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"Questions lead to answers. Answers lead to knowledge. Knowledge leads to freedom. Freedom leads to dissatisfaction. Dissatisfaction leads to unhappiness."  

Audio - The Natural History of Fear
The Natural History of Fear
(Jim Mortimore)

 The penultimate release in Big Finish's third season for the Eighth Doctor is "The Natural History of Fear" and is particularly reminiscent of the 1988's television story “The Happiness Patrol”.

 Written by Jim Mortimore this is his first Big Finish Doctor Who Audio story. As well as working on the post-production side of many previous audios he is also the author of various Virgin "The New Adventures" books, including the acclaimed "Blood Heat" and "Parasite" and the BBC Eighth Doctor book "Beltempest" and the Past Doctor book "Eye of Heaven".

 This story is directed by Gary Russell and was recorded 11th and 12th May 2003. It stars Paul McGann, as the Eighth Doctor, with India Fisher and Conrad Westmaas as his companions Charley Pollard and C'rizz. Also starring are: Sean Carlsen, Jane Hills, Geoff Searle, Alison Sterling, Ben Summers and Wink Taylor.

Like previous productions Big Finish have tried something different and in doing so one of their bravest stories to date. This time by casting a group of actors, including the lead actors, who could play a number of different roles in a play. The variety of parts turns out to be an asset rather than a distraction. To this end, it was decided that no characters would actually be assigned to the actors in the final cast list as it was felt that the performances were more important than the actual names of characters.

According to Producer/Director Gary Russell:

"Jim is the only writer in 2004 that I have worked with previously, back in the days of the amateur Audio Visuals plays of the 1980s. Although Jim has recently worked on music and post production for Big Finish, somehow he found time to deliver for me a dark, character-led piece which constantly throws up surprises and twists. Just when you think you've worked out what's going on, he chucks a typical Jim Mortimore curve ball at you!

"I have an aversion to doubling up actors normally. The odd guard's line is fine, but major characters should, in my opinion, be played by different people. Knowing this, Jim opted to provide me with a script where not only could the actors double up but in fact needed to - resulting in probably our largest character list in a play so far. But that's what's so clever about this play, it subverts your expectations - particularly mine. When Paul McGann turned up on his first day (we recorded this one first), he announced that this was one of the best scripts he'd ever read - not just Who-wise, but of all. He liked the political touches and said when we'd finished 'more like this, please'."

 In Light City, the all-powerful State permeates everything. No one from outside understands their way. This is why there are no visitors to Light City. Travel is forbidden. Happiness is maintained throughout by acceptance. Individuality is outlawed and original thought is a crime. Confused? You will be.

Eighth Doctor
Eighth Doctor
 It's a nightmare. The State controls its citizens' lives and whereas conformity is rewarded any form of deviancy from the accepted normality is punished by offenders having their personalities, memories and attitudes totally destroyed and then rebuilt. Thus ensuring that offenders will never know what they have done - all to ensure the equilibrium of the State is maintained.

 Questions are the ultimate sin and all good members of the proletarian will fall in line, happy to embrace their place and enjoy their State licensed broadcast hours of infotainment in reward. In a world such as this, can anyone be sure of who they really are? Especially when no one is allowed to have a name – just a title!

 The truth is more than we imagine. In this totalitarian regime its citizens are too blind to see the truth that they are slaves to the will of the State. The State is so supreme that its population believe themselves free as they willingly accept conformity and obedience.

 But is there a revolution brewing in Light City? Has someone let the truth out of its cage? Are they licensed? Are they censored? Maybe a strange adventurer and his redoubtable companions have something to do with it or are they too caught up in a complex society where asking questions is strictly forbidden? All these questions being asked as if you have a right to answers.

India Fisher
India Fisher

 Every so often a Revolution is required. Has everyone gone completely mad? Even ideas have a natural history. Any memory is meaningless without context. The sound of a child's humming top, for instance...

 But despite how hard this society works to maintain a status quo it seems it is susceptible to the introduction of an outside stimulus and can become affected by a single idea that is spread throughout its population. The apparent arrival of The Doctor and his companions Charley and C'rizz are already starting to unravel this totalitarian regime.

 A nurse sudden turns on her husband when he inadvertently asks a simple question of her. As he is taken away, her acceptance of the personality revision which will come to her too is so total that she believes it is the only way that she will gain happiness again away from the perverse ideas of contravention her husband has influenced her with.

 With the people either as nameless subjects or with titles that reflect their role in society such as the Editor and the Conscience. But the Conscience's role is not to think but just to offer guidance and ensure obedience. But it seems even he has become effected by the idea that existence in Light City is harshly limited by the unfair State and revolution is in the air.

As for the Editor it is a downward spiral as the very idea of revolution forces leads him down a path of obsession which he believes will protect the State he loves. However, his course of action changes him irrevocably and in doing so the reality around him changes and he who was one of the State's greatest protectors paradoxically becomes its greatest threat as he fanatically tries to destroy the group who are instigating the revolution.

 The irony is that the creating force that shaped the State is the force that will also finally destroy it.

