The story for August 2004 is a Sixth
Doctor and Evelyn
Smythe adventure titled "Medicinal Purposes".
It has been written by Robert Ross - another newcomer
to the Big Finish Productions Doctor Who audio
range. Directed by Gary Russell it was recorded 18th
and 19th March 2004.
Baker and Maggie Stables are joined by veteran actor
Leslie Phillips who has starred in numerous films and
on television from the 1930’s onwards including
the classic films: Empire of the Sun, The
Longest Day and various Carry on Films.
More recent appearances have included Lara Croft:
Tomb Raider and providing the voice of the Sorting
Hat in the Harry Potter Films. He also acted
alongside Jon Pertwee and Ronnie Barker in the radio
play The Navy Lark.
Also starring are: Janie Booth, Tom Farrelly, Glenna
Morrison, Kevin O'Leary and David
Tennant (before he was cast as the Tenth
makes a smooth, and very unnatural, landing in a dark,
wintry city which The Doctor identifies as 1820’s
Edinburgh - heyday of the Scottish capital’s notorious
Irish body snatchers William Burke and Billy Hare.
amongst the local prostitutes, and especially the feisty
local prostitute Mary Patterson, The Doctor and Evelyn
stumble upon one of Britain's most lurid, illuminating
and grisly chapter in history. But their visit quickly
turns sour as they soon get caught up with Doctor Robert Knox, who is not who he first seems.
their reputation for "hard drinking and cold-blooded
murder" The Doctor is keen to meet the duo that
indirectly aided medical research why plying their macabre
activities and deadly trade to supply fresh cadavers
to Doctor Robert Knox, on the pretence that it's all
in the name of advancing medical science.
their client Doctor Knox is quite forthcoming about
his scientific needs, Burke and Hare though are apparently
not working in tandem. With William Burke harsh, aggressive
presence Billy Hare it seems enjoys his terrible homicidal
work more than someone who's just trying to atone for
the death of his children…
other puzzling anomalies will become apparent in both
our Doctor’s historical knowledge, and in Doctor
Knox’s frame of reference? Why does The Doctor
have so much trouble in finding Doctor Knox’s
house when Evelyn and Mary had no problem at all? Why
will the Time Lord become less relaxed about this historical
detour and why does he have a cheery attitude towards
the despicable actions of the Burke and Hare? What is
interfering with the experience of the citizens he and
Evelyn have befriended? And will the Scotch mist clear
in time to make the true threat apparent? What ever
it is may put the very fabric of the universe under
is however, one other person who becomes caught up with
Burke, Hare and our two time travellers - Daft Jamie
a simple young man who is unaware he will be forever
remembered as one of Burke and Hare's victims and one
that The Doctor is forced to leave behind so that he
can fulfil his tragic place in history...
- Featuring the Sixth
Doctor and Evelyn
- Serial Number: 7CL
- Number of Episodes: 4
- Cover Length: 125 minutes
- Episode Lengths: 1 = 33'09", 2 = 38'07",
3 = 35'22", 4 = 31'48"
- Total Story Length: 138'26"
- This story takes place between "The
Trial of a Time Lord" and "Time
and the Rani".
- Early Title: "The Knife’s Edge".
- Cover Illustration: Lee Binding
- Recorded: 18th and 19th March 2004
- Recording Location: The Moat Studios
- Released: August 2004
- ISBN: 1-84435-098-3
On the Back Cover:
body snatchers William Burke and William Hare are at
large. The local prostitutes dull their fear with cheap
whisky. The graveyard owls are hooting. Business is
tourists The Doctor and Evelyn
Smythe stumble upon one
of Britain's most lurid, illuminating chapters in history,
a simple case of interest in the work of dedicated man
of science Doctor Robert Knox, quickly turns sour.
