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3.5 out of 5 stars
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3.5 out of 5 stars
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This is the 64th release in the Main Range issued by Big Finish. The story features the Eighth Doctor with his companions Charley (Charlotte Pollard) and C’rizz. Since the 52nd story (Scherzo), the Doctor and Charley have been trapped in the Divergent Universe, where they met C’rizz, a Eutermesan from the planet Bortresoye, who is now travelling with them.

The story wraps up the arc which began in the story previous to Scherzo, Zagreus. That story was a bit of an epic tale, which ran to nearly 4 hours, and which featured the Doctor struggling to resolve an issue with anti-time. Now, in The Next Life, that longer story arc, as well as the Divergent Universe story arc stands to be resolved in another epic tale, which runs to just over 3 hours.

The Tardis, seemingly out of control lands on an unknown planet. Charley meets up with her mother; but how can that be, as her mother is in the other Universe, and surely long-since dead? C’rizz awakens on the morning of his marriage to L’da; but how can that be, when he knows that L’da is dead, because he killed her? And the Doctor washes up on the beach, where he meets a woman named Perfection, whose husband Daqar Keep is bringing a mission to the local people. But here too danger threatens, as a young girl is missing, and who better to blame for her fate than the stranger who has just appeared?

This story is ultimately rather disappointing. Some of the fault of the experience lies in the characterisations. Charley is written here as a spoiled brat, who spends her time squabbling with the other spoiled brat, C’rizz. They fight, they sulk, they leave each other behind. The rest of the time, each of them is reminiscing, or reliving past experiences, catching up with people from their pasts. The Doctor seems to be just along for the ride for much of the story, and remains quite unengaged in what’s going on. There are silly jokes and awful puns aplenty from all these characters. None of this is very entertaining, enlightening or enlivening for the listener.

The other cast members try their best. Paul Darrow is, I thought, really good as Guidance; his ‘alien’ nature is well shown in the nuances of his voice and tone. In this, he does a much better job than Conrad Westmaas as C’rizz. Stephane Cornicard is brilliantly malevolent as Daqar Keep, and Anneke Wills does a valiant job in her rather unrewarding role as Lady Louisa Pollard. Don Warrington does his best with the rather uninspired script in his role as Rassilon. The rest of the cast were fairly unmemorable for me, including Daphne Ashbrook as Perfection, who seemed awfully miscast in this role.

Leaving that aside, and thinking about whether the story itself works as the end of the arc which started with Zagreus, and the arc within that of the Divergent Universe, the answer is, sadly not really. The story resolution was rather humdrum, given all the build-up over the last stories to it, and I was left wondering at the end, why we all even bothered. The Doctor himself, who you would think was the person most affected by all that had happened to him since Zagreus, seemed remarkably relaxed about it all, spending the last part of his time in the Divergent Universe telling Charley and C’rizz that they better behave themselves from now on, or they’d be sent to their rooms without supper (or something like that, I stopped listening somewhere along the way). The best bit of this story is the part right at the end, where things start to get more interesting in line for the next story, Terror Firma. Given the epic scale of the whole saga, and the 3 hour story which concludes it, it seems a shame also that we don’t even get any extras on the cd – no cast interviews, no inside stories, no ‘making of’. All rather a missed opportunity, I thought.
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on 27 March 2011
After an up and down season where the Doctor, Charley and K'Riss find themselves in a universe without time, I was really looking forward to this story. I hoped that it would tie up all of the loose ends and finally return the Tardis back to our regular time and space.
I can't fully review this story without giving away spoilers but it is sadly a pedestrian affair spread over 3 discs. A superb cast brings out the best of the story and listening to Paul Darrow is always a treat. Although an anti climax to the season, the end of this story certainly isn't. It is a great surprise and a final reminder that after all of the unpredictability of the timeless universe, things are going to be a lot more familiar from here on in, for better or worse.

Sadly I can only give this story 3 stars but of course it is a must listen if you need to know how the season ends.
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This is the 64th release in the Main Range issued by Big Finish. The story features the Eighth Doctor with his companions Charley (Charlotte Pollard) and C’rizz. Since the 52nd story (Scherzo), the Doctor and Charley have been trapped in the Divergent Universe, where they met C’rizz, a Eutermesan from the planet Bortresoye, who is now travelling with them.

The story wraps up the arc which began in the story previous to Scherzo, Zagreus. That story was a bit of an epic tale, which ran to nearly 4 hours, and which featured the Doctor struggling to resolve an issue with anti-time. Now, in The Next Life, that longer story arc, as well as the Divergent Universe story arc stands to be resolved in another epic tale, which runs to just over 3 hours.

The Tardis, seemingly out of control lands on an unknown planet. Charley meets up with her mother; but how can that be, as her mother is in the other Universe, and surely long-since dead? C’rizz awakens on the morning of his marriage to L’da; but how can that be, when he knows that L’da is dead, because he killed her? And the Doctor washes up on the beach, where he meets a woman named Perfection, whose husband Daqar Keep is bringing a mission to the local people. But here too danger threatens, as a young girl is missing, and who better to blame for her fate than the stranger who has just appeared?

