1. 100 BC
Author: Jacqueline Rayner
Roots: Twelfth Night ('If Music be the food of love') The Doctor plays Greensleeves
Goofs: How does the Doctor play Greensleeves — on a portable gramophone?
Continuity: Evelyn stumbles with her understanding of the pre-Julian calendar. She has never seen a newborn baby before, and being childless herself, it bothers her that her own family line ends with her.
The Doctor says that delivering a child isn't within his area of expertise. His leaving the TARDIS manual lying around means that Evelyn is able to work out how to override the ship's locked doors. Her claims the TARDIS doesn't 'do' BC, hence the confusion in their skipping forward in time rather than back (we might infer the Doctor is really seriously absent-minded for no apparent reason).
Links: Inside the Spaceship (The Fast Return switch)
Location: Rome, 101 BC
The Bottom Line: "I'm all for being present while history is being made, but I think this is too close"
Not a great start, offering another shaky example of Big Finish's hit-and-miss approach to comedy. The story is based on a mistake so ridiculous you wish you could strike the Doctor's head on the TARDIS console and not only fix the problem but shorten his era to teach him a lesson. The less said about Evelyn's irritatingly smug attempts to sabotage recoded time for the benefit of womanhood, the better.
2. My Own Private Wolfgang
Author: Rob Shearman
Roots: Mention is made of The Magic Flute and of course Mozart's Requiem. A remake of The Italian Job is also mentioned (presumably not the 2003 remake). Happy Days (Mozart 'jumps the shark'). Guest star John Sessions likens the story to the myth of Tithonus, particularly Tennyson's poem of him.
Dialogue Triumphs: "My future music - will it be like this pastry?" "Oh even worse, once you discover hip-hop."
Double Entendres: "I especially like the 'diddly-dum' bit in the middle"
"Nothing's ever going to touch your Requiem"
Technobabble: Time travel involves 'warp fields' (don't get too close to one)
Continuity: Mozart did the (frankly poor) soundtrack to a remake of The Italian Job, and according to Evelyn every entry he made to the Eurovision Song Contest was rubbish.
The Mozarts here are clones (there are around eight-hundred thousand in the world), complete with self-replicating blood - a good thing, but an expensive upgrade, making the model quite popular and a luxury (especially the 'deluxe' child model), and causing it to fall from favour quickly as it became unfashionable.
Future History: By the 28th century cloning is child's play, and time travel is also possible for the human race, with seemingly little consequence (besides Mozart's work being strictly bargain bin material).
The Bottom Line: "Heaven help me - it's me again!"
So very silly, but, thankfully, all good fun — and the better for being a short story. Sessions is more disciplined here than his turn in Death Comes to Time (and, indeed, Castle of Fear), but perhaps it's the challenge of multiple roles that's to be credited. It's his show at the end of the day, with a minimum of input from Baker and Stables required.
3. Bedtime Story
Author: Joseph Lidster
Roots: Sleeping Beauty. Oranges and Lemons is sung as a lullaby. There is a reference to Jamie's School Dinners. 'Heartbeat' was shot down the road.
Dialogue Triumphs: "So you two are... friends?" "Oh, not like that dear — he's far too old for me!"
Continuity: The (unnamed) shape changing alien was first encountered by Tobias Williams in 1695, who fell in love with it while it took the form of a young woman, but once it revealed its secret Williams accused it of witchcraft publicly and it was apparently burned at the stake. The alien being impervious to fire however, survived the ordeal and continued its long life, swearing and acting out its revenge of a curse of a hundred years of sleep for any of his descendants upon the death of another. The curse is administered though a drug consumed in drink — the Doctor is unable to synthesise an antidote, but takes the surviving victims out of time until such time as they can be returned to Earth, having woken again [See: Untelevised Adventures]
Evelyn had quite the reputation for the speed at which she could down a pint of Guinness.
Location: Yorkshire, possibly Goathland (based on the Heartbeat mention) or near Barnsely, the present day.
Untelevised Adventures. The Doctor takes the stricken family members out into space and 'shows' them the wonders of the Universe. We can infer that this takes him up to a hundred years.
The Bottom Line: Creepy. An effective script from Lidster and a great use of Frank Findlay in a sort of fairy-tale within a fairy-tale. Not the most cheery of endings (the Doctor and Evelyn essentially achieve nothing despite their best efforts), and Evelyn herself is underused to fit more of the story in, but if you're prepared to forgive that, it's a strong entry.
4. 100 Days of the Doctor
Author: Paul Cornell
Roots: D.O.A. While The Doctor and Evelyn are in the frontier saloon a piano plays The Yellow Rose of Texas. The Unbound Doctor's adventure concerning a terrorist with Krynoid pods recalls an early plot outline for Cornell's Human Nature.
Intertextuality: Beyond the core Big Finish Doctors this story also references the Sarah Jane Smith audios, Adventures of Bernice Summerfield, the 'Unbound', UNIT and Gallifrey series. Irving Braxiatel, teasingly hinted at being the Doctor's brother, takes his name from the eponymous collection in City of Death and originated as a character in Justin Richards' New Adventure Theatre of War.
The Doctor's observation that he believes that what's 'right' is often the exact opposite of what the majority think it is mirrors Colin Baker's own impression of the Doctor in general, and perhaps his Doctor especially, as offered in More Than Thirty years in the TARDIS
Goofs: A missed retcon from the script editor — Evelyn fails to recognise the Seventh Doctor and a picture of Hex in Thicker Than Water despite having seen both in this story (released after Thicker Than Water but placed before its events).
