Showing posts with label Reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reviews. Show all posts

Sunday, April 14, 2024

194. Time Lord Victorious - Success or Failure?

We explore every audio Time Lord Victorious release and chat with Genetics of the Daleks writer, Jonathan Morris, and producer of the Big Finish range and writer of Echoes of Extinction, Alfie Shaw.

These reviews were originally done for the boys at Progtor Who and Around the Console. Check out their podcast here -

00:00 - Intro

03:54 - Master Theif / Lessor Evils

17:11 - Echoes of Extinction - 8th Doctor side

23:57 - He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not

39:03 - The Enemy of My Enemy

49:12 - The Minds of Magnox

1:01:10 - Mutually Assured Destruction

1:3:34 - Genetics of the Daleks

1:24:53 - Interview with Jonathan Morris

1:36:05 - Echoes of Extinction - 10th Doctor side

1:49:43 - Interview with Alfie Shaw

Theme music by Joe Kraemer.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

193. DAVID K. BARNES - The Silent Devil

Our guest is Big Finish writer David K. Barnes. He'll join us down the rabbit hole, chat about his career, and we'll go through each of his Big Finish releases to date, including his most recent releases, Storm of the Sea Devils and The Silent Priest/The Silent City.

This is a conversation not to be missed.

Theme music by Joe Kraemer.

Find us on all socials @AudioSirens

Saturday, March 2, 2024

189. Revolution in Space | Buried Threats

We review two recent Big Finish Doctor Who releases.

Third Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith adventure, Revolution in Space and Ninth Doctor box set, Buried Threats.

Theme music composed and produced by Joe Kraemer.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

186. The Best of Big Finish 2023

Here is our annual chat about our favourite stories from Big Finish from the previous year, with our guest host, Kenny Smith.

Theme music by Joe Kraemer.

Find us on all socials @AudioSirens

Saturday, December 16, 2023

REVIEW: The Giggle | SIrens Sound Off

After last week's fiery discussion, can Philip and Dwayne find some healing after the final 60th Anniversary Doctor Who Special?

Monday, December 4, 2023

REVIEW: Wild Blue Yonder | Sirens Sound Off

Well this is our most heated disagreement yet. Leave your thoughts on the episode below and we will read them out and discuss them next time.

Monday, November 27, 2023

REVIEW: The Star Beast - Destination Skaro - The Daleks in Colour | Sirens Sound Off

In the very first "Sirens Sound Off", Philip and Dwayne give their first impressions of the brand new Doctor Who off the telly, The Star Beast.

They also talk about the recent Children in Need skit, Destination Skaro, Russel T. Davies controvertial comments about the changing of Davros and The Daleks in Colour.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

REVIEW | The World's of Blake's 7 - Heroes and Villains

This sixth box set in the Worlds of Blakes 7 has grabbed three villains from the television programme and given them all a prequal performance. The Amagon where a bit of a dud in a story that was a bit of a dud – Bounty. But Trevor Baxendale has written a story that is so much better than its source material. Jenna and Cally are both so much cleverer than they were on the tele and their strength of character really shines.

The Deal with Dorian by Mark B Oliver lets us have a look at Dorian before he met the crew after the destruction of the Liberator. The recast of Dorian by Matthew Grabelle necessitated by the early passing of the original actor has been so well done. Dorian is far more dangerous here – and we know what is coming.

And finally Andrew Smith shows his love of the show in a love letter, of sorts, to the torturer Shrinker who we only met briefly in Rumours of Death. Although he must wait for the TV story for the character to get his comeuppance this is a pretty good start. 

Sally Knyvette and Jan Chappell are both brilliant. They have recreated their characters with ease but also pushed beyond many of the limitations that the show placed on the as women of the ship. There is no doubt that they are more than capable of taking on any many – good or bad – and won’t be left behind to make the tea any longer.

