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"Soon those who have wronged us, soon they will pay the full blood price..."  

Audio - The Twilight Kingdom
The Twilight Kingdom
(Will Shindler)

 The fourth and final story, in this four part audio season for the Eighth Doctor, is "The Twilight Kingdom" Written by Will Shindler this is his first Big Finish Doctor Who Audio story. It is directed by Gary Russell and was recorded 14th and 15th May 2003.

 It stars Paul McGann, as the Eighth Doctor, with India Fisher and Conrad Westmaas as his companions Charley Pollard and C’rizz. Guest star Michael Keating, who is best known for playing Vila in Blake’s 7, plays the character Koth. This is not Michael Keating’s first involvement with Doctor Who as he played the part of a rebel in the 1977 Fourth Doctor story “The Sun Makers”.

Also starring are: Stephen Perring, Nicholas Briggs, Ann Carus-Wilson , Stephen Fewell, Dale Ibbetson, Jeremy James, Vivien Parry, Alan Rothwell, Gary Russell and Alison Sterling.

 According to Producer/Director Gary Russell:

"Will typifies the kind of 'not-in-the-Doctor Who-fold' writer that I've been keen to work with. He's been a script editor on Doctors and Born and Bred and is currently the story editor on The Bill. "The Twlilight Kingdom" is the sort of fresh story you might expect a writer who knows and admires Doctor Who, but wouldn't describe himself as a fan, to deliver. The only brief I gave Will was that I wanted something to contrast with both Philip and Jim's adventures and thus asked for his story to be set below ground.

"Alan Rothwell is a name I grew up with - each week, as schoolkids, we'd sit around the old black-and-white TV in the classroom (this was the late Sixties, remember) and watch
Picture Box, which Alan presented. When I got an email out of the blue from him wondering how he could get a part in Doctor Who, it was manna from heaven. We all decided that when the series comes back to TV, Alan should be the Ninth Doctor!

"I have known Michael Keating on and off for some years (we spectacularly failed to finish a game of pool off a few years back at a convention, despite playing for an entire weekend) and have long thought he's one of the most underrated actors around. As soon as I read the script, I could hear Mike as the villain of the piece and asked him to do it. He's very versatile, which is just as well as there's more to Koth than meets the ear…"

 Sent by the mysterious Kro’ka into a jungle environment, The Doctor, Charley and C’rizz get more than they bargained for especially as the spectre of death surrounds the harshly oppressive jungle environment The Doctor, Charley and C'rizz have found themselves in their continued hunt for the TARDIS. They soon find themselves upon a waterfall - much to the delight of Charley who it seems has faired much worse in their trek in the jungle.

Eighth Doctor
Eighth Doctor
 Unbeknown to The Doctor and his two companions they are not completely alone. As well as finding a completely decomposed skeleton they are also being watched by a Major Koth the leader of a rebel training camp preparing itself for an oncoming war.

 Charley, in her attempts to recover from the effects of their trip through the jungle, becomes separated from The Doctor and C'rizz just when a team of soldiers, who are searching for Koth, escort The Doctor and her fellow companion away into some nearby caves. But Charley on watching all this from a hiding place finds herself in the company of a jaded-yet-broadminded scientist - which turns out to be fortunate as she has just been attacked by a deadly plant that results in a very painful cure.

 Exploring the caves The Doctor is mentally attacked when a powerful creature tries to connect with his mind with pure rage. Still being tracked by Major Koth The Doctor and the team of soldiers are they themselves taken captive when they become to close to Koth’s secret base.

 The Doctor and his companions soon learn that the respected authoritarian figure of Major Koth has withdrawn into the savage jungle after a command decision was taken not to inform him of the death of his family in an atrocious attack so he could continue to perform his duties to the best of his abilities without distraction. Koth therefore has turned away from his own civilisation.

Michael Keating
Michael Keating
in Blake's 7

 But not everything is what it seems at Major Koth's rebel training camp. Why does an underground river of blood turn suddenly into one of acid and why do dead soldiers decompose so quickly? Why has the blood of innocents been spilt and who really is the enemy? Could The Doctor this time be completely wrong in his deduction of current events? Charley and C'rizz think he is and as events unfold it seems that they might be right.

 The Doctor taking on an assumed identity to further his investigations on what Major Koth is really up to manages to gain the confidence of Koth’s loyal followers. But Koth instinctively sees The Doctor's weaknesses and uses them to turn The Doctor’s friends against him in pursuit of his goals. But other forces are having an effect on those in the caves preventing free thoughts and making everyone want to stay and not leave - even The Doctor seems at first to be effected and is acting against his normal character.

