Thursday, May 27, 2021

59. Cyber Star Men - Randomoids 3 - The Return of the Selectortron

It's that time again, where we review 2 stories hurled at us at random by the Big Finish randomoid selectortron. And the stories are:

Doctor Who: Sword of Orion by Nicholas Briggs


Doctor Who: The Star Men by Andrew Smith


Philip recommends Moira Moments by Nigel Fairs (podcast audiodrama)

Dwayne recommends Mary Tamm: First Generation read by the author and Who's There: The Life and Career of William Hartnell read by Anneke Wills (Fantom Publishing audiobooks)

Thanks Hayden Gribble

Philip Edney on Twitter

Dwayne Bunney on Twitter

The Sirens of Audio on YouTube

Theme music by The Jackpot Golden Boys



Twitter: @AudioSirens


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

REVIEW | The Spectre of Lanyon Moor - Ranked "2" in Radio Times Top 5 Colin Baker Audio Stories

 The Spectre of Lanyon Moore by Nicholas Pegg

Directed by Nicholas Pegg

Music and Sound Design by Alistair Lock

Recorded February 2000. Released June 2000.

Starring Colin Baker and Maggie Stables

Guest Starring Nicholas Courtney, James Bolam, Barnaby Edwards, Helen Goldwyn, Susan Jameson, Toby Longworth, Nicholas Pegg

There is something quintessentially Doctor Who when it comes to creepy English villages, mystical powers and dark forces from the dawn of time. The Spectre of Lanyon Moor pulls out every trick in the Doctor Who book but does it so well you can hardly notice its homage to many, many previous Doctor Who shows.

It is clear that Nicholas Pegg is a fan of the show and he dips into so many moments from the past but combines them in such a way that you can’t but smile. Alien creature trapped on earth in opening minutes from City of Death. Strange goings on at an ancient burial site from Daemons. Creepy aristocracy member with library from Terror of the Zygons. Alien menace in the dark from Image of the Fendahl. English village from everywhere. And even an ending that crosses between Battlefield hero moment and the final scenes from Death to the Daleks. And every character except the Doctor and companions dead by the final scene like Pyramid of Mars, Horror of Rock and others. 

One of joys of the story is the first proper meeting between the sixth Doctor and the Brigadier. Although this in part should have been a momentous thing it is actually played right down and the two of them just get on easily from the beginning. It is such a natural meeting with open trust from the beginning that it would be easy to forget that this is a new partnership. 

Nicholas Courtney returns for the first time as the Brigadier for Big Finish and he falls into the role immediately. Like putting on a pair of comfortable shoes, Courtney is in straight back into the role and grabbing all the best lines. His nonchalant approach to the Doctor throws the Doctor slightly which is so charming to hear. His connection with Evelyn is also charming.

Maggie Stables is once again superb as Doctor Evelyn Smythe. In only her second appearance you can see what a perfect foil for the Doctor Evelyn is. Although its hard for her to be running down corridors she won’t be ignored, is given important work to do and can do a good smash and escape when needed. Colin and Maggie play off each other brilliantly and every scene they do together is a joy.

Colin continues to shine and is really the perfect Doctor. The great tragedy is he was never given stories like this to do, words like this to say and scenes like this to play in the TV series. Colin’s Doctor is compassionate, wise, righteously angry, moral, just, with a great sense of playfulness and concern for his friends. Had Colin received this level of writing and care during his TV run, there is a chance he could have been the longest serving Doctor.

The rest of the cast are excellent as well. Susan Jameson makes a great villain who goes from crazy dog owner, to just crazy to crazy dogs food. James Bolam starts being very trustworthy and yet slowly things change. And nice to hear Helen Goldwyn making her Big Finish debut playing a number of roles that would have been nothing in themselves but Helen gives all of her characters real depth, even if they only have a scene or two.

There is much, much more I could wax lyrical about this story but suffice to say it deserved to be in the top 5 of the Radio Times Poll and is well worth a listen.

