Doctor Who: The Book of Kells by Barnaby Edwards (Big Finish, 2010) A solid historical adventure, commendably underplayed (albeit mostly a veiled character set-up). Paul McGann is excellent as ever, his delivery a sublime and mercurial mix of conceit, solemnity, flippancy and suppressed wrath. Goodies fans will appreciate a well-pitched appearance by Graeme Garden.
Tag: Paul McGann
Doctor Who: The Night of the Doctor
Doctor Who: The Night of the Doctor by Steven Moffat; dir. John Hayes (BBC, 2013) Prior to ‘The Day of the Doctor’, fans were given 6 minutes 49 seconds in which to celebrate Paul McGann and to lament his not being given a full special (or indeed an entire series) or being cast as the War Doctor.
Doctor Who: The Witch from the Well
Doctor Who: The Witch from the Well by Rick Briggs (Big Finish, 2011) As ever, Big Finish have gone beresk with their screeching creature effects. Notwithstanding such overindulgence, this pseudohistorical take on the seventeenth-century witch trials offers uncommon nuance and character depth. A particularly good story for Paul McGann and Julie Cox (as Mary Shelley).
Doctor Who: The Creed of the Kromon
Doctor Who: The Creed of the Kromon by Philip Martin (Big Finish, 2004) Philip Martin’s two serials were highpoints of Doctor Who during Colin Baker’s all-too-brief tenure. Creed of the Kromon features Paul McGann’s Doctor but carries a similar vibe, suffusing its SF setting with a depth and complexity rarely seen in weekly adventure serials.
Doctor Who: Scherzo
Doctor Who: Scherzo by Robert Shearman (Big Finish, 2003) An experimental, at times very disturbing two-hander played with considerable finesse by Paul McGann and India Fisher. The premise is to be lauded but lacks execution (at both script and production level). Though not incongruous, the unceasing background mosquito whine was ill-advised.
Jenny – The Doctor’s Daughter: Neon Reign by Christian Brassington (Big Finish, 2018) Trite premise, clumsy exposition, heavy-handed on the agenda. The saving grace here is the characterisation of Jenny (who’s inherited some of the Tenth Doctor’s traits) and her companion Noah (who carries himself with a naïve sangfroid that curiously echoes Paul McGann’s Eighth).
Doctor Who: An Earthly Child
Doctor Who: An Earthly Child by Marc Platt (Big Finish, 2009) Platt does a good job envisaging Susan’s future life and a reunion with her grandfather (in his eighth incarnation)! Carole Ann Ford and Paul McGann work well together but the Doctor—not uncommonly in Eighth Doctor stories—contributes little to the resolution.
Doctor Who: The Chimes of Midnight
Doctor Who: The Chimes of Midnight by Robert Shearman (Big Finish, 2002) A dark yet sometimes funny, perfectly paced bottle-episode audio adventure that starts in total darkness and slowly reveals its grim premise, dropping clues that are best appreciated in retrospect. Paul McGann takes total ownership. What a TV story this would have made!
Doctor Who: Dark Eyes
Doctor Who: Dark Eyes by Nicholas Briggs (Big Finish, 2012) A nicely focussed runabout (if such can exist), the epic threads of which are held together by the strong dynamic between Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor and new companion Molly O’Sullivan. On a down note, the Doctor has little say in the outcome.
Doctor Who, Doom Coalition 2: The Sonomancer
Doctor Who, Doom Coalition 2: The Sonomancer by Matt Fitton (Big Finish, 2016) Fitton manages some strong characterisation — Liv Chenka takes charge; Helen Sinclair bonds with River Song — but although Alex Kingston is quite the drawcard, the lack of interaction between her and Paul McGann is disappointing, as is the plot degeneration into runaround dénouement.