 When the extent of Major Koth's manipulation is finally revealed The Doctor learns that the cave system is not what it seems and that they are all in grave danger of either being eaten alive or being forced to murder each other for the pleasure of another.

 Forced to co-operate otherwise he will lose everything - his companions and his TARDIS - has The Doctor realised to late that amongst the dark caverns of this unknown world he has encountered a creature that he can’t defeat and that maybe he has finally met his match. Or will he and his companions be able to escape in the TARDIS?

 But maybe this is too much to ask for in the Divergent Universe especially when a very old foe is manipulating things…

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  • Featuring the Eighth Doctor, Charley Pollard and C'rizz.
  • Serial Number: 8R
  • Number of Episodes: 4
  • Cover Length: 122 minutes
  • Episode Lengths: 1 = 27'17", 2 = 27'17", 3 = 34'08", 4 = 33'45"
  • Total Story Length: 122'27"
  • This story takes place after "Doctor Who: The Movie" and follows on from last month's "The Natural History of Fear".
  • Cover Illustration: Steve Johnson
  • Recorded: 14th and 15th May 2003
  • Recording Location: Christchurch Studios
  • Released: March 2004
  • ISBN: 1-84435-037-1

On the Back Cover:

The blood of innocents has been spilt ­ a terrible sequence of events has been set in motion. The forces of darkness are on the move.

 Deep underground, an army of light prepares itself for the oncoming war.

 The Doctor's used to winning. Stumbling in, reading the face of the enemy, and then beating the odds… but what if this time he's got it wrong? Charley and C'rizz think he has.

 Stripped of all that is familiar, just who is The Doctor? Major Koth thinks he knows.

 Lost among the dark caverns of an unknown world, has The Doctor finally met his match?


On the Inside Cover:

 I ORIGINALLY WROTE THE SCRIPT for The Twilight Kingdom almost two years ago, in the summer of 2002. Memories of 11 September were still vivid
, and comfort certainly wasn’t to be found behind the sofa. Suddenly a lot of things, which seemed safe and secure, simply weren’t. As my mother, who’d lived through the Second World War, cheerfully reassured me, ‘Now you know what is feels like.’

 Thanks, Mum.

 Not surprisingly, some of that fear and anxiety crept into the play you’re about to hear. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no deep message here or indeed any profound political statement being expressed, but grief is perhaps the most powerful of all emotions. It’s something that binds us all, and it’s remarkable how varied our responses can be...

 What I’m rather pompously trying to say is don’t expect a gag fest. However, in deference to the ghost of Doctor Who Past you will find at least one wobbly set -you’ll know it when you get to it.

 Finally a word of thanks to all at Big Finish - I was trying to recreate something of the spookiness that so grabbed me as a child. With an actor as terrific as Paul McGann in the lead, so ably assisted by India and Conrad, the dose thing really was to drop them all into hell...

Will Shindler,
October 2003

 Will Shindler was the script editor for BBC drama series Doctors and Born and Bred before recently taking up a similar post on Thames TV’s The Bill. Although something of a afficiando of Doctor Who, this is his first professional work for the show, but is already planning another audio script for the future.

Production Notes:

 Originally planned as the third story of the season, The Twilight Kingdom finally took its place as the climax for a couple of reasons. Firstly, as a fairly straightforward ‘traditional’ Doctor Who story, it acted as a counterpoint to the experimentation of The Natural History of Fear. And secondly, because the closing moments with the Kro’ka made for a far more natural end of season scene than its predecessor would have.

 Will Shindler was introduced to the Big Finish team via two of its most popular authors, Paul Cornell and Robert Shearman. It was Rob who actually introduced Will to producer Gary Russell in a cafe in London’s Oxford Street and Will’s ideas immediately resonated with the producer’s plans for this third Eighth Doctor run.


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:

The Doctor Paul McGann
Charley Pollard India Fisher
C'rizz Conrad Westmaas
The Kro'ka Stephen Perring
Lieutenant Fraxin Nicholas Briggs
Commander Vayla Ann Carus-Wilson
Lieutenant Deral Stephen Fewell
Sub-Commander Quillian Dale Ibbetson
Sergeant Bryn Jeremy James
Major Koth Michael Keating
Captain Tysus Vivien Parry
Byzar Janto Alan Rothwell
Corporal Orvik Gary Russell
Tarrith Koth Alison Sterling

The Production Team:

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