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Audio - The Burning Prince

The Burning Prince
(John Dorney)

In January 2009 Big Finish Productions started splitting its main Doctor Who range into three-story mini-series. Sometimes, the releases were linked only loosely. Often though, they formed a definite trilogy. But always, they featured the same Doctor and companion(s) throughout.

The final mini-series of 2012 though is a little different. Each of the three stories features a different Doctor - the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh - starting with the second release in September with Peter Davison, as the Fifth Doctor, in "The Burning Prince" - the first part of a ‘Three Doctor’ trilogy.

"The Burning Prince" has been written by John Dorney and has been directed by Ken Bentley. It was recorded on the 19th and 20th March 2012 and sees the Fifth Doctor becoming caught up in the hunt for a missing princess.

This story stars Caroline Langrishe, Clive Mantle, George Rainsford, Dominic Rowan, Derek Hutchinson, Caroline Keiff, Tim Treloar and Kirsty Besterman.

Fifth Doctor
Fifth Doctor

We wanted to do something a bit different with the year's final trilogy’, Script Editor Alan Barnes has revealed, ‘so what we've come up with is an epic space saga spanning 60-odd years involving three Doctors, a royal wedding and a brooding villain... not to mention psychic powers, swamp monsters, barbarian hordes, bounty hunters and a space-faring snail!’.

I wanted to do an action movie’, John Dorney has stated. ‘I wanted to do a full-on, balls-to-the-wall action film. People are trapped in a very tense environment, a very dangerous situation, and it's just a series of problems they've got to get through; it's about the desperate struggle to survive and save the day. Not all the problems are generated by the monsters - some of them are generated by the human cast, and not everybody is on the side of the angels... so The Doctor's fighting against monsters both literally and metaphorically’.

There's a linking element (although exactly what that linking element is will remain a mystery until the second story) which connects this story with the two adventures that follow and John Dorney, having chosen to write the premiere, was involved in its creation. ‘Overall it was an incredibly complex undertaking’, he has revealed. ‘I got a fairly wide brief from Alan - he'd gone some way with the concept of the trilogy as a whole, and then I could pick one of the three slots to go with. It's an incredibly difficult thing when you've got a brief that big, that wide in scale, to develop the linking element so that it can justify 12 episodes’.

In these three stories, the respective Doctors are travelling solo – which for the Fifth Doctor is a rare occurrence in the Big Finish Productions audio range. John Dorney has admitted that ‘it's quite interesting to put him into this situation. I suppose it's not really different from a normal story where he's separated from his companions - he still reacts to other people the same. There's almost a degree to which, because he has such stress with his companions usually, it's nice to get him out of that environment. It's nice to have him cut loose without the feeling he has to justify himself to people. The other thing is, I wanted to ramp up the body count. If you don't have any companions, then you can surprise people with who lives and who dies...’.

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  • Featuring the Fifth Doctor.
  • Serial Number: 6R/AA
  • Number of Episodes: 4
  • Cover Length: 120 minutes
  • Episode Lengths: 1 = 26'31", 2 = 28'01", 3 = 26'23", 4 = 29'50"
  • Total Length: 110'45"
  • Also features 26 minutes of trailers, music and special behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and producers
  • Cover Illustration: Alex Mallinson
  • Recorded: 19th and 20th March 2012
  • Recording Location: Moat Studios
  • Released: September 2012
  • ISBN: 978-1-78178-019-0

On the Back Cover:

Audio - The Burning Prince

The Drashani Empire – a galaxy-spanning civilisation, the glory of Rome set among the stars. But for decades now, the Royal Houses of Gadarel and Sorsha have been at war, each claiming the Imperial throne.

The wedding of Prince Kylo and Princess Aliona was meant to change all that – a blessed union between the Houses, a new hope for the Empire. Until Aliona's wedding galley crash-landed on the planet Sharnax – and all contact was lost.

The TARDIS lands aboard the ship carrying the fiery Kylo in search of his lost princess – but with a sabre-toothed monster roaming its corridors, the Doctor soon discovers he's not the only alien presence aboard.


On the Inside Cover:

Writer's Notes

Well, this is awkward. Usually with the author's notes on these CDs, it's easy to know where to start. Talk about the brief, talk about the development of the story. Some thoughts on the recording.

But The Burning Prince is different. It's the first part of a trilogy. A loose trilogy to be sure, where the plays will all work individually, but nonetheless add up to a greater whole. And the brief I got wasn't just for this story. It was effectively to develop, with my esteemed script editor Alan Barnes, rough ideas for the whole lot, things to seed into the later scripts.

And as with any dramatic storytelling, a lot of the joy is in the surprise. Say too much and I risk spoiling not only this story, but Rick Briggs' awesome space opera The Acheron Pulse and the freewheeling, crazy fun that is Jonny Morris' The Shadow Heart. And I love those stories far too much to do that.

So consider this an apology. An apology for the absence of a proper set of notes, but you'll understand that in time. Just enjoy the ride, and brace yourself. It's a bumpy road, with some shocks along the way. Sometimes there are no happy endings.

John Dorney
July 2012

Director’s Notes

Most of the trilogies I've worked on for Big Finish have been linked by the journey of our hero, or more accurately the journey of his companions. This trilogy is different. Three stories with three Doctors, each of them travelling solo, and linked this time by a love story that spans three generations. For me it's a departure in form, and so it required a departure in style. Not a massive departure by any means, but I knew this trilogy couldn't be treated normally. I felt strongly that it needed to be linked together. Just as the three stories are linked by the love story (the emotional heart of the trilogy), I decided the trilogy needed to be linked by music. I discussed this with David Richardson and so, unusually (but not for the first time), we have a separate sound designer and composer working on The Burning Prince.

The magnificent sound design is by Martin Montague, the perfect choice to kick off the trilogy and bring to life John Dorney's emotional rollercoaster. I subscribe to the Phil Spector school of audio production and try to achieve a perfectly constructed and composed wall of sound. Martin's work is always spot on in this respect and he's one of the boldest and bravest sound designers I've worked with.

Ken Bentley
July 2012


Full Cast List:

The Doctor Peter Davison
Shira Caroline Langrishe
Ambassador Tuvold Clive Mantle
Prince Kylo George Rainsford
Commander Corwyn Dominic Rowan
Altus Derek Hutchinson
Riga Caroline Keiff
Tyron Tim Treloar
Princess Aliona Kirsty Besterman
Ludan Kirsty Besterman

The Production Team:

Writer John Dorney
Director Ken Bentley
Sound/Music Martin Montague and Toby Hrycek-Robinson
Theme Music David Darlington
Script Editor Alan Barnes
Producer David Richardson
Executive Producers Nicholas Briggs and Jason Haigh-Ellery
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