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Audio - The Axis of Insanity
The Axis of Insanity
(Simon Furman)

 After the third season of the Eighth Doctor and Charley Pollard stories April 2004 sees the return of the “Past Doctors” series of Doctor Who audios. In this release Peter Davison, as the Fifth Doctor, is joined by companions Peri and Erimem - played by Nicola Bryant and Caroline Morris respectively.

 This story is called “The Axis of Insanity” and is a tale of order versus chaos. Following in the steps of the television classics "The Celestial Toymaker" and "The Mind Robber" the events of this story are not what they seem in this realm of pure fantasy.

Written by Simon Furman this marks his Big Finish debut. Simon Furman though is more famous to Doctor Who fans for several comic strips for The Doctor Who Magazine in the mid-1980’s.

Fifth Doctor
Fifth Doctor

 This story has been directed by Gary Russell and was recorded 22nd and 23rd January 2004. It guest stars “Star Wars” actor Garrick Hagon. Also starring are: Marc Danbury, Garrick Hagon, Daniel Hogarth, Stephen Mansfield, Roy North and Liza Ross.

 For The Doctor and his travelling companions, Peri and Erimem, the Axis is a twisted playground, where reality, morality and sanity no longer apply - a space where the Time Lords discard all their messed up timelines or, as Peri beautifully puts it, “their mistakes”. It is a place The Doctor is very wary of, given that it is his people who are responsible for ending many of these doomed realities, but the corruption of the Axis into something far more dangerous shocks even him.



 Of course all these negated realities have to be regulated and maintained, the failed realities are convened and held in equilibrium in perpetuity and the people made to believe that they are still living in the 'real' reality. For aeons, the Axis has helped to stabilise the Universe and for this important task there is the Overseer but it seems his grip is failing. And then, with his early death, a new member of management takes his place, the cavorting, malign and hideously insane Jester who took the Overseer’s life...

 What is this strange Axis, where the TARDIS has landed? Why, it’s a madhouse! Normal rules of physics need not apply; “Time’s even more relative than usual around these parts.” The Doctor anticipates a cool reception - yet he and his companions stand to get a quite scorching welcome.

 Stranded within this dimensional nexus, beset by the molten fury of the Firedbreed, The Doctor and his companions must unwrap a terrifying mystery of damaged timelines and dark science... before the corruption of the Axis spreads and reality itself crumbles.

Caroline Morris
Caroline Morris
 What horrors could exist in this axis of corrupted timelines and how much of accepted history have the Time Lords created? Can The Doctor, Peri and Erimem survive this unreal environment where the sinister and malign presence named the Jester calls all the shots and given that it was the Time Lords who are responsible for many of the uncontrollable and dangerous timelines collected in the Axis? Who is really running this warped carnival and what connects it to a near-derelict facility on Pangorum, home of Peri’s refugee ally? Why will Erimem’s struggles with Western characters matter, come the showdown? And what does one villain know about being a Time Lord?

 It’s a race against time for The Doctor to sort things out in this desperate battle between order and chaos and he must not only destroy the infected timeline but also return to Pangorum and keep their promise to Tog to finish off what Jarra To started…

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  • Featuring the Fifth Doctor, Peri and Erimem.
  • Serial Number: 6Q/E
  • Number of Episodes: 4
  • Cover Length: 105 minutes
  • Episode Lengths: 1 = 26'07", 2 = 23'45", 3 = 21'06", 4 = 24'46"
  • Total Story Length: 95'44"
  • This story takes place between "Planet of Fire" and "The Caves of Androzani".
  • Early Title: "InterFace".
  • Cover Illustration: Lee Binding
  • Recorded: 22nd and 23rd January 2004
  • Recording Location: The Moat Studios
  • Released: April 2004
  • ISBN: 1-84435-094-0

On the Back Cover:

 What is... the Axis?

 For The Doctor and his travelling companions, Peri and Erimem, it's a twisted playground, where reality, morality and sanity no longer apply. Stranded within a dimensional nexus, beset by the molten fury of the Firebreed, they must unwrap a terrifying mystery of damaged timelines and dark science... before the corruption of the Axis spreads and reality itself crumbles.

 Pitted against a warped and deadly mind, The Doctor faces his own past transgressions, and the very nature of what it is to be a Time Lord.

