Wednesday, 17 August 2016


Strength to strength is perhaps the best way to describe this box set. Big Finish continues their Doctor Who rollercoaster year with Kate Stewart, Osgood and the new (more competent) UNIT team. From shop window dummies to ninja aliens, UNIT continues the fight in Shutdown!

But let’s do away with the bad first…because there isn’t much of it. In fact, a lot of the things I mentioned in the last review seem to have been mended this season. For instance, the “Kate Stewart is related to the Brigadier” references are almost non-existent. It’s almost like everybody understands that we get it now. Unfortunately Kate as a character isn’t developed that much, but listeners are treated to her struggles with higher-ups and the bureaucratic red tape she has to contend with from time to time.

For those interested, this series takes place after The Day of the Doctor, though we aren’t clued in to which Osgood we’re dealing with here, but that just doesn’t matter as she continues to impress me. Osgood is constantly put in alien environments by the writers, either physically or emotionally, and that does wonders for a character I once considered a ‘cardboard fangirl stereotype’. Her budding, steadily will-they-won’t-they relationship with Josh Carter is some of the series’ highlights. I am very much on the Josood bandwagon.

Speaking of, my absolute favourite character continues to be Josh Carter. He may be the stereotypical action hero, but James Joyce is just so entertaining and the material is just so rich that I don’t mind. This series partners him more with Kate and through that dynamic presents us with a very unique-ish Brigadier/Benton relationship that a joy to hear.

Not necessarily a bad thing, but Sam Bishop still hasn’t made much of an impression on me. So little in fact that I’m not saying anything more about him. Moving on!

The threat this time around is the Tengobushi, a race of ninja-like aliens. Whereas the Autons were slow and uncoordinated, the Tengobushi are lightning bruisers that, while not quite on the level of Weeping Angels, still manage to give the UNIT team a run for their money. I should mention that they only become entertaining at the halfway mark. Before that, they kept reminding me of the Autons in that they didn’t seem to do much except be minions for somebody else. Thankfully this changes in episode 3.

If you’ve listened to UNIT: Extinction, then you’ll have noticed that a lot of the same plot formulas get recycled, albeit in more inventive ways. Because of this, the box set does run the risk of alienating listeners who want something completely new every season. But hey, if it ain’t broke…

So which set is stronger I hear you ask? Well unlike Doom Coalition where S1 was excellent/S2 was meh and The War Doctor Adventures where S1 was meh/S2 was phenomenal, I can honestly say that UNIT: Shutdown carries the same creativity and entertainment value that it’s predecessor does. It is thoroughly entertaining, it is spellbindingly fun to listen to and I highly recommend you pick it up. You won’t be disappointed.

In November the UNIT folk get their ‘mind wiping’ comeuppances when they take on the…the…sorry readers. It’s just that…I seem to have forgotten the name of UNIT’s next adversary. Give me a moment of Silence to jog my memory…

Don't forget to pick up your copy of my new novel "Deathday Clock".

Sebastian Strange comes under attack by a mysterious assailant with resources both financial and temporal. The only thing keeping him alive is a fob watch which can predict his time of death.

Available now at Amazon for $6,83.

Monday, 15 August 2016


Moving Target

Episode 4 of Big Finish’s second season of Torchwood brings back Indira Varma’s Suzie Costello in Moving Target, written by Guy Adams. It also features Alex, played by Naomi McDonald, a human caught up in an extraterrestrial game hunt. Her only hope of survival? You guessed it.

I’m going to be brutally honest and say that choosing Suzie Costello to return feels like scratching the bottom of the barrel. I never liked the character on television. Suzie made so little impression on me that I had to go look up who she was on Tardis Wikia when it was announced she’d be returning. But Big Finish has turned redeeming nonredeemable characters into an art form so I was willing to give Moving Target a shot. Suffice to say they missed.

This story’s biggest flaw is perhaps the fact that it makes a really unlikable character the star and partners her with an equally annoying co-star. But credit where it’s due. Naomi McDonald plays a really realistic Alex. To the point where I wish she’d been a little more animated. Alex at times made the story feel like a gritty reality show. Nicholas Burns plays the Referee, really pompous, but tremendously entertaining character who mocks and ridicules the cast in a very Dream Lord-esque manner.

The plot is really creative I will grant you. Freezing time so a bunch of alien game hunters can hunt down a human prey for sport feels ordinary, but I can’t recall another Doctor Who story which featured this as the main plot. Unfortunately, the story contradicts itself really badly when Suzie questions the legality of killing people all willy-nilly. The Referee answers that they are within their legal rights, but the story ignores the THING which sent the Atraxi packing in The Eleventh Hour: Earth is a level-5 world. Hunting for sport should be illegal given this status and for some reason this stayed with me throughout the episode.

The narrative itself is quite predictable. It doesn’t take a genius to predict the climax, but I will toot my own horn and say I got to the answer roughly thirty minutes before it actually happened. If you’ve watched episode 1 of Torchwood, you should be able to as well.

The story itself drags in the middle, as though the writer wasn’t sure how to move the narrative from its current point to the next. This makes Moving Target feel like a much longer story than it actually is. In fact, this story could’ve been condensed to thirty minutes. It would’ve done wonders for the pacing.

