The Fourth Doctor by Gareth Roberts

Big Finish, Special Release

The Romance of Crime

I was rather taken aback when I first heard Tom Baker and Lala Ward speaking on the same audio. Only for a moment or two but I was also impressed - Big Finish had made it actually happen! And it's a rollicking good set of stories, too. The Doctor and Romana land on an asteroid in space and go exploring. They find the inhabitants while wandering around and eventually the bad things start happening, all around Xais, a rather powerful psychopathic ex-prisoner. She managed to avert her death and stick around using a mask of helicon and she brings in the Nesbitt brothers to assist, with the obvious plan of killing them off (and vice versa, naturally). Honor among thieves and all that.

Though I enjoyed the craziness of the running around, it was on the edge of being too convoluted. I could follow it all but the voices began to sound the same about half way through and I couldn't remember who was a bad guy and who was a good guy anymore! Though people were "switching" sides left and right, from what I could tell. But maybe not. The Doctor never seemed to really be on top of things, either. Eventually he got there but he did a lot of running around as well, which is good and bad. I just didn't enjoy this story nearly as much as The English Way of Death. Plus I thought the title wasn't as clever as that one was.

Tom Baker(The Doctor),Lalla Ward(Romana),John Leeson(K9),Terrence Hardiman(Stackhouse),Derek Carlyle(Orlick),Richard Braine(Percy Closed),Abigail McKern(Felicia),Annabel Mullion(Julia),Mark Bonnar(Porteus),Tim Bentinck(Colonel Radlett),Andrew Bone(Woodrow),Jane Slavin(Harriet),

The English Way of Death

This story is a serious romp around England and other times, making it a fun and fierce story through-and-through! The Doctor wants to head to English to return some overdue books in the 1930's, when there aren't any invasions going on. So he, Romana II, and K-9 go to England where they find aliens using the Earth as a retirement location and an alien bent on blowing up the Earth for the energy released. Though that last bit takes quite awhile and the whole of the plot is centered around it. There is an unscrupulous scientist, K-9 is taken over by the alien at one point, and a few of the retiring aliens bring ray guns to the fight to make things even more interesting. What a fun story!

This story had even more people involved than The Romance of Crimebut it was easier to keep everyone straight. The voices were different enough, perhaps? Plus involving more women helped. And the alien-human interaction of the "good guys" really made for some fun dialog to listen to.

Graham Seed(Pyerpoint),Miranda Raison(Margo/Xais),Phil Mulryne(Shom, Hogan, Ogron 6),Marcus Garvey(Frank Spiggot),Michael Troughton(Stokes),James Joyce(Zy, Ogron 5, Barman),Joshua Silver(Charlie Nisbett),John Dorney(Eddie Nisbett/Ogrons),Jane Slavin(Blakemore, Bailiff, Librarian)

Writer:Gareth Roberts, adapted by John Dorney

Director: Nicholas Briggs

Release: January 2015

Laura Vilensky 2019