CD#2.1 (ISBN 1-84435-


 JANUARY 2008.



 The TARDIS lands in


 one? The Doctor and

 Lucie find themselves

 trapped in a maze of

 interlocking Londons

 from Roman times to

 the present day.


 But they are not

 alone: a killer is

 on their trail...


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Dead London








The eighth Doctor and Lucie’s second season kicks off with a characteristically colourful episode from ‘the godfather of British comics’, Pat Mills. As you might expect from an episode that begins with the Doctor in the dock for having parked the TARDIS on double-yellows, the word that seems to sum up Dead London better than any other is ‘romp’.


Mills’ plot is an intriguing one, with the Doctor and Lucie lost in a labyrinth of interconnecting London time zones. Each zone is brought to life with the vivid detail that one would expect to find in a graphic novel, and in addition the supporting characters that populate Dead London are every bit as overstated and every bit as memorable as those that one might find in one of Mills’ old Doctor Who Weekly strips. Big Finish veteran Katarina Olsson’s Yellow Beryl is an excellent example of such a character, as is the impressive funambulist, Spring-Heeled Sophie, played by another Doctor Who audio veteran, the stunning Clare Buckfield. As for the first twenty minutes or so of the episode the Doctor and Lucie are separated, Sophie and Beryl serve as makeshift companions for the regulars, and they do a tremendous job.


In the CD Extras, executive producer

Nicholas Briggs and director Barnaby

Edwards discuss how they sweated for

a while over which episode they should

open the season with before selecting

this one because it has the Doctor and

Lucie start off apart, and then meet part-

way through. With the luxury of hindsight Dead London seems like such a natural season-opener. Pace and vigour and friends reunited. Awesome.


However, as impressive as those already name-checked are, this story belongs to Rupert Vansittart. The erstwhile Slitheen is marvellous as the Sepulchre, Vansittart stretching his distinctive, imperial tones as far as they will go so that he can realise the Sepulchre’s many avatars.


Whats more, the fifty-minute format is ideal for Paul McGann’s Doctor; his energetic fervour is perfectly attuned to the high-speed, new series style of storytelling. McGann can literally race through an episode. In fact, last year’s eighth Doctor and Lucie season often put me in mind of the new series, and if Dead London is anything to go by, then this year the parallels are going to be even more evident. Nicholas Briggs himself has remixed the theme tune, and it really feels like a bridge between the original 1963 Ron Grainer theme and the 2005 Murray Gold interpretation. It’s much more traditional than the darker, less melodic David Arnold version, yet has that new series oomph.


© Big Finish Productions 2008. No copyright infringement is intended.

 Above: I could imagine this image plastered across the BBC website advertising an upcoming episode…


In a way, the new theme tune sums up the approach of this 2008 season. Big Finish may not be licensed to produce new series plays, but this might be about as close as they can get. The centrefold spread in the liner booklet says it all, I reckon – I could quite easily imagine that very image plastered across the BBC’s Doctor Who website advertising an upcoming televised episode.


I also applaud Big Finish’s decision to once again segregate the eighth Doctor’s audio adventures from those of the ‘classic Doctors’. I suppose technically McGann is a ‘classic Doctor’, but to me at least he has always felt in-between. For almost a decade he was the Doctor, and even following the series’ revival and his character’s return from the Divergent universe, his story still felt open-ended. Heck, it still does…


All told, Dead London is every bit as memorable a season-opener as Blood of the Daleks was last year, and it is certainly far more novel.


Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2008


E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

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Doctor Who is copyright © by the BBC. No copyright infringement is intended.