Philip Edney

Monday, May 24, 2021

REVIEW | The Juggernauts - Ranked "3" in Radio Times Top 5 Colin Baker Audio Stories

 The Juggernauts by Scott Alan Woodard

Directed by Gary Russell

Music and Sound Design by Steve Foxon

Recorded April 2004. Released February 2005.

Starring Colin Baker and Bonnie Langford

Guest Starring Terry Molloy, Nicholas Briggs, Peter Forbes, Paul Grunert, Julia Houghton, Bindya Solanki, Klaus White

Third place in the Radio Times poll is another Dalek story. As with the Davison top 5 two Dalek stories make the top 5 with Colin Baker, continuing to show that the Daleks have not lost any popularity with the general public.  

The Juggernauts was written by American writer Scott Alan Woodard who accepted the commission from Gary Russell with a huge shopping list – Colin, Bonnie, Davros, Daleks and Mechanoids. But even with this huge list, the story effortlessly combines all these iconic figures. And who wouldn’t want to play in that sandpit?

Although the plot does retread some familiar themes from some televised stories, this allows the audience to pick up quickly on cues and also allows the plot to move more swiftly. There are enough twists to keep engaging the listener and some stellar performances.

The Juggernauts well demonstrates the vision John Nathan-Turner had when he developed the character of Melanie Bush to become the 6th Doctor’s companion. This is only their second play together but the characters just spark and show a great deal of emotional intelligence with each other – even though they are separated for a large part of the story. Colin and Bonnie both show how talented they are having very strong scenes with the guest cast, showing a real depth they weren’t able to show on television. It is both great to see and sad to realise what could have been and what a lost  opportunity there was when Colin was removed. Together Colin’s Doctor is kinder and more considerate and Melanie is wiser and more independent. She is certainly not the screamer she was made into on TV.

Terry Molloy is a joy to have back behind the microphone. His first visit to Big Finish was also playing opposite Colin in the excellent story Davros. In that story they demonstrated what a powerful double act they were that is repeated well in Juggernauts. His initial scenes with Bonnie, which are friendly and jovial, before she discovers who he is, show just how talented he is as a voice artist. The fact that we can like him so much and then turn it so we hate him is very powerful. With every Davros story you are waiting for the one on one scene between Davros and the Doctor and Juggernaut does not disappoint. This confrontation is powerful as would be expected, but ultimately it is Melanie who wins out.

As always Nicholas Briggs does an excellent job with the Daleks, though his range is stretched by also performing the mechanoids. Props also to sound designer, Steve Foxon would have played a very large role in realising the mechanoid voices. But no amount of sound design can work without the prowess of the actor bringing the required performance.

The Juggernauts explores some deep themes of loss, love and the right to survive. It has suspense, action and a bit of horror. All up it is a great story to listen to.

Philip Edney

Sunday, May 23, 2021

REVIEW | Static - Ranked "4" in Radio Times Top 5 Colin Baker Audio Stories

 Static by Jonathan Morris

Directed by Jamie Anderson

Music by Joe Kraemer

Sound Design by Joe Kraemer and Josh Arakellan

Script Editing by Alan Barnes

Recorded June 2017. Released December 2017.

Starring Colin Baker, Miranda Raison and Lisa Greenwood

Guest Starring Scott Chambers, Chris Dale, David Graham, Pippa Nixon, Brian Protheroe and Jo Woodcock

The most recently released story of the Colin Baker top 5 is Static by Jonathan Morris. Released three and a half years ago, it is a scary tale of dead bodies that go bump in the night and the mist and the voices the lurk in the static. It is a story that spans decades and yet takes place all at the same time. It’s a look at what would happen if you could bring back the dead.

Jonathan Morris is certainly one of Big Finish’s most prolific writers. With over one hundred stories in his catalogue spanning all the way back to Bloodtide, his stories have been inventive and diverse. He has written across every Big Finish range, for every Doctor and for many different pairings of Doctor and Companion. He has written a number of successful Colin Baker stories, especially with Flip. Many of his stories can show a dark sense of humour or like this story, create fear in uncertainty. He manages to twist something that we all experience every day - static - and make it an object of fear – the place where the enemy lurks.

