THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE AFTER THE BBCi
WEBCAST "REAL TIME"
AND DIRECTLY PRIOR
TO THE AUDIO DRAMA
CAVAN SCOTT &
THE FORGE, PROJECT:
PROJECT: ARTEMIS &
BIG FINISH CD#45
RELEASED IN JUNE 2003.
A frightened girl is
stalked in a land of
A hunter longs for
And in the shadows
Welcome to the Forge.
(2 EPISODES, PARTS 1 & 2 OF 4)
Project: Lazarus is probably one of the most anticipated Big Finish releases to date. Not only is it a sequel to the revered Project: Twilight, but it is also Big Finish’s first multi-Doctor story since their very first release, The Sirens of Time, back in 1999. And, to celebrate the occasion, it is made available with not one, not two, but three possible covers!
A tale of two halves, Project: Lazarus is split into two linked, but ultimately separate, two-parters. The first sees the sixth Doctor finally discover a cure for the Twilight virus and take Evelyn off to search for Cassie, who they were forced to abandon in Norway at the end of “Project: Twilight.” Personally, I enjoyed this segment of the story far more than the Sylvester McCoy two-parter. Here we have the return of Cassie, who to coin a phrase has ‘turned to the dark side’, calls herself ‘Artemis’ and serves Nimrod as a hunter; we have The Forge’s fascinating new ‘Lazarus’ project; and best of all the beginning of what promises to be a critical story arc for Evelyn.
Nimrod’s ‘Lazarus’ project itself is an interesting concept, and there is something truly horrific about his plan to kill the Doctor again and again and again… all so that he can learn about regeneration. Even the Doctor’s archenemies the Daleks merely want the Doctor dead. There is something refreshing about a villain who not only wants to take the Doctor’s life, but all his lives, and not even due to hatred or malevolence – merely for scientific gain. Stephen Chance’s Nimrod is without doubt one of the greatest characters to emerge from Big Finish’s Doctor Who range.
It has to be said that this section of the story is exceedingly well written. For all intents and purposes, Scott and Wright put the listener in the shoes of Evelyn. We want the Doctor to find Cassie and cure her. We want it all to be okay… we certainly do not want to find out that years of living rough and scavenging for food across Scandinavia have turned her into a monster. Worse still, for Evelyn to keep chipping away at Cassie / Artemis’s armour until
she is redeemed, only for her killed to be killed in the most horrific manner by Nimrod is completely and utterly heart breaking. This links in wonderfully with the revelation that Evelyn is dying, suffering from some terminal heart condition. After the first two-parts of “Project: Lazarus”, Evelyn is left broken hearted both literally and figuratively.
The sixth Doctor himself is interestingly portrayed in this two-parter. Somehow he is quieter than usual, more brooding, and as in “Real Time” he is not even wearing his multi-coloured coat, which only adds to the effect. Blue is the colour of mourning on Necros, after all. The tragic ending to his part of the story seems like something of a watershed for his character, not only in respect of his relationship with Evelyn but also with regards to his whole outlook on things. His “chocolate cake” comment to Evelyn in the wake of Cassie’s death perfectly encapsulates the mixed feelings his character is experiencing; he has not seemed this down since his trial. There are definitely interesting times ahead for Big Finish’s star duo of Colin Baker and Maggie Stables, though it does not appear that they are going to be happy ones…
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006
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