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  • Featuring the Eighth Doctor, Charley Pollard and C'rizz.
  • Serial Number: 8Q
  • Number of Episodes: 4
  • Cover Length: 139 minutes
  • Episode Lengths: 1 = 28'58", 2 = 32'04", 3 = 26'02", 4 = 42'28"
  • Total Story Length: 129'32"
  • This story takes place after "Doctor Who: The Movie" and follows on from last month's "The Creed of the Kromon".
  • Cover Illustration: Steve Johnson
  • Recorded: 11th and 12th May 2003
  • Recording Location: Christchurch Studios
  • Released: February 2004
  • ISBN: 1-84435-038-X

On the Back Cover:


Public Warning
Faction Against Character Theft


On the Inside Cover:

‘Everyone thinks about changing the world
But no one thinks about changing himself.'

Leo Tolstoy
 Have you ever wondered why? Well here's a little secret, me to you: I have tried to write this authors blurb fifty eight times since it was first commissioned nearly two years ago Here's a thing the quote as the top really says everything I want to say about what's on the CD. But still I have to write something to fill this gap I don't really understand why but that's not the point. I'm not allowed to be flexible and I'm not allowed to question policy. Now. This isn't a rant, don't get me wrong. What's on the disc is all about the natural history of ideas; the existance of feelings in a world where feelings have no place. And in that sense the series of revisions of author's blurbs leading inevitably to this one are a perfect glimpse of what awaits you on the record. And here's a thing: even though I can't actually remember what I tried to write before, or precisely how many times I tried to put pen to paper; how long the process took, or even why it was that the previous revisions didn't quite make is through to this, the final draft, it doesn't actually master. Because after all it's the process that counts. And if that leaves me with an uncomfortable feeling that I have been manipulated in some way that I can't quite identify, well then, that's a price I pay gladly to be part of a perfect State. A State worth loving. A State worth the sacrifice of self each one of us makes every single day for the common good. And remember. When it comes right down to it.

‘No one thinks about changing the world
But everyone thinks about changing himself.'

Leo Tolstoy
 After all, that's how we build a better State. Not by keeping secrets or asking a lot of unnecessary and damaging questions.
Light City, Final Revision

 Jim Mortimore is credited as the writer of this story but no one knows if he truly exists anymore. Or ever existed. There have hoes so many revisions. A Jim Mortimore has been credited with writing a number of Doctor Who novels, including Eternity Weeps, Eye of Heaven and Parasite. However, records do not exist which can confirm that each one was written by the same Jim Mortimore. That’s revision for you...

Production Notes:

 This script was borne out of a conversation between producer Gary Russell end Jim Mortimore during post-production work on The Rapture, which Jim undertook. He asked what kind of stories Big Finish were after for the first Eighth Doctor/new universe season and then showed Russell his notes for The Natural History of Fear. After a couple of weeks tooing and froing, the script was commissioned, originally as the end of the run. For the production, it became not only necessary but actually rather convenient to cast a group of actors who could play a number of different roles in a play - the variety of parts being an asset rather than a distraction. To that end, it was decided that no characters would actually be assigned to the actors in the final cast list - the performances were more important than the actual names of characters. Recorded first in this latest Eighth Doctor season, the recording week began well as Paul McGann declared this one of the best scripts he had ever read...

Who's Who?

The Eighth Doctor

First television appearance: Doctor Who
First Big Finish audio appearance: “Storm Warning

 The Eighth Doctor has gone through an extraordinary battle. In order to save the life of his companion and friend Charley Pollard, he absorbed a destructive energy force referred to as Zagreus, currently subdued beneath his own, far more likable persona. However, this means The Doctor can no longer live in our universe and so has recently exiled himself into an alternative universe from which he can never return home...

Charley Pollard

First Big Finish audio appearance: "Storm Warning".

 Charley was rescued by The Doctor from the ill-fated R101 airship in 1930. Recently, much against The Doctor's wishes, she has gone with him into the Divergent Universe, knowing that she will never see Earth or anyone she has known and loved ever again. However, Charley does not seem too concerned about that and believes it was a price worth paying to remain at the side of her friend and mentor. Charley was witness recently to the loss of the TARDIS when they landed on the first planet of this new universe...


First Big Finish audio appearance: "The Creed of the Kromon".

 A Eutermesan, the first actual person The Doctor and Charley met in the Divergent Universe. Having lost his TARDIS, The Doctor found himself trapped on a planet separated into zones, although those within the zones seemed unaware that they were thus confined. C'rizz's natural curiosity has made him join The Doctor and Charley. However, he is an instinctively peaceful man, recently forced to commit murder against his nature. What effect this may have on him in the future remains to be seen...

Full Cast List:

Paul McGann
India Fisher
Conrad Westmaas

Sean Carlson
Jane Hills
Geoffrey Searle
Alison Sterling
Ben Summers
Wink Taylor

The Production Team:

Writer Jim Mortimore
Director Gary Russell
Sound/Music Jim Mortimore
Theme Music David Darlington
Producers Gary Russell and
Jason Haigh-Ellery
Executive Producer for the BBC Jaqueline Rayner
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