2007 saw the launch of the Big Finish Eighth Doctor Adventures staring with the two parter – Blood of the Daleks. In 2011 this all came to an end so now I am in the position of being able to look at Season 1 with a perspective across all four series.
Update 2019: of course this ignores Lucie’s return in two Short Trips and the 2019 boxset. More on those elsewhere.
The Story Arc
For me this series breaks into three stages that overall give one wonderful story arc which doesn’t dominate though we the listener get clues that the main characters do not. For the sake of labels I have called the stages:
- Hello Lucie
- Love and Other Mysteries
- Big but not the Finish
What follows is my lightning tour round the episodes.
Blood of the Daleks Pts 1 & 2 by Steve Lyons: the story that was nearly called Red Rocket Rising [sic!] which IMHO is a much better title begins with our heroine literally dropping into the TARDIS. I review it here in some depth; for the purposes of this piece it provides an immediate setting with Lucie foisted on the Doctor, Daleks, tragedy and the realisation that they are stuck with each other but just maybe can find some mutual regard (as though we ever thought otherwise!).
Love and Other Mysteries
The Horror of Glam Rock by Paul Magrs: little did we know it but this would be the start of the Auntie Pat Trilogy which would go via The Zygon who fell to Earth and Death in Blackpool. This in fact becomes part of the backbone of the relationship between Lucie and the Doctor. Not only does this have a retro motorway services, more 70s rock stars than you can shake two sticks at and Auntie Pat herself working in the kitchen but it also has a wonderful Bernard Cribbins performance and a brilliantly dry performance from Una Stubbs.
A joy from start to finish
Immortal Beloved by Jonathan Clements: moving away from the family and the love Lucie has her aunt, we move to a tale of an alien world, life-extending technology, clones and again love. I do think this is a well realised story, I did though continuously have deja vu when listening to it though have never placed why. Apart from my vague misgivings this is well paced and even if viewed as a stand alone story well executed and attention grabbing
Phobos by Eddie Robson: we will in series 4 get the Ice Warrior tale Deimos. Here we have a holiday resort on the Martian moon mixed with a drop of Headhunter and some sense of what is in the Doctor’s mind when he shares his fears with the alien entity. This with Nerys Hughes, an appearance from Jake McGann (more of him later) and a soundscape that really conveyed the setting to me.
Not everyone’s cup of tea but I really like this one
No More Lies by Paul Sutton: and another love story hidden inside a time loop and a story told from part way through. We also have the pairing of Nigel Havers and Julia McKenzie. Despite all this I still can’t make my mind up about this story though there are many good scenes with various characters in the household as the time loop starts to unravel. This is of course then topped up the kidnap of Lucie by the Headhunter!
Big but not the Finish
Human Resources Pts 1 & 2 by Eddie Robson: so the arc that begins with Daleks ends with Cybermen. Here we get the back-story to Lucie’s sequestration aboard the TARDIS – the time-lords mistook her for her friend Karen and wanted to keep her away from possibly changing human history. Meanwhile Lucie wakes up from her kidnapping working in Telford in an office not knowing that they are really operating giant war machines! The story runs at a pace and works better than it maybe sounds. I did however worry it was trying to do too much bur fortunately all ends well with Cybermen defeated, Lucie on-board the TARDIS and Karen working for the Headhunter. Roll on series 2! One other point to note is that Lucie here is clear that she hates the way Time Lords will be high-handed and decide what’s best for people – a point that is taken to its conclusion when we reach Death in Blackpool!
Summary (if one were needed)
Overall then Lucie Miller is great with the Doctor, the Headhunter is intriguing but her story ended (other stories are possible!) and we cover major foes and the one-disc format works. This was certainly a good platform to build the future series on.