Moving Target provides a lot of foreshadowing to Suzie’s eventual fate, to the point where you could say that the reason They Keep Killing Suzie happened is because of Moving Target.

For the most part, this story is filler, but not one of my favourites. It would be worth your time if you’re a fan of Suzie Costello, but you don’t run the risk of missing any important information regarding the Committee, who seem to be slowly transitioning into a throwaway line as opposed to an actual character(s).


Joseph Lidster presents…Broken! A better name for this story would’ve been ‘Fixed’ as this is exactly the kind of story I needed to hear to get those Torchwood juices flowing. Broken in many ways embodies what Torchwood is about. It has heart. It has soul. Great character dynamics, real world problems and a careful handling of sensitive matters. I’ve never been that hardcore of a Jack/Ianto fan, but I suspect had this story made it into Season One in 2006, I might just have turned out to be one.

Ever wondered how Ianto forgave Jack for killing his Cyber-girlfriend in that ridiculously stupid Cyber(wo)man episode? How do the Torchwood team cope with and adjust to the things they’ve seen? If a bunch of cannibals almost cut you up, would you be able to brush it off and head back into work the next morning with a huge smile on your face? Probably not, but how long would it take? What would it take? Broken asks and answers most of these questions in an emotionally fragile, but sympatric story which did make me bawl at least once.

The majority of this story takes place in a pub with a glass of alcohol in hand, but quickly takes the listener on a trip inside the mind of one of the most messed up characters in Torchwood – Ianto Jones. Broken highlights just how miserable, depressed and frustrated he really is, as well as people like him. At times it may come across as a grown man whining and complaining about stuff adults should be used to, but aren’t we all like that? How many days end with us complaining about our boss to our family and friends? Well Ianto doesn’t really have much in the way of family (or does he), so he does what any other person in his position has been known to do…complain to the girl who serves you your drinks. And I must say that the conversations between Gareth’s Ianto and Melanie Walters’ Mandy Aibiston were really good. Real, proper, 3-dimensional discussions. It’s sort of the opposite of Moving Target which somehow tried to be too realistic and gritty. Broken always feels like a piece of fiction, but a really believable, ‘real’ piece of fiction.

I didn’t listen to the trailer for Broken so I had no idea what it would be about, but Lidster’s script succeeds in making you feel so many different emotions, all at the right time. It really is one of the best character stories we’ve had.

And that’s not even touching the plot twists. While not as plentiful as some others, Lidster’s script did manage to throw me for a loop more than once. The man has a way with a narrative curveball, but that’s no surprise given his previous scripts such as The Reaping (darkest Cybermen story EVER), Master and The Nightmare Man.

I highly recommend you pick up Broken, but be warned it’s even more completely standalone and filler than Moving Target. But at least the characters are more likable.

Don't forget to pick up your copy of my new novel "Deathday Clock".

Sebastian Strange comes under attack by a mysterious assailant with resources both financial and temporal. The only thing keeping him alive is a fob watch which can predict his time of death.

Available now at Amazon for $6,83.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016


Hey guys!

Just wanted to share the good news. My novel "Deathday Clock" is finally available on Amazon for $6.83. This Murder Mystery/Time Travel adventure revolves around Sebastian Strange who invents the Deathday Clock, an instrument which can predict his exact time of death. This is awesome as someone is stalking him in not just three, BUT four dimensions.

Official synopsis reads:

"Fifty years ago, the Pride murders began. Men, women and children were brutally massacred in their homes and in the streets. 

Twenty years ago, Sebastian Strange is born, signalling an end to the killings. 

Five years ago, having survived numerous attempts on his life; Sebastian develops the Deathday Clock: An instrument capable of predicting his exact time of death.
Now, Sebastian finds himself attacked by friend and foe alike. Matters turn dire when the Deathday Clock keeps defaulting to the same ninety day period. Sebastian only has three months to discover how and why this is happening or risk a final, permanent end."


Saturday, 12 March 2016



Doom Coalition series one introduced us to one of the most if not the most creative villains Doctor Who has ever produced in the Eleven, a criminal Time Lord with a personality defect that allows all ten of his other incarnations to live on inside his mind. Doom Coalition 2 continues the Eighth Doctor’s quest to capture the Eleven.

Thursday, 3 March 2016



Now this feels more like a Time War boys and girls! The second War Doctor Box Set sees John Hurt’s non-Doctor battling the Daleks across three stories in a trilogy that feels very much like a war in which time is the most prominent weapon available.

Sunday, 21 February 2016


Torchwood’s first audio series by Big Finish comes to a close with More Than This, a story which sees Gwen Cooper take Roger Pugh for a Day-In-The-Life-of-a-Torchwood-Agent ride along so that she can get the necessary building permits approved for the new Torchwood base. She’s resurrecting the Institute from the ground up and she isn’t letting anyone get in her way…not even boring storytelling.

Thursday, 18 February 2016


The Fifth Doctor trilogy kicks it into high gear with the second installment, delivering a very different wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey tale.