The Doctor, observing C'rizz, says he's never had a non-humanoid travel with him before. Perhaps this means that the two Big Finish Frobisher stories should be placed after Evelyn's departure, but what about K-9?
Dialogue Triumphs: The virus speaking through the Doctor: "We have control over the speech centres and the mouth - that was a particularly difficult battle"
The Doctor on the virus: "there's nothing more boring than a touch of the sniffles with ideas above its station!"
The Doctor on his Fifth incarnation: "Being him was like a holiday. A very wonderful holiday"
The Doctor on his Seventh incarnation: "From what I've heard he was always blowing up planets. And they call me the aggressive one!"
The Doctor on himself: "I'm about being many different things at once, continuing in all sorts of ways — including, especially, the unpopular ways"
Double Entendres: Cornell squeezes in the Big Finish references with a mention of Braxiatel "Up to his neck in Gallifrey"
Continuity: The Texineurons is an intelligent virus, a highly expensive weapon of revenge set upon the Doctor after he caused great irritation to its creators, the Grand Tex of the Tharsis Acumen (see: Untelevised Adventures). The Tharsis Acumen was a technocracy, a civilisation ruled by scientists and riddled with bureaucracy. They only lasted a few centuries, did not develop time travel and were geographically limited to one spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy. Some time within the last ten years of the Doctor's life the Acumen paid an assassin to fire a micro-dart containing a culture of the Texineurons into his skin. The virus is programmed to systematically shut down the Doctor's bodily functions over a hundred days in a manner intended to cause him the maximum possible suffering.
Little is revealed about the Doctor's assassin, save for his gadgetry, including a teleport device, camouflage equipment (possibly holographic)?), and space ship. In their hunt for him the Doctor and Evelyn see (but do not meet) the Fifth Doctor, Peri and Erimem at the inauguration of the Three-Bodied Lustresness of the Vyx.; the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex on a rain forest planet; and the Eighth Doctor, Charley and C'rizz and The Eighth Doctor and Lucie together in frontier America in the 1870s. Taking a 'side step' they safely encounter an alternative Doctor (see: Links) and 'his' Brigadier.
Not wishing to speak ill of his Fifth self the Doctor merely reveals to Evelyn that this incarnation is interested in sport and has terrible dress sense (Evelyn likes the sound of him already). He later admits to having enjoyed that incarnation, but insists that despite his then popularity he has a higher regard for being many different things at once — sometimes that means being unpopular. The Doctor also recalls Erimem's positive impression on Peri after her arrival, providing some contentment for him.
While monitoring his previous self the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn visit six other planets (spending a week on one while the earlier incarnation is painting) and share six more sightings of the Doctor's earlier travels.
The Doctor recognises his next incarnation (see: Links). and is fascinated by his future self's confidence and forward planning, and his preparedness to do things his current self would never do. He says he is often happiest with a family of companions around him. Realising his seventh self is 'teaching' his companions , the Doctor is surprised, having heard he's more known for blowing up planets.
Of Braxiatel the Doctor says the only thing he will be good for is being condescending and looking after himself. Evelyn admits that she didn't really like the look of him and thought he was untrustworthy, but recalls having some wonderful chats with Bernice Summerfield in the Doctor's absence. She did think Bernice drank rather too much and had some relationship issues.
As an 'Unbound' Third Doctor the Doctor's alternative counterpart and 'his' Brigadier and version of UNIT have just 'saved the United Nations' from an individual holding them to ransom with Krynoid pods. The Doctor notes that this version of himself enjoys his exile on Earth. It is implied that this Doctor happily sacrificed his dimensional controller to allow the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn to escape his world
Of his current incarnation the Doctor says he was initially worried that life in this current body would be short and sweet. He meditates to control the pain coursing through his body, but the trauma shows in his appearance nonetheless.
Links: The Chase (the Doctor claims the Time Lords watch him on a Time-Space Visualiser) The Apocalypse Element (Evelyn recalls Gallifreyan politics). The Doctor recognises his immediate future incarnation — likely from The Sirens of Time. The 'Unbound' Doctor featured here is that played by David Warner in Sympathy for the Devil and Masters of War. Krynoids first appeared in The Seeds of Doom.
Untelevised Adventures: The Doctor and Evelyn have just recently evaded a lengthy interrogation by the Inquisitor of Shraam.
Whilst visiting the Tharsis Acumen the Doctor discovered attending an opera that the Acumen were conducting scientific experiments on political prisoners. Contriving to be imprisoned himself he formed a small theatre troupe and performed (the Doctor says he "sold" in the role) as the title character in a prison production of Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children, used his proximity to hack into the prison Commandant's computer and free the prisoners through the city sewers.
The Doctor and Evelyn both recall one of their recent adventures helping Braxiatel and Benny with an archaeological dig on a sand planet — the actual place where the assassin struck with a tracer.
The Doctor was eventually struck by his assailant on a volcanic planet with a very clear atmosphere, ideal conditions for the assassin's camouflage device. The Doctor and Evelyn had spent one of the Doctor's favourite days flying kites with local people.
Locations: Various, including the American Western frontier, 1870s (the Eighth Doctor) and an alternative Earth.
The Bottom Line: "It's good to have mellowed. To have had a chance to explore. To be me."
The highlight of the collection, and a proper whirlwind that balances whimsy with cleverness better than the first disc's offerings. Cornell notes in the CD extras that he has happily now completed stories for all the Big Finish Doctors, and he does this charitably to an incarnation he has professed in the past to dislike — rendering him recognisably fallible but also likeable, the typical Big Finish version, and giving him well over a hundred days' more life in his adventures.