This story is ultimately rather disappointing. Some of the fault of the experience lies in the characterisations. Charley is written here as a spoiled brat, who spends her time squabbling with the other spoiled brat, C’rizz. They fight, they sulk, they leave each other behind. The rest of the time, each of them is reminiscing, or reliving past experiences, catching up with people from their pasts. The Doctor seems to be just along for the ride for much of the story, and remains quite unengaged in what’s going on. There are silly jokes and awful puns aplenty from all these characters. None of this is very entertaining, enlightening or enlivening for the listener.

The other cast members try their best. Paul Darrow is, I thought, really good as Guidance; his ‘alien’ nature is well shown in the nuances of his voice and tone. In this, he does a much better job than Conrad Westmaas as C’rizz. Stephane Cornicard is brilliantly malevolent as Daqar Keep, and Anneke Wills does a valiant job in her rather unrewarding role as Lady Louisa Pollard. Don Warrington does his best with the rather uninspired script in his role as Rassilon. The rest of the cast were fairly unmemorable for me, including Daphne Ashbrook as Perfection, who seemed awfully miscast in this role.

Leaving that aside, and thinking about whether the story itself works as the end of the arc which started with Zagreus, and the arc within that of the Divergent Universe, the answer is, sadly not really. The story resolution was rather humdrum, given all the build-up over the last stories to it, and I was left wondering at the end, why we all even bothered. The Doctor himself, who you would think was the person most affected by all that had happened to him since Zagreus, seemed remarkably relaxed about it all, spending the last part of his time in the Divergent Universe telling Charley and C’rizz that they better behave themselves from now on, or they’d be sent to their rooms without supper (or something like that, I stopped listening somewhere along the way). The best bit of this story is the part right at the end, where things start to get more interesting in line for the next story, Terror Firma. Given the epic scale of the whole saga, and the 3 hour story which concludes it, it seems a shame also that we don’t even get any extras on the cd – no cast interviews, no inside stories, no ‘making of’. All rather a missed opportunity, I thought.
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on 5 September 2007
Zagreus was quite confusing and hard to understand as the opening of the Paul Mcgann Divergence set of stories, and the only one i gave a lower mark. But that is not so with the end.

The Next Life is brilliant and entertaining right from the word go. Don Warrington especially gives a menacing performance as Rassilon, and Anneke Wills is great as Lady Louisa Pollard. Paul Mcgann and Daphne Ashbrook make such a good team. They were great together on the movie and they are even better here.

The plot is more easy to go along with and all the characters are believable this time round. Zagreus was a lumpy and wierd production, but im glad to say the end to the divergence series isnt at all as bland as the first outing. A great epis end to a great series. Now its back to our universe at last....
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on 27 May 2005
To be honest i was looking forwards to this not because of the plot or the cover or the appearance of Rassilon, or for Daphne Ashbrook, or even for Paul Darrow (though that was a minor selling point) but because it was to finally tie up all the loose ends of the overall disapointing Divergent Universe saga. As much as i enjoyed one or two of the audios, i thought as a whole it was inferior to the rest of McGann's dramas.
The actors are all great - McGann, Ashbrook, and Darrow especially - and the sound effects, including giant killer crabs (!) and tsunamis (!) are all very well done, but overall, well the plot just seems overdrawn. There is a massive information dump near the end just to tie up plot threads in one fell swoop, and the character of Daqar Keep (great name) is so clouded by plot twists that come the end of the drama you're not really sure whats going on. Only the final moments when everything crashes to a climax made me satisfied...and unfortunately for the wrong reasons...because its all finished and we can get back to the stand alone episodes which are much better. The cliffhanger is somewhat cliche and probably only thrown in because Zagreus ended the season with a spectacular cliffhanger all those audios before. However, it was not without some enjoyment that i listened - at not one point did i think of giving up, the plot still pulled me along at an acceptable pace - and so it sits at an average score. I must say, however, this is a necessary listen if you've been following the arc.
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on 21 October 2010
Doctor Who has often shirked one rather obvious consequence of travel in the Tardis: the sheer amount of death that is encountered. Even in the revived TV version, death is as often unremarked as it is unremarkable. Departing companions tend to dwell on how much fun they had, cheerfully ignoring how many people they had witnessed exterminated first hand.

With a few strokes of the pen, Alan Barnes and Gary Russell manage to redress the balance in this regard in what is one of the finest soliloquys the franchise has ever produced: Charley's "life and death on such a scale" speech on disc one of 'The Next Life'. Beautifully delivered and backed by Russell Stone's exceptional music from 'Faith Stealer', it is one of the most moving few minutes of Doctor Who I know of.

There is much else to admire: Paul McGann is (again) brilliant (and his banter with TV movie sparring partner Daphne Ashbrook is rather special), Stephane Cornicard makes for a marvellous villain and ERS do a wonderful job with the sound design, as well as mixing and matching music from previous stories to great effect. Charley revisiting the events prior to 'Storm Warning' is a lovely touch too, as is The Doctor's brinkmanship at the very end. So why not the full five stars?

