2.1 The Lords of Terror by Jonathan Morris
The opening story in our second outing with the companion Bliss at the Doctor’s side. Here we find the Doctor trying to get Bliss back home to her mother and grandfather. However, landing on Bliss planet proves that once again the Doctor’s ability at actually controlled, and piloting his TARDIS to land where required is far from being second nature, even, after 8th regeneration. The world they land on is where Bliss hails from, but alas it is in a completely different time frame. Doctor and Bliss are thrust into a new world, where, the people in charge ruling by fear are essentially enslaving the populous to build weapons of mass destruction, as the fight in the war, the war that is against the Daleks. With an act of terrorism and attack, the real revolutionaries are exposed to the Doctor and the rather unscrupulous plan unfolds.
The opening story in this latest box set is rather picking up from where we left off, in saying that these are all self-contained stories and there is not really a need unless you are one of those that has to have the deepest understanding of the story arc to have listened to the earlier releases in this 8th Doctor range. Lords of Terror is a good intro to these stories however, with hind insight it is a pretty much a standalone and really does the job of introduction and move us along to the main crux of the releases which come in the shape of the following tales. Rakhee Thakrar – Biss is excellent as the new Doctor’s companion and she portrays Bliss as having traits of compassion, as well as being smart and quick, she is no slouch when it comes to dealing with the quirks that the Doctor. Lovely introduction to the newest in the always stunningly good Mcgann Who universe, and as welcome a listen as ever.
2.2 Planet of the Ogrons by Guy Adams
Rather lovely and wonderful spring to mind when listening to this, with some classic reference points to the Pertwee story of Death to the Daleks. We have the wonderful lumbering Ogrons in this release. This is a quirky take, where we have a Ogron Doctor, and I mean just that. There is something quiet intriguing hearing that voice and coming out with statements that are straight out of the Doctor’s repertoire. With a TARDIS landing, it comes as a surprise when what appears is a Ogron informing all in sundry that he is in fact the Doctor.
What is more of shock is when the Doctor on a planetary duplicate of Earth Cotswold, bumps into the 12 and the Ogron whom is doing fine impression of the 4th Doctor. Of course the only way to find out what is actually going on, afternoon tea, whilst the 12 tells the Doctor and Bliss how she is controlling her previous generations via an implant, more over, where the Ogron fits into the mix. The 12 tells of how the Ogron landed in the capital of Gallifrey piloting a stolen TARDIS, 8th cannot believe that such a creature, and refuses that a regeneration of himself can be such an individual. Meanwhile biological experiments are taking place by the Daleks are using the Ogron’s as a means of altering their (Dalek) time line. The 12 tells the Doctor how the Daleks are introducing Ogron’s into the Dalek batlles. The overseer Dalek that is running his lab on the Orgron’s planet. A rather nasty peace of work. The overseer is a mongrel whom is revered by his Dalek masters, but is also held in awe as he is trying to distil the Dalek to a more horrendous version for war.
Planet of the Orgons introduces us to the 12 and she is mad as a box of frogs. The story is a stunning, Orgron Doctor, is a wonderful idea by Guy Adams, and the whole thing is really a quite over flowing spectacular of Who’ness
2.3 In the Garden of Death by Guy Adams
Garden of Death sort of resembles earlier Who stories where the Doctor and his companion are under some sort of mind blocking, amnesia style control. Here we find that Bliss and the 12 are free to roam, but the Doctor is being held as the main super villain. On each interrogation by the Daleks the prisoners, all of whom in their amnesia state refer to each other by alpha genetic type names are taken questioned or tortured and then placed back into this artificial wilderness to pretty much recover, but have no memory of their interrogation. However the thing that we learn quite quickly from this is that the 12 is devious, unscrupulous and an out and out unpleasant piece of work. The manner in which she devices her means of escape at the cost of another inmate, is rather Hannibal Lector in its approach, and rather darkly comedic. However, it start to ask of her and her motives. The whole episode is rather an exploratory and fun story. It sits well within the context of the release. I enjoyed the change in pace as well. This story is not running as fast as the others, and is not as over brimming with action, I mean that in a good way as well. The Garden of Death is another classic in the telling.
2.4 Jonah by Timothy X Atack
The last outing in this release set and we find the Doctor and Bliss aboard a submarine running from a similar Dalek captained submarine is in pursuit, along with a further vessel with the Cardinal aboard. Monitoring the 12, the 12 is starting to become the answer to most of what is known about this element of the time war. Her involvement with the Daleks is also under some serious question now by the authorities of Gallifrey, what exactly is she up to, and to what extent to the Daleks control her. The Doctor and Bliss have to navigate the carefully and well thought out plans and devices that she may have laid in their way to sorting out the pepperpots. The story gets you a grip and I have to admit that there was a part of me listening to this that started to think about that infamous and wonderful drama from the 80s Das Boot. The claustrophobic atmosphere that is portrayed by the environment is wonderfully enacted here by the cast. There is a part where a death among the ship’s crew to prevent the death of all, is rather gripping and made me be very aware of my own nightmares of drowning. It is a fitting end to this release
Overall there are few things to pick at with Mcgann as always the hammer is cocked and the trigger is pulled it seems like breathing to this man, with a really rather superb cast behind him all these stories flow and make for an entertaining 4 hours of storytelling. So recommendation is high on my list for this release. I am struggling with only one minor thing and that is how all of this fits in, I am hoping that this will be apparent in the coming months. But there is for me a slight thought in the back of my mind that this does not quite fit in with earlier and the time war releases, apart from the character development. But I am being incredibly picky and overly critical of the release. If you take it for what it is a four-story Doctor Who release, and of the caliber that this is then it is well worth the price.