Lisa Bowerman, as always, is an actors director and you can hear the dialogue sing through her notes. Unusually sound design and music is done by a different pair of hands for each story and due to the quirky way the website combines everything together in box sets (shame) it is hard to tell who did what on what. But Jamie Robertson, Benji Clifford and Alistair Lock are all so reliable and accomplished it doesn’t really matter that there isn’t one consistent sound designer and musician across each story. All the stories just work.

Blakes 7 is a joy and these sets continue to entertain and extend the universe. Long may they continue.

Philip Edney

Monday, August 7, 2023

REVIEW | Sherlock Holmes -The Fiends of New York by Jonathan Barnes

Sherlock Holmes: The Fiends of New York by Jonathan Barnes, is a gripping play that transports listeners to the world of London at the turn of the century. Once again, Jonathan has written a story worthy of the great Conan Doyle himself. The story is full of twists, shocks and great character moments. It is a carry on from The Seamstress of Peckham Rye.

The production values of this audio drama are top-notch. Benji Clifford has created a rich and immersive atmosphere, effectively capturing diverse settings such as the ambiance London streets, the bustle of the theatre and the intimacy of Baker Street. Scored by Jamie Robertson the music sets expectations, reveals emotions and embeds the story well into its time and place.

Nicholas Briggs delivers an exceptional performance as Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is older now but Briggs still is able to capture the character's eccentricity, deductive prowess, and unwavering determination. Richard Earl's portrayal of Dr. John Watson is equally praiseworthy, perfectly embodying the loyal companion and also husband with unwavering support and astute observations. The chemistry between the two lead actors is undeniable, and their dynamic brings the iconic detective duo to life.

All the cast are sensational from the evil Seamstress played by Juliet Aubrey and Watson’s wife with secrets, Lucy Briggs-Owen. Supported by a regular repertory of Big Finish actors in the likes of Timothy Bentinck, John Banks, Glen Macready and James Joyce (or is that Jez Fielder)

Ken Betley as always does a solid job as director. With so many scenes, such a large cast and so much essential plot to unfold it must have been a logistical nightmare plotting out the recording of this story, But as always, Ken pulls it all together. 

The Fiends of New York is an enthralling audio adventure that successfully captures the essence of the beloved detective's world.

Philip Edney

Monday, June 19, 2023

REVIEW: Daleks! Genesis of Terror

There has been some discussion on the value of releasing a story in this form. But now that I have listened to Dalek! Genesis of Terror I find this story fascinating! 

For those who love the behind the scenes of Doctor Who this is for you. We get to hear what Terry Nation handed over to Robert Holmes and the magic Holmes did. Though to be fair it had a lot more magic in it than I was expecting. 

I bought the LP of Genesis of the Daleks when I was about 12 (many decades ago) and have listened to it hundreds of times. To hear the line changes, the character advancements etc was extraordinary. 

I’m not usually a fan of narration in Big Finish stories but this is the stage directions of Terry Nation. It’s a bit like being at a table read through. And Nick Briggs' clear but straight reading adds to the documentary style. 

The cast are wonderful. Tom Baker’s voice has aged from that LP recording of nearly 50 years ago but his enthusiasm for playing the Doctor is clear. Sadie Miller as always plays her Mums role of Sarah well. This has been my favourite performance so far of Christopher Naylor as Harry Sullivan. He captured how Ian Marter could be brave, protective, a bit misogynist but always loveable. 

Supported by Samuel Clemens who brings the malevolence of Nyder perfectly and Terry Molloy who retrospectively brings Davros back to our ears.  

If you want a typical Big Finish play this isn’t for you. But if you want a behind the scenes examination of one of the best Doctor Who stories ever and how it evolved you couldn’t ask for more.

Philip Edney

Sunday, January 29, 2023

141. The Best of Big Finish 2022

Dwayne and Philip each give you a top ten Big Finish releases of 2020, giving you a total of twenty in the list. 

Give us your thoughts. Do you agree or disagree? What are your top ten of 2022? 

