The Sixth Doctor - The Last Adventure

Big Finish - Special Release

The End of the Line

-by- Simon Barnard and Paul Morris

I like the concepts – there is a central train station where trains keep ending up in the dark, eventually being broken and deteriorating. With the people turning on each other or just disappearing. So there are 4 people on a train, then the Doctor and Constance Clarke, his newest companion in the Big Finish series, show up. And there are deaths and chaos outside of the train but what’s causing it? No one seems to know. Then a train spotter, Keith Potter, turns up and people start wandering off.

Well, it turns out that Keith Potter is an avatar – a representation of the Master who is taking over the train depot in order to get access to an infinite number of realities. He always has a scheme! But there is someone else even more powerful working behind the scenes who puts him in his place – the Valeyard. And we see the real villain of this entire box set in action and wow, he’s an evil version of the Doctor and he is REALLY powerful. He is what the Doctor could be if he had his own self-interest at heart alone. Nice to know that the Doctor, conflicted as he can be, is on “our” side!

This story tries to show off the strength of the Master, the 6th Doctor, Constance, and the Valeyard but only succeeds obliquely – we just see hints of them all but we fill in the blanks ourselves. There are very good concepts here but the train station idea just ends up not working for me. There’s too much running around and figuring out what’s going on. And I really didn’t find Constance too useful in this story. Meh. I don’t see how she could be the equal of the Doctor – yet. I will have time to in the future!

The Red House

-by- Alan Barnes

Now THIS is an interesting and unique story. Charley and the Doctor land on a planet where there are wolf people wandering the streets, all afraid to go out during the day as sunlight turns them into *gasp* humans. And proto-humans at that, according to the Doctor. Charley and the Doctor are separated almost immediately, with the Doctor ending up in the forest with the wolf kids who want to retain their human side while Charley ends up at the Red House. And there’s a human Dr. Paignton at the Red House doing “experiments” on the wolves to take away their humanity. So the Doctor and Charley ultimately both want to save them. But it gets complicated, naturally.

And so the Valeyard saves Charley, which doesn’t quite work for me. Why bother? He doesn’t care about life, ultimately. He’s more ruthless than the Master so why save Charley? Maybe so she’s a distraction, allowing him to steal the machine at the red house that erases humanity from someone. Then everyone eventually meets up and we find out the real purpose of the Red House – to placate the humans on the main land. And the logic of the rebel wolf leader doesn’t make much sense either but it’s not distracting. The only thing I also question is why the Valeyard saves the wolves. There’s really no reason for him to divert the disaster but he does. Very strange and it’s not explained in any future story either. Very strange. But I liked this story of reverse transformation, and the cops with the correct bullets for the correct form. Very clever!

Stage Fright

-by- Matt Fitton

Now this story is the gem of the collection for me! Flip meets Jago and Litefoot, as well as Ellie Higson, the most wonderful, long-lived barmaid around. The Doctor arrives in Victorian London intent on taking Flip to a show at Jago’s theater. But it’s being rented out by a Mr. Yardvale, where he’s sucking the actors who show up to “audition” for his plays dry. And the plays turn out to be scenes from each of the Doctor’s regeneration stories. Very odd. So the team runs around London looking for clues to what’s going on, with various people being “trapped” by the schemes of Mr. Yardvale. So we know where the machine from The Red House went but not the purpose of all of this draining.

Until the end, where the Valeyard takes the stolen energy and runs off in his TARDIS while the Doctor and friends have to clean up the mess left behind after the prototype machine explodes. The best part is Flip in this story – she faces her fear of the stage to help the Doctor face his. And it really is a beautiful moment. I do with Flip and the 6th Doctor would do more stories together! It’s a mismatched team but yet perfect together. And we discover that all of these shenanigans were to “power up” the Valeyard, allowing him enough power to put his plans in action for the Doctor.

The Brink of Death

-by- Nicholas Briggs

Though I enjoyed this story and found it well matched to the actual TV story of the 6th Doctor’s regeneration, the story’s ending just fizzles for me. I did shed a tear for the 6th Doctor when he died and the Valeyard’s plan really is ingenious and all encompassing. He surpasses the Master in scope and scale of the disaster he attempts to unleash on the Time Lords! Though how no one notices is a bit of a mystery. And how one species, the Nathemus, can “duplicate” the Valeyard well enough to replace all Time Lords with him is a bit far-fetched. They are just supposed to think of him and push those thoughts into the Matrix? Okay. But how does that replace the people with the Valeyard exactly? And how can he focus on all of them at once? And how does that give him so much power? I would think that it might fracture him mentally and drain him physically.

I did enjoy the story, though Mel really doesn’t have much of a part in it. Genesta is more like the 6th Doctor’s companion for the story. The actual regeneration “scene” is quite touching, too. And the tension should ratchet up as there is less and less time left of the 6th Doctor’s life throughout the story. It does somewhat but since I knew he would die at the end of the story, it didn’t have the effect it should have. For once I knew the Doctor would die and it was inevitable. So I just didn’t mind the tension building because I knew the ending, no matter what. A good conceit for the story but it just didn’t make me love it more. The 6th Doctor is one of my top 3 Doctors (along with Patrick Troughton and Matt Smith) and I’m very happy he got his purposefulregeneration story. Hurray for Big Finish!

The End of the Line

Colin Baker(The Doctor),Miranda Raison(Constance Clarke),Anthony Howell(Tim Hope),Chris Finney(Keith Pottter),Ony Uhiara(Alice Lloyd),Hamish Clark(Norman),Maggie Service(Hilary Ratchett)

The Red House

Colin Baker(The Doctor),India Fisher(Charlotte Pollard),Michael Jayston(The Valeyard),Ashley McGuire(Sergeant),Andree Bernard(Dr Paignton/Constable),Rory Keenan(Ugo),Jessie Buckley(Lina),Kieran Hodgson(Arin/Dennis)

Stage Fright

Colin Baker(The Doctor),Lisa Greenwood(Flip),Christopher Benjamin(Henry Jago), Trevor Baxter(George Litefoot),Lisa Bowerman(Ellie Higson),Michael Jayston(The Valeyard),Andree Bernard(Susie/Sylvie),Lizzie Roper(Bella)

The Brink of Death

Colin Baker(The Doctor),Bonnie Langford(Melanie Bush),Michael Jayston(The Valeyard),Liz White(Genesta),Robbie Stevens(Coordinator Storin/Nathemus 1),Susan Earnshaw(Lorelas/Nathemus 2)
With a Special Appearance by:Sylvester McCoy(The Seventh Doctor)

Writers: Nicholas Briggs, Alan Barnes, Matt Fitton, Simon Barnard, Paul Morris Director: Nicholas Briggs

Release: August 2015

Laura Vilensky 2019