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Audio - The Wormery
The Wormery
(Stephen Cole and Paul Magrs)

 For the 40th anniversary celebrations Big Finish Productions released a second audio story for November ("Zagreus" being the main 40th anniversary release). This second story, titled "The Wormery", has been penned by writing team Stephen Cole and Paul Magrs. It is directed by Gary Russell and was recorded 1st and 10th November 2002.

 "The Wormery" sees the Sixth Doctor once again caught up in the schemes of the troublesome Time Lady Iris Wildthyme, who has appeared in several Doctor Who novels and in the Big Finish Doctor Who audio story "Excelis Dawns". Iris was brought to life in this audio story by Katy Manning, who starred alongside Jon Pertwee as the Third Doctor's companion Jo Grant, and Katy reprises her role in this story that features her first meeting of Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor

 Staring alongside Colin Baker and Katy Manning are: James Campbell, Paul Clayton, Mark Donovan, Jason Loborik, Maria McErlane and Jane McFarlane.

 When a mysterious stranger and a former nightclub waitress meet the story of a very exclusive 1930's cabaret club, named Bianca's, is revealed through her recollections helped by various surviving audio recordings taken at the time. Between them they piece together the final days of the club, discovering an exotic cocktail of desperation, vengeance and love…

Sixth Doctor
Sixth Doctor
 There's one place in creation where the truth really can be found in the bottom of a glass: Bianca's, a very special and very exclusive little club. Of all the gin-joints on all the planets in the whole universe, The Doctor has to walk into this one. Except that this gin is not the house special at Bianca's - nor is this a bar in wartime Casablanca run by Bogart. This exclusive little nightclub, that is run by the legendary hostess Bianca, is no ordinary place even for 1930's Berlin. And when that extraordinary time-traveller Iris Wildthyme arrives, The Doctor knows he's not in for a quiet night…

 While The Doctor is seeking quiet distraction he finds that his rest and relaxation is soon shattered. He finds himself drawn into the mysteries of the club all thanks to the wobbly arrival of Iris who claims is on a secret mission of vital importance, the success of which hinges on her getting paralytic. It is only then can she hear the whispering voices in her head!

 The Doctor soon learns that Bianca's is a hotbed of plotting and counterplotting with no less than three malevolent powers scheming away against each other. Then there the wriggling, writhing presence that has designs on the clientele ­ just as Bianca herself has designs on The Doctor.

Katy Manning
Katy Manning
 But Bianca's is no ordinary night club - as The Doctor soon realises when he deduces that the entrance to Bianca's maybe is in Berlin but the club itself is in deep space.

 As Bianca's descends into chaos, not helped by Iris becoming drunk and becoming part of the cabaret act, The Doctor implores her to stop singing or she'll destroy them all. Until that is when The Doctor realises that the Bianca's suggestion to solve everything is right and Iris must die...

 But how can The Doctor allow this to happen. Despite finding Iris annoying to the extreme the weary Time Lord has been dragged by the heels into that darkest of undiscovered countries and something as yet truly alien to him - love.

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  • Featuring the Sixth Doctor.
  • Serial Number: SS5
  • Number of Episodes: 4
  • Cover Length: 125 minutes
  • Episode Lengths: 1 = 32'54", 2 = 32'08", 3 = 33'27", 4 = 35'33"
  • Total Story Length: 134'02"
  • This story takes place shortly after "The Trial of a Time Lord".
  • Early Title: "The Devil Woman".
  • Cover Illustration: Lee Binding
  • Recorded: 1st and 10th November 2002
  • Recording Location: The Moat Studios
  • Released: November 2003
  • ISBN: 1-84435-033-9

On the Back Cover:

 There's one place in creation where the truth really can be found in the bottom of a glass - Bianca's, a very special and very exclusive little club.

 The Doctor, careworn and seeking quiet distraction, gains admission. But his rest and relaxation is soon shattered by the wobbly arrival of louche trans-temporal adventuress Iris Wildthyme. She claims she's on a secret mission of vital importance, the success of which hinges on her getting paralytic.

 When she's drunk, she can hear the whispering voices in her head!

 The Doctor soon learns that Bianca's airs and graces cover not just one malevolent power lurking in the shadows, but several. And a wriggling, writhing presence has designs on the clientele ­ just as Bianca herself has designs on The Doctor.

 At last, after so many centuries, the weary Time Lord is dragged by the heels into that darkest of undiscovered countries… love...

On the Inside Cover:

 WE HAD WANTED to write something together for a long time, but we both decided that we had to wait for a project to come along that had real integrity. A project that had something to say about the condition of man and the nature of the universe, that would transcend its genre roots and its limitations of form to become timeless and profound.

 Then we thought, 'Stuff that', and started making up all this stuff about tequila worms who wanted to take over the multiverse, who operate from a 1930s cabaret and get everyone dead drunk.

 We passed the baton of writing back and forth, taking the story forward a little at a time, each waiting to see what the other would come up with before pressing on. And the beautiful cast did much the same, listening to each other, laughing with each other; it was a bit like being down the pub with your mates, complete with a ramshackle singalong when the script demanded it. And why not? It's 40 years since all this madness started - and The Wormey is a boozy celebration...

Paul Magrs and Stephen Cole,
April 2003

Stephen Cole (pictured with friend) and Paul Magrs (not pictured at all) have, between them, written more Doctor Who books and short stories than can be listed here. Both have, of course, extensive non-Doctor Who careers as well, but somehow they keep getting drawn hack to the good old TARDIS. Both have written two previous DoctorWho audios - Paul did Excelis Dawns and The Stones of Venice, whilst Steve has penned The Land of the Dead and The Apocalypse Element.

Production Notes:

 Shortly after completing work on Excelis Dawns, we all knew we wanted Katy to return as Iris Wildthyme, a marvellous character created by Paul Magrs who had cropped up in one or two of his Doctor Who novels. And Katy was equally keen to do so, and asked if she could work with Colin Baker as they were old chums. Colin was also very interested, but because Katy lives in Sydney, Australia, we had to record the play when she was next over in the UK - nearly a year before its eventual release!

 Big Finish helpfully provided the writers with very little in the way of concepts or story requirements - saying that they just wanted something that could only be done with Iris rather than any of The Doctor's more traditional travelling compan-ions. After reading this script, they realised they'd never look at the contents of a Tequila bottle again in quite the same way...

Full Cast List:

The Doctor Colin Baker
Iris Wildthyme Katy Manning
Allis & Ballis James Campbell
Henry Paul Clayton
Sturmer Mark Donovan
Heinrich Jason Loborik
Bianca Maria McErlane
Mickey Jane McFarlane

The Production Team:

Writer Stephen Cole and
Paul Magrs
Director Gary Russell
Sound/Music Stephen Cole and
Jason Loborik
Theme Music David Darlington
Producers Gary Russell and
Jason Haigh-Ellery
Executive Producer for the BBC Jaqueline Rayner
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