| 2003 is the 40th
anniversary of Doctor Who and it wouldn't be an anniversary year without
a handful of The Doctor's oldest enemies trying to bring his travels to a final
As a precursor to this, the anniversary adventure, Big Finish
Productions have released three stories where three Doctor's face three old
foes, but in unusual circumstances.
it was the turn for the Fifth
Doctor as he meets a mythical hero from Gallifrey's past
Doctor has to endure yet again
the evil scientist who created the Daleks
finally the Seventh
Doctor comes face-to-face
with his greatest archenemy again in "Master".
than full-on fights against evil, a new loose trilogy of plays sees one Doctor
involved in a more character-based drama as they, and we, get to learn a little
more about these particular recurring nemeses.
40th anniversary celebrations of Doctor Who culminate
in their November release called "Zagreus". As well the
being the 40th anniversary story "Zagreus" is also Big
Finish's 50th regular CD release.
(Alan Barnes and
This anniversary story
has been written by Alan Barnes along with director Gary
Russell and is a conscious attempt to deviate from the
typical storylines which have tended to characterise previous
anniversary stories. It was recorded on the 15th, 22nd,
26th, 28th August, and the 2nd, 5th September 2003.
As well as being Big Finish's
first Doctor Who audio story set over three discs this
is the first to resurrect the past tradition of giving
each episode an individual title - in this case "Wonderland",
"Heartland" and "Wasteland".
an epic story "Zagreus" not only brings together for the
first time Peter
Davison, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy and Paul
McGann but also a host of actors and actresses who
have played companions in the Big Finish audios (although
not necessarily in their usual roles!). There are also
a few new names to the Big Finish range making their Big
Finish debuts including Louise Jameson, as Leela,
and John Leeson as K9. Also
making a Big Finish debut is Jon
Pertwee - albeit from dialogue gathered from a fan
produced video before his death in 1996.
In addition the guest cast also includes:
India Fisher (as
Pollard), Lalla Ward (as the 2nd
Romana), Nicholas Courtney (as
Sladen, Mark Strickson, Sarah Sutton, Nicola Bryant,
Stables, Bonnie Langford, Sophie Aldred,
Bowerman, Caroline Morris and Robert Jezek.
are: Don Warrington (as Rassalon), Stephen Perring, Conrad Westmaas, Stephen
Fewell and Miles Richardson.
Picking up where June 2002's "Neverland" left off,
we were promised that "Zagreus" would be a celebratory adventure unlike
anything ever done before with one or two surprises as well. Big Finish
announced that as well as resolving the shocking cliffhanger in "Neverland"
this story also sets the Eighth Doctor onto a new course of adventures.
"Zagreus" picks up immediately after the shocking, brutal and
wholly unexpected conclusion of "Neverland", which saw The Doctor, consumed
with Anti-Time, strike down his companion Charley Pollard and declaring that he
had become the mythical figure of Zagreus.
But it seems
that this is not the full truth. As the first episode,
"Wonderland", begins it soon becomes clear that while
The Doctor is consumed with Anti-Time, the Zagreus infection
is not complete. The Doctor is therefore faced with the
struggle between his true self and his corrupted part
raging within his consciousness.
Charley is confused. With The Doctor acting so weird and
supposedly taken over by Zagreus she is left to hide from
The Doctor as he goes on a rampage within the TARDIS.
Then a surreal Alice in Wonderland influence takes hold
and Charley finds herself in a Harley Street doctor's
office with her mother and meeting the Brigadier who welcomes
Charley to her own insanity...
everything seemingly to be spiralling out of her control
and with no Doctor to protect her how can The Doctor's
oldest and most trusted ally help Charley. Especially
as she finds herself exploring a series of unreal projections
which may contain the solution to his problem - but instead
reveals a far greater and unexpected threat
And then there
is the TARDIS - Whose side is The Doctor's time machine
really on and can the Brigadier be trusted to help her
assist The Doctor? With The Doctor's identity crisis becoming
worse Charley's adventures become stranger and so enforces
the idea that nothing is what it appears. While Charley
is mixed up in the Matrix-like projections The Doctor
finds himself helped by a previous incarnation, to find
an Alice Companion by Lewis Carol in the TARDIS Library,
and a talking cat. Then Charley realises that the Brigadier
is infact a holographic projection produced by the TARDIS!
As well as the Brigadier
Charley encounters, her mother the Lady Louisa Pollard
and then finds herself as Corporal Pollard in a Top Secret
military base where she encounters the Reverend Townsend
- a man of God driven by his desire to know and understand
the foundations of the universe that he will overlook
the needs of all around him to satisfy his own curiosity.
