Joseph A. Morrison
23. Fan of Doctor Who, Blake's 7, The Prisoner and more old-fashioned TV. Reviewer, wannabe writer and general twit.
Sherlock Holmes: The Ordeals of Sherlock Holmes Review
After the success of the Jonathan Barnes-penned "The Adventure of the Perfidious Mariner" in 2012, Big Finish gave Barnes the keys to the kingdom of Sherlock Holmes. The first of Barnes' contributions since was "The Ordeals of Sherlock Holmes", a four-hour box-set with stories set throughout the Holmes cannon. And, I'll put my cards on the table right now - these might be my favourite Sherlock Holmes stories in any medium, be it film, TV, prose or audio. They have the true heart and soul of the original Conan Doyle stories, but feel fresh and new and exciting, and together they make for something very, very special.
Love for the Third Doctor Who
Recently, I have been watching a lot of Doctor Who. Starting out as a way to get through the pandemic, I was watching a large number of random classic series stories during the first UK lockdown; then, during the second lockdown, I picked two seasons from the 1980's. However, when the third lockdown was announced, I fancied doing something a little more ambitious, and a little more structured. And then, I hit upon a bit of a brainwave: why not marathon a whole Doctor's era, one episode each day? After all, it was a natural step after the previous marathons, and it was something I had never done before. But would I be able to keep it up? I am notorious for starting things, and then just abandoning them when they start to get old, or in the way of new projects. But I was determined that this would be different: that I would see this through to the end. And so, I decided to do it. And the Doctor I picked was Jon Pertwee. Originally the Doctor between 1970 and 1974, this is a well-respected and well-loved era of the show, by me especially, and I knew that it would be a lot of fun. What I didn't anticipate was quite how much fun it would be, how I would gain a whole new appreciation of it, and, ultimately, how much support it would be during the tough times ahead.
Sherlock Holmes: The Hound of the Baskervilles Review
Big Finish Productions' range of Sherlock Holmes plays started out as a mix of adaptations of plays featuring the detective, new material and original Conan Doyle stories. Over time, this approach changed, with the range committing to new, original-to-audio stories (mostly written by Jonathan Barnes). However, one of the most notable adaptations Big Finish worked on before this change was "The Hound of the Baskervilles". The most famous story to feature the great detective, "Hound of the Baskervilles" has gone on to have a huge legacy behind it, including a large number of high-profile film and TV adaptations all across the globe. With this version, however, Big Finish have taken a 'back-to-basics' approach, returning to the source material and sticking to it rigidly. As such, this is one of the purest versions of the story out there, and, dare I say it, one of the best.
Jackie Lane Tribute
As many of you reading this may have heard, on the 23rd of June it was announced that Jackie Lane had passed away. Born in 1941, she had made a number of appearances in various BBC productions, including a role in the soap opera Compact, before coming to the attention of the Doctor Who production office for the role of Susan Foreman, the Doctor's granddaughter, when the show launched in 1963. However, at the time, Lane wasn't interested in committing to a year-long role, and passed on the opportunity. However, when the role of Dodo Chaplet came up in 1966, she accepted, and she was introduced in the final episode of "The Massacre".
Doctor Who: The War Doctor - Infernal Devices Review
After the huge success of "Only the Monstrous", the onus was on the second box-set to deliver something just as exciting, but something that also upped the ante and brought lots new to the table. And, while not quite the roaring success the first set was, "Infernal Devices" is a still a fantastic collection of stories that push both the War Doctor and the Time War into new directions. While not as strongly linked together as the first set, and with a more variable tone, this still has plenty of elements to enjoy, especially if you like your Doctor Who to have lots of variety.
Doctor Who: The War Doctor - Only the Monstrous Review
Back when Big Finish first gained the rights to Doctor Who content post-2005, one of the most headline grabbing projects was The War Doctor series. After "Day of the Doctor", I think most Doctor Who fans would never have expected the late John Hurt to return to the role even on TV, never mind in the spin-off audio dramas created by Big Finish Productions. However, we got just that, and Big Finish produced four box-sets for the character, before Hurt sadly passed away from cancer in early 2017. The first of these, "Only the Monstrous" set the stall for everything that was to come, with a gripping portrayal of a universe at war, high stakes, compelling characters, and some of the finest sound design and post-production work Big Finish has ever committed to shiny CD.
Doctor Who - Engines of War Review
In Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary special "The Day of the Doctor", the show introduced a hitherto unknown incarnation of the Doctor who had fought in the oft-mentioned Last Great Time War. Lying between the eras of Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor and Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor, stage and screen legend John Hurt brought a whole new incarnation of the character to life, and, in the process, blew open the doors to a whole new, unexplored era of the show. In 75 minutes, he created a character that was begging to be explored beyond "Day of the Doctor", and helped revitalise the concept of the Time War, which, by that time, was feeling a little bit dull and well-trodden. And, while it would be up to Big Finish and Titan Comics to do a lot of the heavy-lifting for this Doctor, BBC Books did actually make the first move on fleshing out this version of the character with the novel "Engines of War". Penned by Doctor Who alumni George Mann, this is a novel that gives us a fantastic insight into an era of the show that many thought would never be explored, while showing what led this Doctor towards how he planned to end the Time War at the beginning of "Day of the Doctor".
The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie: Review
If anyone could be considered the progenitor of the modern crime novel, it surely must be Agatha Christie. Her work has been one that many have sought to emulate over the years: authors like Ruth Rendell, Colin Wexford and so many others owe their careers in fiction to Christie. Like what Ian Flemming did for spy novels, Christie defined the genre as we know it today. And, in Hercule Poirot, she created the very definition of the modern super sleuth: smart, dry, slightly eccentric, but always observant and sharp. One of the most famous Poirot stories is, of course, 'The ABC Murders', and it is one that has been adapted for stage and screen many times. And, reading the original novel, it is clear why this is one of the most celebrated stories in Christie's oeuvre. A fast-paced and exciting book, with plenty of twists and turns, this is crime fiction at its best, and serves to remind the audience of how great the genre is, regardless of the detective in charge of the investigation.