1.1 Their Finest Hour by John Dorney
This is a straight out of the block adventure with the Doctor, in the shape of No.8 and Liv trying to track down Helen, however, they are waylaid by having to assist the Doctor’s good old friend Winston Churchill in order to understand what is causing the disappearance of fighter pilots. The story itself is a fairly honest up front offering, it is also stand out in the performances here of Nicola and of Paul whom as I have always maintained is the one Doctor who is the most slick operator of any of them. He always comes across effortless in his performance, and in this little gem of a story, it comes across more than ever. I like the way that Dorney as also given us an extra helping of Churchill in this release. The release standout is the sound scape, which as ever is superb for a Big Finish release, but here we get to understand that this type of production would just not happen on screen due to logistics and also cost. That is the wonder of Audio and the way that it lends itself to huge landscapes that can be created in your mind. I enjoyed The Finest Hour, it is for me a great step into this the new range of stories for 2018.
1.2 How to Make a Killing in Time Travel by John Dorney
The Doctor and Liv are pulled due to anomalies to Scapegrace space station, where, there very unpleasant Mr Morningstar is having built for his own unscrupulous purposes a time machine, so that he can make more money, not that he had a need for money. However there are parties interested in obtaining the time machine for their own ends. It isn’t long before the temper gets the better and leads to the untimely demise of Mr Morningstar, all witnessed by said blackmailer to whom wishes to satisfies their own lust and greed. Once again McGann and Walker steer the ship alongside a rather interesting outing for the Doctor. There is a wonderful feeling of building tension as to when we finally will get to find out what is happening with Helen Sinclair and also the 11. In some respects these stories just build the excitement. They are wonderful tales, and they make for a great build up. For me How to Make a Killing in Time is one of those stories that I got the feeling could have been any incarnation of the Doctor as vehicle for a Big Finish release, there isn’t a marker here to make it a classic No.8 story, again that is not to lessen the fact that this is a top notch story which far outshines most other releases in the ranges.
1.3 World of Damnation by Matt Fitton
At last we are with Helen and the 11, in the rather strange and uncomfortable Rykerzon a security prison with some of the most dangerous inmates known. The interesting thing here is we learn of the changing relationship between Helen and the 11. She is acting has his personal therapist, calming him when the other incarnations rear their ugly head and via for space in his conscious. Helen as changed, and she is not the same Helen we last heard of. Enter stage left the Kandyman, the old arch Doctor villain, here wonderfully portrayed by Nicholas Rowe, with a evil and downright nastiness that far outstrips the comic creation from the TV version, this is a real nasty villain, a sort of enemy that is devious and wonderfully gross type of science for evil that we love in any story telling. He is using the prison as method of experimentation, his sugary creations a means of controlling the inmates, the potential for which are unlimited, now we have a real story. Evil madman in the shape of the 11, creative and manipulative maniac in the shape of the Kandyman. All of which starts to drive up the tempo of this release. I loved this it was crazy, sublime controlled fun on the side of anxiety fuelled genius. I can only imagine that we are in for a rip roaring end to this box set in the new Ravenous range.
1.4 Sweet Salvation by Matt Fitton
Sweet Salvation is the final in the outing of the Kandyman and the 11’s hellish belief that they are at the cusp of controlling an army of their own for evil bidding. However this is not to be, the Doctor, Liv and newly reunited Helen will finally put pay to the dastardly doings of this rather unpleasant pairing of two of the most devious of Who adversaries. What is stand out here, is just how wonderfully evil and contrived they have made this character, the Kandyman is a far flung distant memory of what was created in the “Happiness Patrol” all those years ago. This character now begs the question of whether BF will pop him into future releases they put out. It is certainly something that I would not be amiss with. This final episode also shows the manipulation that the 11 as had over Helen, somewhat at her expense and not knowing what was actually going on all the time that she had thought she was somehow helping and perhaps rehabilitating the 11, but evil is evil, and for the 11 there is no change, or return he is just that and there is no room for change. It is interesting how we hear the Doctor acknowledge that this change in Helen that has occurred and maybe not for the better. The whole episode is wonderfully explosive, it makes for a great final piece of audio and a fitting end to another great 8th Doctor boxed set release, which just seem to be getting better and better.