The Witch From the Well
Big Finish Productions main Doctor Who monthly range
of audios in "The
Company of Friends",
to start his own dedicated series of stories, the
Doctor is back in a brand new three-part mini-series
in which he is joined once again by Mary Shelley,
the author of Frankenstein.
Paul McGann returns with Julie Cox, who first played the role in "The
Company of Friends". Script Editor Alan Barnes
has revealed ‘We thought it'd be nice to
follow up on "Mary's
Story", from "The Company
of Friends". We know that Mary travelled with
the Doctor for some time, so it seemed mean not to
tell some of those missing stories!’.
story in this three-part mini-season is "The Witch
in the Well" by Rick Briggs, who was one of the
new writers showcased on the "The
Demons of Red Lodge and Other Stories" that
was released in December 2010.
Briggs came to Big Finish Productions’ attention
through their New Writers' Opportunity in 2010. Alan
Barnes has revealed ‘I was pretty much sold
as soon as Rick pitched me the title - yes, there's
witch, and yes, she comes from a well! But how and
why she got there, and how The Doctor and Mary were
involved - that's a story and a half...’.
story has been directed by Barnaby Edwards and was
recorded on the 6th and 12th April 2011.
story stars Simon Rouse (who was in The
Bill for 20 years and who also played the part
of Hindle in the 1982 Fifth
Doctor story "Kinda")
who gives a stellar performance as Master
John Kincaid, Andrew Havill (the Chief Steward
from the 2007 Tenth
Doctor story "Voyage
of the Damned") is Aleister Portillon,
Kevin Trainor (Hellboy, The
Hole and The
Catherine Tate Show) plays Lucern and Serena
Evans (The Thin Blue Line). Also starring
are: Lisa Kay and Alix Wilton Regan.
this story the Eighth Doctor's current trilogy
of travels with Mary Shelley reaches its
midpoint. ‘These stories are kind-of
sequential, but there are clearly lots of
other adventures happening in between’,
Executive Producer Nicholas Briggs has revealed. ‘What
that allows us to do is develop Mary Shelley's
character across the trilogy, and advance
her relationship with The Doctor. I think
it's fair to say that she's rather taken
with him by this point; she does develop
an emotional attachment to The Doctor’.
who plays the part of Mary Shelley, has confirmed that
this is an attachment that benefits Mary especially
with regards to her character's ongoing acclimatisation
to TARDIS travel. ‘The Doctor is a big part
of Mary's initiation, but they get separated a lot,
she has to learn to be on her own, and deal with circumstances
without being so reliant on him. That's certainly very
true of this second story. She develops and becomes
a very independent person. She actually helps him,
in the end’.
takes the TARDIS team to two different time periods. ‘"The
Witch From the Well" begins with the TARDIS landing
in the present day, at a stately home where some workmen
are unearthing an ancient seventeenth-century well’,
the story's director, Barnaby Edwards has revealed. ‘As
they do so, this evil spectral creature escapes from
the well and starts massacring people. The Doctor and
Mary Shelley have to go back in time and work out how
this creature got into the well, and whether it's an
alien or a ghost or a manifestation of whatever, and
so they go back to the time of witch-hunts in East
Anglia, to the time of witch-finders’.
With such a rich
backdrop on which to tell a Doctor Who story it is
curious why it has not been fully explored by the series
previously. ‘It's an era that's been tackled
in stories like "The Visitation" but not
something that's been done "full-on", so
it's a very nice story in that respect. Although it's
set in these two separate, parallel time periods, there
are some characters which appear in both, which is
- Featuring the Eighth
Doctor and Mary Shelley.
- Serial Number: 8A/AB
- Number of Episodes: 4
- Cover Length: 120 minutes
- Episode Lengths: 1 = 25'44", 2 =
30'56", 3 = 26'45", 4 = 24'45"
- Total Length: 108'10"
- Also features 24 minutes of trailers, music
and special behind-the-scenes interviews with
cast and producers
- This story takes place after "Doctor
Who: The Movie"
- Cover Illustration: Alex Mallinson
- Recorded: 6th and 12th April 2011
- Recording Location: Moat Studios
- Released: November 2011
- ISBN: 978-1-84435-602-7
On the Back Cover:
A shrieking, killing nightmare erupts from an overgrown
well, hidden in the grounds of an old house, Tranchard’s
Folly – and Mary Shelley, the Doctor’s
latest travelling companion, rescues teenage twins
Finicia and Lucern from the clutches of the monster.
a TARDIS trip in search of the origin of the horror
goes terribly wrong when the Doctor, Mary and their
two new friends find themselves stuck in the middle
of a seventeenth-century witch scare.
the Doctor investigates the strange lights at Vetter’s
Tor, and the twins go in search of an artefact from
the Hecatrix Dimension, Mary confronts the secrets
of her past… and her future. The truth will out:
Master Kincaid, the terrible Witch-Pricker himself,
|On the Inside Cover:
"I began that day
with the words. It was on a dreary night of November,
only a transcript of the grim terrors of my waking
Mary Shelley, in her introduction to Frankenstein's
popular third edition. (A snip at just six shillings!)
So it's satisfyingly appropriate to find her sharing
this run of new adventures with a character first seen
on another dreary November night, more than 130 years
as the best heroes are the ones blundering about and
generally putting their foot in it, so the best villains
are those who truly believe we'd all sympathise with
their goals - if we could only see things from their
perspective. The heartbreak and carnage they inflict
has a purpose, you see, and one day we'll all realise
how right they were.
So here we are, clocking up another
November. And here are Paul and Julie, being brilliant.
This is my very first full-length Doctor Who adventure
(with cliffhangers and everything!), so I'm inordinately
grateful to them - to everyone, in fact, who's breathed
life into these words on a page and made them into
something far more exciting.
The great science fiction guru Arthur
C Clarke formulated three laws of prediction and prophecy,
the third of which states that 'any sufficiently
advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic'.
A perfect example of Clarke's Third
Law can be found in the very first Doctor Who story,
Unearthly Child, where the Doctor is taken for
a magical being when he strikes a match in front
of a caveman. He's had brushes with the dark arts
ever since, and always it is science rather than
sorcery which is the explanation.
I think Rick Briggs's script adds something new to
the mix is in concentrating on people's reactions
to witchcraft, not on the acts themselves. We see
villains manipulating forces they don't understand
and victims falling foul of ignorance and prejudice.
Placing the Doctor and Mary at the heart of this
political and moral maelstrom is thrilling.
| Full Cast List:
|Master John Kincaid
||Alix Wilton Regan
| Janek/Cornet Swallow
The Production Team:
||Nicholas Briggs and Jason Haigh-Ellery