He is a man obsessed with discovering why all life is
fundamentally the same and is unconcerned about the effects
of recreating a 1950's experiment to rip a hole in time
and space to discover the answers. But instead he inadvertently
opens the universe to attack from a horde of creatures
who are keen to escape from their domain. This is something
that Charley will learn the huge importance of in the
projection visited by Charley appears to be on ancient Gallifrey where she
meets The Great Mother and the vampire Lord Tepesh who is seeking to destroy
Cardinal Rassilon. The vampire lord it seems possess an abundance of hatred
towards the Great Time Lord who is it is discovered has been experimenting with
extending the lifespans of the Gallifreyan elite by the use of regeneration. As
Charley gets caught up with these events she learns of the importance of the
Foundry and Rassilon's divergent universe and the creatures it holds.
Doctor meanwhile is trying to cope with his isolation and is struggling to cope
with his own personality clash and inner turmoil. Convinced that the TARDIS is
on his side despite past events, The Doctor soon realises that not only was he
infected by Anti-Time but his time machine was also affected by The Doctor
containing the Anti-Time explosion within the TARDIS. The Doctor also deduces
that Charley is in grave danger and that he is unable to do anything about it
as long as he is partially Zagreus.
that the Brigadier has tricked her she finds herself in a third projection as a
six foot mouse in battle armour known as General Mouse. In the amusement park,
"The Winkle Wonderland", Charley becomes involved in leading Captain Duck,
Sergeant Gazelle, Corporal Heron and the rest of the robotic animals against
Godilocks and her robotic humans in the amusement park. Charley though does get
to meet The Animator also known as Uncle Winkle "the man who put a smile on the
galaxy" When she reaches Cosmic Mountain Charley realises that it has been
built on top of Rassilon's Foundry and that she is back on Gallifrey.
Furthermore she is close to the end of the Universe and the re-opening of the
Then Charley hears The Doctor's voice informing her that it
is all an illusion. Finding herself back with The Doctor she is though unable
to trust him as her uncertainty towards him continues to grow. She therefore
turns to her trusted friend the Brigadier, despite knowing that he has been
produced by the TARDIS. But when it is proved to be acting on its own agenda
and so is untrustworthy she finds herself jettisoned from the TARDIS and can
only warn The Doctor to be aware of the Divergence.
is dead Charley meets Uncle Winkle, Reverend Townsend and Lord Tepesh again and
realises that the TARDIS has created them to reflect the previous incarnations
of The Doctor - characters it is familiar with. This time they all find
themselves in the Death Zone on Gallifrey or are they?
On the current
Gallifrey the space-time trail of The Doctor's TARDIS disappears - much to the
horror of President Romana. As Charley deduces who all the characters she has
been involved with are she can, with the help of President Romana, Leela and
K9, defeat the TARDIS's projections. The previous incarnations of The Doctor
eventually are able to join forces with the Eighth Doctor and between them they
try and attempt to defeat the real villain who is behind all of The Doctor's
and Charley's woes. Non other than Lord Rassilon - the Time Lord's greatest
Charley finally manages to reach The Doctor's side but to her
horror he appears to still be affected by Zagreus and when he implores Charley
to kill him, with Rassilon's sword, she gains defiance in the face of his
pleading and realises that she has the power and the strength to actually do it
and so strikes The Doctor down. But rather than regenerate The Doctor is able
to defeat this fatal blow and to choose between life and death and embrace his
The Doctor and Charley's relationship though will never be
the same again and neither will the TARDIS. Despite everything they have been
through he knows he must leave everything behind and impose a self-exile in
another universe if he is not to endanger our universe further - and that
includes forcing Charley to reject him forever
being alone and because her own feelings have developed beyond mere friendship,
this rejection by The Doctor isn't something that Charley can accept and so she
steals herself back on the TARDIS just as it materialises.
But has she
done the right thing and what of Zagreus? Is he really defeated or will he
resurface and so make The Doctor endanger our universe if he ever returns to
it? And what of Charley - an Edwardian Adventuress who finds herself in a
completely different universe? Only time will tell
Note: November 2003 also featured a "normal" double CD
adventure. Click here for details.
- Featuring the Fifth,
Sixth, Seventh and Eighth
Doctors with The
Pollard and the Third
- Serial Number: 8M
- Number of Episodes: 3
- Cover Length: 220 minutes
- Episode Lengths: 1 = 79'07", 2 = 77'54", 3 =
- Total Story Length: 235'47"
- This story follows on from "Neverland"
- Cover Illustration: Clayton Hickman
- Recorded: 15th, 22nd, 26th, 28th August, and
2nd, 5th September 2003.
- Recording Location: The Moat Studios
- Released: November 2003
- ISBN: 1-84435-032-0
| Full Cast
|Reverend Matthew Townsend
| Charley Pollard
|Lady Louisa Pollard
|The Great Mother
||Alan Barnes and
||Gary Russell and
|Executive Producer for the BBC
|Sylvester McCoy and Colin Baker
Lalla Ward and India Fisher
|Colin Baker with Nicola Bryant,
Langford and India Fisher
|Caroline Morris, Sarah Sutton, Nicola
Bryant and India Fisher
|John Leeson and Louise
|Sylvester McCoy and Colin
|Colin Baker and Nicola
|Nicholas Courtney and Maggie
|Sylvester McCoy and Lisa