On the Inside Cover:

 THIS IS MY FIRST audio drama, so please… be gentle. Naturally, I leapt at the chance to write a new Doctor Who adventure when it was offered (who wouldn’t?), and - having leapt - realised I probably should have at least looked first. What had I done? You see, though I’ve written many scripts, for comic books, TV animation… and so on, I’ve only ever worked in visual mediums. And yet here I was, suddenly, with just dialogue and sound effects. I realised had no idea how to craft a story, or how to stage it, when so much has to be carried by the dialogue alone. How did an action sequence work? How did you avoid glaring “oh look - there’s a big green monster charging towards us” type of dialogue? By the time I came to write The Axis of Insanity I had, thankfully, had a kind of trial run. In my capacity as Transformers-guru, I was invited to 2003’s US convention. I’d been asked by the organisers to write a short, “amusing” drama, to be performed live by the voice-actor guests (from the original and subsequent TV shows). This was daunting enough, and yet somehow I managed... though still with considerable trepidation. Perhaps, just perhaps, I could make a Doctor Who audio script fly.

 My first story outline for Axis was hideously laden with Doctor Who continuity and mythology, which Gary Russell beat out of me with a big stick (thank you for that, Gary). The second draft was much better, while still retaining a sense of the “bigger picture”, and the script flowed out of me with amazing ease. Once I had the voices in my head (the Davison era is sharply defined in my many fond memories of the show) and a sense of story momentum, it all came together. The biggest thrill, though, was when I got a look in at the recording, and actually watched Peter, Nicola and Caroline at work, They were saying my words... and not laughing! Bless them for that.

 But even now, the fear is not entirely gone. This is my first audio drama. I hope it’s not my last.

Simon Furman,
January 2003

 Simon Furman is a writer for comic books and TV animation, his name inextricably linked with Transformers, the 80s toy phenomenon and has written literally hundreds of stories about the war-torn ‘robots in disguise’, for Marvel Comics (US and UK). His other comic book credits include Death’s Head, Alpha Flight, Turok, Robocop and What If? In the TV animation field, Simon has written for shows such as Beast Wars, Dan Dare and X-Men: Evolution.

Production Notes:

  Simon Furman’s initial pitch for this story was for a Fifth Doctor/Nyssa adventure. Whilst The Doctor faced the Overseer and Jester (the Overseer would be played by Peter Davison as well), Nyssa was drawn out of the TARDIS by an adult Adric who, in an alternative timeline never died, and takes her back to the Pharos Project (seen in Logopolis/Castrovalva on television) to explain where his timeline diversified.

 Although producer Gary Russell felt the actual dangers The Doctor and Nyssa faced were new and exciting, he felt that the reliance on past friend and monsters (the Autons made a brief appearance as did various Time Lords) was unnecessarily complicating things. He also asked Simon to change Nyssa for Peri and Erimem as the outline offered the chance to support three separate storylines which could be easily justified by utilising this TARDIS team.


Who's Who?

The Fifth Doctor

First television appearance: “Castrovalva
First chronological Big Finish audio appearance “The Land of the Dead

 He has been exploring the universe for hundreds of years. He fights injustice. He defeats evil. He helps people. Always accompanied by travelling companions, The Doctor has lately found his TARDIS shared by Peri and Erimem, two lively young girls from different points in Earth’s history. They can be a handful - as the intense teasing he endures testifies to...

Peri Brown

First television appearance: “Planet of Fire
First chronological Big Finish audio appearance: “Red Dawn

 Perpugilliam Brown has been travelling with The Doctor for a while now. Their relationship can be fractious - but is generally lighthearted and friendly. A keen botanist, resourceful and compassionate, Peri also has a edgy side; a wry sense of humour that can infuriate her travelling companion. Lately, the two have been joined in their travels by Erimem, with whom Peri has immediately bonded. Slightly older than the former Egyptian Pharaoh, Peri has taken it upon herself to play the older sister.


First Big Finish audio appearance: “The Eye of the Scorpion

 Upon the death of her father, Erimemushinteperem - Erimem for short - became Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. Being young and female hardly endeared her to her immediate subjects, and soon plots against her were afoot, It was during an attempt on her life that she met The Doctor and Peri, who were instrumental in saving her. Before her coronation, the officials decided upon a different, male, Pharaoh - a decision that did not completely disappoint Erimem, who then joined The Doctor and Peri on their travels.

Full Cast List:

The Doctor Peter Davison
Peri Nicola Bryant
Erimem Caroline Morris
Tog Marc Danbury
The Jester Garrick Hagon
Carnival Barker Daniel Hogarth
Bird Trader Stephen Mansfield
The Overseer Roy North
Jarra To Liza Ross

The Production Team:

Writer Simon Furman
Director Gary Russell
Sound/Music Andy Hardwick
Theme Music David Darlington
Producers Gary Russell and
Jason Haigh-Ellery
Executive Producer for the BBC Jaqueline Rayner
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