Static is a more modern tale than the other stories in the top 5 and so Baker is equally supported in the story telling by Miranda Raison and Lisa Greenwood his two companions Mrs Constance Clarke and Flip. Although the Doctor has greater knowledge than his companions, he is very much equal with them in terms of narrative and key moments in the story. This does not make Bakers acting any less and he has some very powerful scenes in the last episode as he decides he is not going to allow what has happened continue to be. He also makes some morally questionable decisions and perhaps justifies them a bit too easily.

Flip is the easy to relate to character in the piece. She quickly befriends the other young members of the story and through her we see the backstory to what is occurring. We feel the sympathy for the situation that she feels but also her suspicion and distrust. Lisa Greenwood creates a very relaxed character in Flip which is in contrast to when she first began as a companion as she took a while to define who she was. But over the years, and particularly with her friendship with Constance, the character has begun to shine and from an initially spiky surface is now the heart and warmth of the crew.

Constance continues to be a rock in all situations. Her loyalty to the Doctor is unquestionable, being willing to die to achieve what he asks. As she and the Doctor return in time and into a Second World War setting, she is able to bring to the fore all her knowledge of protocol and behaviour to assist the Doctor to achieve his outcomes. Miranda Raison is an amazing actress and a stunning coup for Big Finish to get to work for them. It is to her credit that a character who could played by others come across as cold is someone we learn to care deeply about.

Jamie Anderson has pulled together a strong cast to play all the supporting roles. Voices are both modern for the recent times but also the correct RP for back during war times. David and Pippa make a convincing couple that are obviously struggling through grief. And Pippa and Jo make a strong sisterly connection. Scott Chambers is excellent in his role creating both fear and compassion depending on the circumstance.

Ultimately, Static is such an effective story because it blindsides the audience in the final episode. From the direction it appeared to be going for most of the story is suddenly veers left and heads you in a very different direction. It is only the fast thinking of the Doctor that saves the day – which is as it is meant to be.

Static would not have been in my list of the top 5 Colin Baker stories, but it has been good to go back and listen again and realise it is indeed a very worth while candidate due to its complexity, its ability to raise emotions and its use of time. If you are after a creepy story and a time old mystery, Static is a great place to start.

Philip Edney

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Submissions Now Open To Write a Big Finish Doctor Who Adventure!

Big Finish today opens its annual Short Trips writing opportunity, seeking new writers to create a Doctor Who short story to be released as an audiobook at Christmas 2021. 

The Paul Spragg Memorial Short Trips Opportunity honours the memory of the cheerful, much-loved person at the heart of the Big Finish production office, who passed away suddenly on 8 May 2014. 

Now in its sixth year, the competition is open again from today until the end of June. The full list of terms & conditions can be found on the Big Finish website at, and should be read by anyone planning to send in a new story submission over the coming weeks.  

 Big Finish creative director Nicholas Briggs said: "Big Finish’s senior producer David Richardson and I reflected recently on how very often we think of Paul, and how our remembrance of the legendary ‘Spragg’ always brings us joy. So it’s with that very much in mind that I’m delighted that it’s once again time for us to encourage new writers, in the tradition of Paul’s kindness, enthusiasm and good humour. His Memorial Writers’ Opportunity is always successful in bringing new, exciting talent to Big Finish. So, let the writing commence!"

Prospective entrants should listen to previous winning entries, to understand what kind of adventures the judges are looking for: 

The first winning story, selected from over a thousand submissions in 2016, was Forever Fallen by Joshua Wanisko. The finished production, narrated by Nicholas Briggs, can be downloaded for free from the Big Finish website. The subsequent four winning stories, Landbound by Selim Ulug, The Last Day at Work by Harry Draper, The Best Laid Plans by Ben Tedds, and Free Speech by Eugenie Pusenjak are also excellent starting points.   