Original theme composed by Joe Kraemer |



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Clips and music are copyright BBC and Big Finish. No infringement is intended.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

136. Medicinal Purposes and We Are The Daleks | Guest Host MARC ATKINSON | Writer JONATHAN MORRIS | Randomoids XVI


Guests Marc Atkinson and Jonathan Morris join us for a back-to-back Randomoids Review show as we discuss two monthly range stories, #60 Medicinal Purposes and #201 We Are The Daleks. 

What are your thoughts on these two Big Finish classics? 

We'll also give you our recommendations including a track from a recent solo album released by Marc. 

Find out more about Marc's music at

Original theme composed by Joe Kraemer |



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Clips and music are copyright BBC and Big Finish. No infringement is intended.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

135. Prison in Space | The Perpetual Bond | Randomoids XV

It Randomoids time again and this time we are joined by co-host of The Doctor Who Show, David Kitchen. Together we'll discuss the Big Finish Lost Story production, Prison in Space, as well as Companion Chronicles story The Perpetual Bond featuring Peter Purves and Tom Allen, and to top it off, we'll each give you a listening recommendation. 

Rabbit Hole Topic - What makes the black and white era of Doctor Who so magical for 80's kids. 

Visit The Doctor Who Show website -

Original theme composed by Joe Kraemer |



Audio Feedback:





Clips and music are copyright BBC and Big Finish. No infringement is intended.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Review | Missy and the Monk by James Goss, Johnny Candon and James Kettle

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I am not sure there is a more delightful pairing at Big Finish at the moment than Missy, played by the delectable and unpredictable Michelle Gomez and the Monk played with charm and self deprecation by Rufus Hound. 

These two are hilarious together and you never know what they are about to do or how they will play the lines they are given. The situations they move through are often absurd but yet the listener is engaged in every ridiculous plot and scheme. Verging constantly on madness there is still always threat through the humour and yet you just keep warming to them. The audience is left in the dilemma of not wanting them to succeed and yet, you do. 

The madness starts with Body and Soulless by James Goss. How Mr Goss has managed to write so many scripts this year that hit it out of the park is beyond me. His trademark humour is present throughout as Missy starts the story with just the Monk's brain - kept in her carpet handbag. A cross between crazy Mary Poppins and the Brain of Morbius these two threaten the existence of an entire planet as they play out there life taking games. 

Johnny Candon’s first script for Big Finish, War Seed allows for a bit more sanity as Missy has something to prove - which she just can’t manage. 

And once again James Kettle shows what a great story teller he is in Two Monks, One Mistress. Set in Renaissance, Italy it is the perfect place for the Monk and a Nun. When timelords cross timelines fun and disaster follow. Gemma Whelan enters the mix with panache. 

This box set is so much fun but will make you feel guilty while unable to keep from smiling. Joe Kraemer's music and sound design is spectacular and as always director Ken Bentley gets amazing performances out of all his cast. Looking forward to hearing what comes next. 

Philip Edney

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Review | Torchwood: Curios by James Goss

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A curio is a rare, unusual or intriguing object. And with this story, Torchwood gets a new curio added to the range. 

James Goss is the master story craftsman when it comes to Torchwood and with Curios has once again managed to switch tones and time zones. Set during the 2nd World War, important artefacts were sent down mines to protect them from the bombs and hide them from possible invasion. But there is much in the Torchwood archives that should never be touched. And more down the mine than anyone is expecting. 

One of the creepiest characters to be created for Torchwood is Bilis Manger. Putting him deep underground, in the dark, makes him creepier still. And as usual Murray Melvin performs Bilis with a servility that drips evil. You can’t hate Manger but every scene he is in leaves you feeling more and more uncomfortable. An amazing performance.  But his performance is backed by all the cast, especially Rosie Baker. 

Scott Handcock, as always, has directed the story perfectly and it has a similar feel to Hitchcock’s Psycho. A cast of characters with dark pasts, secrets and an atmosphere of foreboding. 

Expect to be scared. 

