this one i do prefer four part storys myself.
Good review though.
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