 Please note that we have made some updates to the Memorial Writers’ Opportunity this year.  

Here are the guidelines for the opportunity:  

1. All entries must be submitted electronically either as Word-compatible documents or PDF pages, sent to  Entries must consist of two parts: a synopsis and an opening excerpt from the story.  

2. The synopsis must be a single page (this tends to be approximately 500 words).  

 3. The opening excerpt from the story should also be a single page (again, approximately 500 words). This is to give a flavour of the writer's ability and intentions, which can change if the story is commissioned. See below for how to download some examples from previous years.  

 4. Both pages should be marked with the writer's name and a contact email address. The submission should not include any details of your background or previous writing experience – the submission should speak for itself.  

 5. Submissions can be set in the universe of Doctor Who in the Classic Series and the New Series, i.e. at any time in the lives of the Doctor from his first incarnation in An Unearthly Child up to and including his twelfth in Twice Upon a Time. The only exception to this is the War Doctor. Due to licensing agreements we cannot include the War Doctor in stories submitted for this opportunity, so please don’t use this character.  

 6. No established monsters (for example, Daleks, Cybermen, and so on) or villains (for example, the Master, the Rani, and so on) can be used, nor established Doctor Who characters (including those from the Worlds of Doctor Who; for example, UNIT, Jago & Litefoot, Counter-Measures, and so on). Most television companions from the New Series (2005 onwards) cannot be used, except for Rose Tyler, Martha Jones and Donna Noble. However, classic series companions (excluding K-9), plus companions created by Big Finish (such as Charlotte Pollard, Hex, Evelyn Smythe, etc.) can be used. (Note: do not create a new companion for the Doctor in your story).  

7. The story should not have been published anywhere before, nor should the entry have been submitted before.  

 8. The winner will be informed by the end of July, and will be officially contracted to deliver a 5,000 word Short Trips story. As with all Big Finish writers, they will be expected to agree and meet all conditions, especially with respect to meeting deadlines and accepting input from producers. For guidance purposes, it is expected a first-draft would be due early in the Autumn of 2021.  

 9. The BBC have the right to approve or veto the content of a selected story. Should there be unforeseen issues with the work, the writer will be invited to submit a new idea.  

10. Please note that no correspondence can be entered into and the judges’ decision is final.  

11. Entry is open only to people who have never written for Big Finish before.  

12. For the 2021 Memorial Writers’ Opportunity, any entrant can send one submission. Multiple entries will be disqualified.   

13. If you've never heard a  Doctor Who – Short Trips story before, it's recommended that you give one a listen to get a sense of how they sound and what can be done in the format. These are the stories previously published as part of the Paul Spragg Memorial Short Trips Opportunity:  

 2016: Doctor Who: Forever Fallen by Joshua Wanisko 

 2017: Doctor Who: Landbound by Selim Ulug  

 2018: Doctor Who: The Last Day at Work by Harry Draper  

 2019: Doctor Who: The Best Laid Plans by Ben Tedds  

 2020: Doctor Who: Free Speech by Eugenie Pusenjak

 All these stories are available as free downloads and adding them to your account will also unlock downloads of Joshua, Selim, Harry, Ben and Eugenie’s initial entry submissions, along with copies of the final scripts, as bonus content.  

14. Entry into this competition requires that you have read and accepted the full terms and conditions. By entering, you indicate that you have done so. Submissions should be emailed to – formatted as per the guidelines – before 23:59 (UK time) on 30 June 2021.

58. GARY RUSSELL Part 3 - "I Want Chris Chibnall's Job"

In the final part of our interview with Gary Russell, he speaks about working with Eighth Doctor Paul McGann, the Divergent Universe arc, his reaction to the new TV series as it related to Big Finish in 2005, dealing with the BBC as a licensee, songs in Doctor Who, leaving Big Finish to work on the TV show, his views on Big Finish productions since he left and what he would do if he were showrunner of the TV series now. 

Thanks so much for spending so much time with us Gary! It was a pleasure to hear your memories and opinions and we wish you all the very best for the future. Thank you for the stories!