Philip Edney

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Review | Jekyll and Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, Adapted by Nicholas Briggs

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The first time the story of Jekyll and Hyde really got it's hooks into me were in the 1988 television series Jack The Ripper, starring Michael Caine. A play of the Stevenson classic featured in the series starring Armand Assante in the role of an American actor who could change his facial features mid-scene and in full view of the audience, to complete the transition from Jekyll to Hyde. I was utterly transfixed and terrified, and with my love of Victorian England already fuelled by such television as Doctor Who's The Talons of Weng-Chiang and Jeremy Brett's Sherlock Holmes, here was another story from an era that holds more mystique to me than almost any other. 

Most adaptations of the Stevenson story are very liberal in their story changes. The Jack The Ripper series had the Lanyon scene (with Lanyon coincidentally played by Weng-Chiang's Litefoot himself, Trevor Baxter) incorrectly showing Jekyll changing into Hyde when the story was the other way round, and the same company who made the series went on to make their own adaption of Jekyll and Hyde with Michael Caine in the tite role. That too had many elements that weren't in the original story and Caine's casting in itself was to say the least, interesting...

It was a great surprise to me to finally hear many years ago, an abridged reading by Tom Baker to discover how much I simply adored the language of Stevenson in the hands of an actor who was not only my hero, but had a voice that dripped both honey and menace, relished in equal measure by me. The simple music and sound effects added to this reading invoked so much horror that I wasn't able to listen to it at night.

So with my adoration of the source material and of Big Finish, a company who in my opinion deserve much more recognition of their non-Doctor Who output than they appear to receive, I was so very excited to discover towards the end of 2021 that an adaptation of Jekyll and Hyde was being released in 2022. But not until August! The wait has been painful, but the time has finally arrived for the release to see the light of day. 

One thing about the Big Finish Classics range I love is that they try very hard to stick as close to the source material as they can. I appreciated this in particular with their version of Frankenstein. What a difficult book this must have been to adapt closely. After all, it is basically a series of letters between people. Jekyll and Hyde is similar with a couple of major letters contained within, but it's not quite as correspondance heavy as Frankenstein. 

Knowing this version of Jekyll and Hyde had been adapted for the stage I assumed it would begin at the beginning with the conversation between Utterson and Enfield. However, I was surprised that it began at the death of Sir Danvers, an event that takes place quite a way into the original story, and then flashes back to that conversation. Initially I thought this was just trying to be original in it's own way, but beginning the story at this point was vital in properly introducing the "team" of the play, namely Utterson and Inspector Newcomen. There is a very good reason the Inspector is so heavily involved with the plot here as opposed to the book. But more of that later. 

I love the way the script has been adapted with dialogue lifted word for word from the original story. It's Stevenson's language and the way he has his characters communicate with each other that appeals to me, so to hear the words being perfomed verbatim, sometimes in ways I least expect, is both refreshing and deeply satisfying.

Director Nick Briggs has managed some dream casting here, with Barnaby Kay as Utterson, the solicitor torn between his moral duty to respect his client's legal rights and deep concern for his friend's physical and mental decline. August 2022 seems to be the month of Barnaby Kay at Big Finish, with him playing the lead in the audio version of U.F.O. and his first River Song script having been released too. 

What is it about Barnaby Edwards that makes him so suited to performing this era? Fantastic as always and such a theatrical persona, he is the perfect Enfield (plus other roles), recounting with horror his first meeting with Hyde yet courageously defending the honour of the family of the young girl assaulted by him. 

John Heffernen plays the dual title roles beautifully, particularly Hyde. Don't imagine you've heard or seen all the ways Hyde can be played. This one is unique and so utterly terrifying on audio. The first meeting with Enfield will stand your hair on end. 

Robert Portal is a constant presence as Inspector Newcomen and I found myself thinking on first listen that the inspector was a little more present than I remembered.... 

Some audio drama can have a tendancy to cast similar voices. That is not the case here. All are unique and very distinctive. None more so than Clare Corbett. Clare plays all the female roles here but none more noticable to me than Mrs Poole, a character who was male in the original story. I would like to hold this production up as an example of what I believe to be real authentic inclusion. 

