Heading into the back half of Series 11, Doctor Who's new cast and crew seemed to be finding their feet rather nicely. The cast gelling together more with every passing episode, while the writers seemed to be getting more confident in writing for a new, more crowded, Team TARDIS. The seventh episode, Pete McTighe's "Kerblam!" offers up a prime example of the new format, telling a story very much in keeping with the series.
Warning: Potential spoilers for the episode ahead.
For fans of 21st-century Doctor Who, few characters have left an impact the way Captain Jack Harkness has. Played by the incomparable John Barrowman and introduced in 2005's "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances," he's gone on to be a sizable presence through numerous appearances, a spin-off series in the form of Torchwood, and even a mention in the 50th-anniversary special. He's also found a home on audio, with Barrowman reprising the role for Big Finish Productions since their Torchwood range kicked off in 2015. Even so, there are parts of this immortal wanderer's life left unaccounted for still, opening up new storytelling avenues. The Lives of Captain Jack offers up just such opportunities, and the second set, released in June 2019, also gives Jack a chance to do something he'd never get to do on-screen: interact with one of the Doctors from classic Who.
Warning: Potential spoilers for the episode below.
Back in 2003, when the idea of Doctor Who coming back on television seemed unlikely, Big Finish engaged in a rather interesting experiment. They created a series of audio dramas "unbound" from the constraints of the show's regular continuity, asking "what if?" a fair number of scenarios had taken place. The first of which, penned by Marc Platt and titled Auld Mortality, explored what might have happened if the Doctor and his granddaughter Susan had never left Gallifrey. Then, in early 2005 just as New Who was getting ready to air, Big Finish returned to that Doctor and Susan with a sequel, one that took the tropes of the First Doctor era, and turned them on their head.
In 2015, Big Finish Productions took a bit of a gamble when they released the first set of Third Doctor Adventures with actor Tim Trealor stepping into the shoes of Jon Pertwee's legendary incarnation of the Time Lord. The result was a success that has spawned a range of stories with Trealor acting alongside Katy Manning, herself reprising her role of companion Jo Grant from the early 1970s. And yet, for fans of this era of Doctor Who, there has perhaps been a sense of something missing without the inclusion of the fuller UNIT team. So it is that Big Finish once again has rolled the dice to an extent with two more characters from the era finding themselves portrayed by new performers in this, the fifth volume of the series, as well as the addition of another figure making their debut in the range. It's a lot, to be sure, but does it work?