Philip Edney on Twitter

Dwayne Bunney on Twitter

The Sirens of Audio on YouTube

Theme music by The Jackpot Golden Boys



Twitter: @AudioSirens


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

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The Third Doctor Is Back With Liz Shaw & Sarah Jane Smith

The Third Doctor’s going overboard!

It’s a double bill of brand-new adventures in Doctor Who – The Third Doctor Adventures: Volume 7, released today from Big Finish.

This box set of full-cast audio drama take the Third Doctor (Tim Treloar) and his companions the Brigadier (Jon Culshaw), Liz Shaw (Daisy Ashford) and Sarah Jane Smith (Sadie Miller) on a pair of perilous tales, from a military betrayal to a watery artistic retreat, where the tide is turning...

Big Finish listeners can also download the music suites for both stories, which will be available as bonus downloads for all purchasers of this release.

Doctor Who – The Third Doctor Adventures: Volume 7 is now available exclusively at, with the two TARDIS tales as follows:

The Unzal Incursion by Mark Wright

Under the supervision of the Doctor, the Brigadier and Dr Liz Shaw, UNIT are getting ready to activate Hotspur: their new and advanced early warning network. 

But something goes wrong, and UNIT are betrayed from within. Suddenly bases are falling across the globe, and only the Doctor and his friends are able to escape. 

Not knowing how far the conspiracy goes, the Doctor, Liz and the Brigadier become fugitives... and they soon discover worrying connections to both the Fulcrum military training facility... and something beyond this Earth.

The Gulf by Tim Foley

The TARDIS lands on an ocean planet and the Doctor and Sarah find themselves on a former rig that’s been converted into an artistic retreat. 

But art is far from the residents’ minds. A painter has disappeared, and the Doctor senses a dark psychic presence at play. 

The waves are rising. And there’s something in the water.

Of The Gulf, writer Tim Foley said: “I think the Third Doctor and Sarah are such an underrated duo. There’s the melancholy of a Doctor reaching the end of his life, and the excitement of a companion just beginning her adventures – I think that’s a Tim Treloar/Sadie Miller crossroads ripe for exploration.

“In The Gulf, we’re on an alien ocean planet, on a decommissioned spindrifter – a concrete rig floating on a poisonous ocean. The galaxy is at war, but this former industrial site has been transformed into an artistic retreat – led by the fabulous Marta Malvani. I like it when the Third Doctor rails against a corporation and a system, and I wanted Sarah to experience something wondrous whilst also wearing her investigative journalist hat.”

Of recording The Unzal Incursion, actress Daisy Ashford said: “I really loved working with Tim again on this latest Third Doctor Big Finish release. It was wonderful after being in lockdown to be able to actually go to a studio and work with him in person – with all the necessary precautions of course. 

“We were in separate booths but could see each other from behind the glass. The rest of the cast were either in another studio in Liverpool or recording from home, but we were all connected over the headphones, so it felt like we were together. It is a brilliant script, with lots of action and peril to overcome which is always so much fun to play. Tim was, as ever, cheeky, funny, naughty and brilliant as the Third Doctor. Close your eyes and Jon is there instead – I don’t know how Tim does it!”

Alongside the previously announced Wendy Craig, the cast is completed by Sam Benjamin (Justice League, The War of the Worlds), Clare Corbett (Casualty, The Ninth Doctor Adventures), Lucy Goldie (The Omega Factor, Missy), Avita Jay (Stranded, Silent Witness), Misha Malcolm (Time Lord Victorious, Torchwood), Gary Martin (Dennis The Menace, Corpse Bride), Jennifer Saayeng (The Capture, Eastenders), Issy Van Randwyck (Fascinating Aïda, The Paternoster Gang) and Bethan Walker (Blake’s 7, Doctor Who: Doom Coalition).

Doctor Who – The Third Doctor Adventures: Volume 7 is now available as a collector’s edition box set  or a digital download, exclusively from the Big Finish website.