When Morgan Freeman was asked by a virtuous reporter many years ago whether he felt that there would come a time that racism would no longer be an issue, Freeman replied, "Yes, when people like you stop talking about it." I totally agree.

This is exactly what Nick Briggs has done with Jekyll and Hyde. He has gender-swapped a role, but not for the sake of it. It's a role that could easily be performed by either gender and it doesn't alter the story at all. What I respect most of all, is that this has been done without any mention of it by the cast and crew in the extras or anywhere else. There's no self-congratulation. There's no virtue signalling. It's just been done, and done extremely well. Without any fuss or fanfare. To me, this is true inclusion.

You may be surprised by what I consider to be the most outstanding performance in this play. And that is Nicholas Asbury as Dr Lanyon. Many times I've read the words of Utterson coming to visit the dying Lanyon at his home, and I've had the words read to me by Tom Baker no less, but nothing could prepare me for the power Asbury puts into his performance, particularly in this scene. The amount of inner turmoil that ultimately kills him on seeing Hyde's transformation as displayed here in this performance is enough to make your ears bleed and is nothing short of electrifying. Bravo Mr Asbury! 

A final word here must go to Benji Clifford on sound design. He brings Victorian London alive in beautiful subltle ways, and frightens you to to the core with the slightest of effects on Hyde's voice. He fascinates you with the sound of tea poring into eleagant china and makes you see a hideous monster become a man while you're eyes are closed. These are the plays that remind me why I love audio drama so much. Thanks for all your hard work and attention to detail Benji! 

Oh, and I must also mention how important it is to listen to the extras. It's where you get answers to nagging questions such as why Inspector Newcomen has such a major role. 

Despite the production issues and delays in this release getting to us, I can say it has been worth the wait. I have thoroughly devoured this and imagine it will be on very regular rotation. 

Thank you Nick Briggs and the whole cast and crew for bringing this story to such vivid life. I adore it! 

Dwayne Bunney

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Review | The Lost Resort and Other Stories by AK Benedict, Sarah Ward and Martyn Waites

The Lost Resort and other stories is one of the most emotionally charged box sets that Big Finish have released in a very long time. 

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AK Benedict is a writer generally known for the macabre and horror but in the first story of the set AK explores powerfully the issue of grief and loss. 

Following on directly from the previous stories the Doctor and his companions have just been reunited after the Doctor ran off and left them out of guilt. And relationships are still tense. 

The story takes place on Soresia. This is planet where the dead can continue to have an existence but is existing enough? The audience gets to explore death and loss through the experiences of the well drawn characters. 

All the cast give strong performances but the emotional heart lies with the return of Adric and excellent performances by Peter Davison and Matthew Waterhouse. The Doctor has been living the guilt of Adric dying for many stories, compounded by the near conversion of his latest companion Marc into a Cyberman. The Doctor and Adric get to have those conversations you can only have with people at the end of their lives. 

The greatest joy, and pain, of the story is Adric gets the proper hero ending he didn’t get in Earthshock. His death finally can finally have meaning. Expect tears. 

The Perils of Nellie Bly by Sarah Ward is a total contrast in comparison. A historic comedy with hilarious running around scenes and a race to the finish. Sydney Feder gives a lovely performance as the historic Nellie Bly and like all good historicals had me researching the story behind the story. 

Finally in Nightmare of the Daleks, Martyn Waites is tasked with ending the Marc arc which he does in an engaging and slightly disturbing way. George Watkins as Marc has had a great run as the ancient Roman companion with a thirst for knowledge and life. Parallels with Adric have been seen throughout and this final story creates a sad but satisfying conclusion to that journey. 

A great set of stories. But listen with tissues handy as you are going to need them. 