Just what is
that time bending Scots mist? What ever it is may put
the very fabric of the universe under threat…
|On the Inside Cover:
THE WORST KEPT SECRET of my life. I love Doctor
Who and always have. As a writer if I’m known
for anything at all it is for books celebrating the
best of British comedy. But to be given the opportunity
to write for the greatest hero ever created for television
is a delight indeed.
I was thrilled
to bits when Gary Russell, the man who says yes, said
yes. And I was determined to make my Doctor Who
a dark, sinister tale with absolutely no jokes. That
idea vanished as quickly as several alternative historical
settings that just didn’t gel - in other words,
Gary said no to them!
the end I couldn’t resist a bit of humour here
and there. It was always the element that made the show
so endearing in the first place. And in the end I couldn’t
resist immersing myself in an old-style Doctor Who romp
like the ones I was bewitched by over a clichéd
mug of tea and a clichéd plate of beans on toast
on a clichéd Saturday night; a good versus bad
time-travelling adventure with a touch of the Hammer
horror about it. For my goodie and my baddie I am blessed
with two actors who need little introduction. It was
Colin’s Doctor who charmed me during my awkward
teenaged years and as for a national treasure like Leslie
Phillips, what can you say? My comedy aficionado side
is delighted to point out he played Dr Burke in the
classic films Doctor in Love and Doctor
Robert Ross is acknowledged as one of the foremost
experts on British comedy, having written reference books
on everything from Monty Python to Carry
On, from Last of the Summer Wine
to Fawlty Towers, as well as numerous
biographies of the stars. He also contributes to DVD commentaries
on British classic films such as the Carry On
and the Doctor series. This is his first
script for Doctor Who and he actually
seemed to enjoy coming so the studio and seeing the director
brutally cut huge random swathes of it out. Odd chap...
Robert Ross’s initial concept for this story
featured the events surrounding the legend of Jack the
Ripper but both Big Finish and BBO Worldwide felt this
idea had been done to death in fantasy and a fresh setting
was needed. Producer Gary Russell had recently been to
Edinburgh, and discovered information about both the Burke
and Rare mystery and the recently exhumed underground
Edinburgh city that existed in the shadow of the famous
castle - so he suggested something along those lines to
been involved for some years in the research and preservation
of British comedy. Robert Ross is well acquainted with
a number of actors from that circle. Therefore, when
discussions were held to decide who should play the
pivotal role of Robert Knox, many ideas were bandied
around. Ross commented one day to Russell that he’d
been lunching with Leslie Phillips, and the actor had
commented that he’d love to do ‘one of your
audio CDs’. Russell pointed out to Ross that Knox
still hadn’t been cast and thus the script was
given to Leslie to read. Luckily, he liked it...
The Sixth Doctor
First television appearance: "The
First chronological Big Finish audio appearance: "Whispers
has been exploring the universe for hundreds of years.
He fights injustice. He defeats evil. He helps people.
The Doctor was travelling alone when he met Evelyn Smythe,
a companion who has had a calming effect on him, and a
deep bond of friendship and respect has quickly developed
between the two. More used to loud, energetic youngsters,
The Doctor has appreciated the change of gear the chocolate-cake-loving
divorcee has brought into his life.
Doctor Evelyn Smythe
First Big Finish audio appearance: "The Marian Conspiracy"
she first encountered The Doctor, Evelyn Smythe was
history lecturer at Sheffield’s Hallam university.
He took heron an adventure involving her ancestors in
the sixteenth century - which lead to Evelyn joining
The Doctor in his travels. Unbeknownst to him, Evelyn
resisting efforts by the university administration to
retire her due to a possibly-fatal heart condition,
so she took the opportunity to explore both history and
the wider universe with relish. Adventures in Cornwall,
on The Doctor’s home planet and with Charles Darwin
on the Galapagos Islands followed, and now the two friends
continue to voyage onwards, fellow travellers into the
| Full Cast List:
|Doctor Robert Knox
The Production Team:
|Gary Russell and
|Executive Producer for the BBC