Missy: Divorced, Beheaded, Regenerated by John Dorney (Big Finish, 2019) John Dorney’s first contribution to the range is an exuberant run-around that pits Missy against the Meddling Monk (a most welcome addition, played superbly by Rufus Hound). An overabundance of repartee makes for great fun yet leaves little room for dramatic substance.
Doctor Who: The Demon Rises by John Dorney (Big Finish, 2018) Continuing on from ‘The Mind Runners’, Dorney twists the plot from SF noir to (Doctor Who stylised) horror. The underlying concept is quite ghastly but the big confrontational dialogue again tends more towards exposition than drama. A slightly flat Ark in Space.
Doctor Who: The Mind Runners by John Dorney (Big Finish, 2018) Dorney engages in capable SF noir world-building while scripting lovely dialogue for Tom Baker and Louise Jameson (both of whom are in fine form). The story, however, is not self-contained, and its antagonists are in the usual advanced stages of expository megalomania.
The Diary of River Song: My Dinner with Andrew by John Dorney (Big Finish, 2018) A diverting timey-wimey story spoilt only by the cod-French maître d’ (British actor Jonathan Coote). Given modern-day cognizance of ethnic and cultural representation, is this casting choice any less offensive than John Bennett’s playing Li H’Sen Chang in The Talons of Weng-Chiang?
Jenny: The Doctor’s Daughter – Prisoner of the Ood by John Dorney (Big Finish, 2018) John Dorney is perhaps the best of Big Finish’s regular writers. Prisoner of the Ood has a conspicuous Doctor Who vibe (Russell T Davies era) and an intelligent script, showcasing Georgia Tennant while using Jenny’s character newness to camouflage its in-premise artifice.
River Song: Five Twenty-Nine by John Dorney (Big Finish, 2016) One of the better Big Finish stories, not offering full closure but nonetheless presenting a global extinction event with sombre melancholy. Sans any of the Doctors, River Song is given space to make the programme her own. Alex Kingston does just that.
Doctor Who: Night of the Vashta Nerada by John Dorney (Big Finish, 2017) A standard base under siege story with stock characters but nice execution and snatches of dark humour. The script is slick and the actors embrace their parts, Tom Baker veering away from his latter-day flippancy to give an unusually measured, heartfelt performance.
Doctor Who: Terror of the Sontarans by John Dorney & Dan Starkey (Big Finish, 2015) The Seventh Doctor is in full-on affability mode, drained of all intensity; the Sontarans are demented à la Strax; and one of the minor characters is channelling his inner Lord Flashheart. A specious comedy where only Bonnie Langford takes her role seriously.
Doctor Who: The Two Masters by John Dorney (Big Finish, 2016) Though undoubtedly ingenious— relegating Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor to a supporting role while prefiguring the multi-Master double-up of ‘World Enough and Time’—The Two Masters asks too much of the audio format, voicing and characterising its twin antagonists in too similar a fashion.
Doctor Who, Doom Coalition 2: Scenes from her Life by John Dorney (Big Finish, 2016) An audio drama but a TV idea, the sort to make one wonder at what Paul McGann’s Doctor could have been (or could still be if brought back in, say, a multi-Doctor special). A nice mix of Classic and New Series styles.