'The Next Life' is let down by its tedious tying up of C'rizz's non-story. Conrad Westmaas does his best to fight through his miscasting, without ever succeeding, while Paul Darrow (as his dad) aims for 'sinister' but merely ends up with 'dreary'. One is constantly reminded that C'rizz's being there at all was a huge miscalculation and that time spent on fleshing out his back story was a narrative dead end.

Don't get me wrong: 'The Next Life' is really worth the money. Another epic, yes, and by no means a bad one, as long as one is prepared to put up with periodic lapses into the ordinary; its great moments, of which there are many, are enough to make it worth your while.
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on 7 January 2005
With the arrival of the 9th Doctor on TV shortly, the Big Finish team had to figure out a way to get the 8th Doctor out of the Divergence's universe and back into ours, ready for his invetiable regeneration and I was slightly concerned that this would mean rushing the conclusion of this mini-arc but I was pleasantly surprised by The Next Life as it feels like a natural end and not something they made up as they went along.
When the TARDIS crashlands on a blue planet, the Doctor finds himself partnered with an unusual woman and on the run for his life whilst companions Charley and C'Rizz fall into the hands of someone very familiar to them.
Stretched over 3 discs and nearly 4 hours long I expected some padding but for once there is enough material to fill up the vast running time and the pace never flags for a second with surprises, shocks, revelations and plot twists coming thick and fast to keep the listener totally engrossed in what is a highly engaging story in which both the regular and guest cast are well served.
Highly recommended - especially as there's a totally awesome cliffhanger that ends the final part of the story but I'm not saying anymore and you shouldn't leap ahead to the end because that will only spoil the excellent surprise!
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on 1 August 2007
"'All things must die.'
"Washed up on the sandy shores of a paradise island, a wild-eyed shipwreck survivor is rescued by the wife of Daqar Keep, the richest man in the galaxy.
"Her name's Perfection. He's the Doctor. Together, they face a journey into the dark heart of this mysterious island, to discover the deepest secrets of this timeless cosmos. That's if giant crabs, killer crocodiles and murderous natives don't get them first.
"Meanwhile, fellow travellers Charley and C'rizz have their own ordeal to endure, in the grip of the Doctor's most dangerous rival.
"And in a universe that's facing extinction, even the best of friends may soon become enemies...
"This life is almost over. Not everyone will make it to the next."

"The Next Life", by Alan Barnes and Gary Russell, was always going to be convoluted, with the arrival of the new TV series necessitating Big Finish's early mothballing of the season format in which their Eighth Doctor audio adventures had hitherto been presented, and hence requiring the Doctor and friends to escape from the exile in the Divergent Universe and resume more normal adventures somewhat ahead of the intended schedule. As such, "The Next Life" runs to six half-hour episodes rather than the usual four.
"The Next Life" is also a sprawling tale, utterly mired in the Rassilon / Anti-Time storyline introduced in "Neverland" and "Zagreus", which also tries to be a self-contained adventure in its own right and to explore the background and motivations of companions Charley and C'rizz in more detail. It's a continuity overload and, to fully comprehend it, one must have taken on board a great deal of information from "Neverland", "Zagreus" and the intervening two seasons set in the Divergent Universe. Unfortunately I hadn't remembered quite as much as perhaps I should have done, with the result that I'd really lost track of what Rassilon was up to in the Divergent Universe, why he wanted to escape and what exactly would be so bad about his doing so. This rendered the final episodes of "The Next Life" somewhat unsatisfactory.
The more self-contained adventure stuff is quite fun, with Paul McGann and Daphne Ashbrook (as Perfection) sparring and sparking in quite an entertaining fashion as they flee from a hunting party. Paul Darrow (as seen in Timelash) is menacing in an amusing sort of way as Guidance, who claims to be C'rizz's "Father", although whether in a biological or purely religious sense I am uncertain, and begins to drive the vulnerable companion off the rails. Charley, meanwhile, has a vision of her mother, with a great performance by Who veteran Anneke Wills as Lady Louisa Pollard. However, the bigger story, as with much of the Divergent Universe arc and "Zagreus" before it, is so over-complicated and consequently poorly executed that "The Next Life" never really reaches for greatness.
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on 16 November 2007
Out of all the audio Doctors The Eighth seems to be the worst served in terms of stories. The most successful are those that marry sinister characters and eerie locations with The Doctor separated from his companions; a classic trick that the television series has used on and off for over forty years. Whilst this adventure falls into the above category, it isn't as great as it could be; the whole thing actually feels quite bloated and pompous and the characters mainly seem far too preoccupied with their own problems and too lacking in any real purpose. The Doctor, too, seems poorly drawn - weak puns and fey comments abound, whilst the so-called 'story-arc' lacks interest and any real drama.
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on 4 July 2005
This story is the best divergent story.it begins with the tardis crasing in to a moon.the docor is ship recked and ceres is with his wife lyda and charly with her mother. any way don`t want to spolil the syory so i`ll just say that there is twist at the end somthing to do with davros
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