Philip Edney

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Review | Torchwood - Empire of Shadows by James Goss

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Torchwood: Empire of Shadows demonstrates how far the format of Torchwood can be pushed and still make riveting drama. This story falls in the midst of a great run of stories by author James Goss. One of the great things about Goss’ writing is the fact that every story can be so different from one another by change of character, location, time or tone. The only consistent thing about his writing is the brilliance. 

Empire of the Shadows takes Torchwood in a whole new direction as the story moves into the far future Earth Empire and re-visits Zachary Cross Flane, who was last seen rescuing Ood from the Impossible Planet. In that story the Torchwood archive is mentioned in passing. But this passing mention becomes the central conceit of this drama.

Zachery works for the Torchwood Archive and that connection is going to lead him into a mystery and conspiracy which can turn from suspenseful to comedic in a couple of sentences. A cross between Tomb Raider and House of Cards, no one can be trusted. 

Shaun Parkes returns from the television episodes to play his first role with Big Finish - and here’s hoping it’s not his last visit. Shaun imbues Zachery with a warmth and charm which allows us to accept him as the hero of the story without question. But his frivolity underlies a wisdom and seriousness that you don’t want to cross. 

The sound design requirements for this story were huge. Naomi Clarke does a great job portraying future spaceships and landscapes, echoing temples and city wide destruction. Supported by a strong score by Blair Mowat, the dialogue has a convincing backdrop on which to rest. 

As always, Scott Handcock works his directorial magic. He manages to take a small cast and make a huge, future epic adventure. 

A must listen for anyone who loves Torchwood or want to know more about the Future Earth Empire. 

Philip Edney

Sunday, July 17, 2022

REVIEW: The War Master - Killing Time

Released August 2021

Available from

The Doctor, when confronting the master in The Deadly Assassin says to the Master “You would delay an execution to pull the wings off a fly”. In this box set we see what activities the Master does get up to while just killing time. And it is far more cruel, and equally as unnecessary, as pulling the wings off a fly.


Shout out to Rob Harvey. He has composed the most effective scores for The Orphan in The War Master Box set “Killing Time” used for a very long time. The power of the piano, leitmotifs and minor chords is palpable. Although not intrusive, the music acts as a third character driving the emotion.


Musical score by is one of the emotive created for a long time. Particularly in The Orphan. The use of piano chords adds to the loneliness and seclusion.

Philip Edney

Sunday, July 10, 2022

REVIEW: Doctor Who - After The Daleks by Roland Moore

Released August 2021

Available from

It has been debated over the years whether the Daleks are truly the most evil creatures in the galaxy or could it be that the humans who seek to use the Daleks to subjugate their other humans are far more evil?

This issue is examined in part in the engaging script “After the Daleks” by Roland Moore. 

This story follows the aftermath of The Daleks Invasion of Earth. The Doctor in a romantic but nevertheless foolhardy action has deserted his granddaughter on a war-ravaged Earth with absolutely nothing, not even a pair of shoes. 

Susan is forced to make the best of the situation and does at least have the beginning of a love match. But before that can blossom there is going to be a fight for survival. Can those that have survived the Daleks survive without technology? Can they learn to grow and harvest food to feed the masses? Can they re-establish a form of government that can fairly rule the people?

It is this political intrigue that forms the backbone to this story and Susan, at first unwilling, must step up into leadership roles or allow another, with the backing of a Dalek, to rule the planet. 

Carole Ann Ford is excellent in this story bringing the youth, joy and fun of Susan and slowly developing the strength required to lead a planet. More Susan please! And it is lovely having  Sean Biggerstaff as David. We are use to Sean whopping up the comedy in the Jenny series but here he shows what a serious actor he can be. The rest of the ensemble are equally excellent bringing a real sense of threat and danger to the story. Lisa Bowerman as director doesn’t hold back any punches as she lets the darkness of the script bleed through. 

After the Daleks is very “Survivors” in feel and I think Terry Nation would have been proud of the coming together in tone of his two shows. 

One thing is certain. The early adventures have gone from strength to strength and really allow original cast members to show what great actor they are and what their character could have been. 

A must listen!

Philip Edney