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"All things must die."  

Audio - The Next Life
The Next Life
(Alan Barnes and Gary Russell)

 "The Next Life" is the concluding story for 2004 in the final Eighth Doctor Audio season, starring Paul McGann, as The Doctor, India Fisher, as Charley Pollard, and Conrad Westmaas, as C’rizz.

 This is Alan Barnes' fourth Eighth Doctor story and sees a return match between The Doctor and Rassilon where the truth about the Divergents is finally revealed. Gary Russell is also the director and it was recorded 24th, 25th, 31st August 2004 and on the 3rd September 2004.

"The Next Life" is a triple CD adventure which Big Finish Productions has released at the same price as a normal release to subscribers. This six part story concludes the two season story arc that has seen the Eighth Doctor, Charley and C’rizz trapped in the universe of the Divergents. It also has the unenviable task of prematurely tying up the plot threads of the last year’s worth of audios.

 Guest starring in "The Next Life" are Daphne Ashbrook, Paul McGann's co-star and companion Dr Grace Holloway from "Doctor Who: The Movie". Also in the guest cast list are Paul Darrow, who played Avon in Blake's 7, and Anneke Wills, who played companion Polly during the final television season for the First Doctor and the beginning of the Second Doctor. Also starring are Stephane Cornicard, Don Warrington, Stephen Perring, Jane Hills, Stephen Mansfield and Jane Goddard.

 There is danger on the beach, in the jungle and in the Church of the Foundation. In fact all things must die… and will…

 The Doctor and his TARDIS are at last reunited and now that his quest to recover his time machine is over it is time he used it to chart the unexplored wonders in the Divergents universe. At least that is the plan…
Eighth Doctor
Eighth Doctor

 However, with the TARDIS plunging uncontrollably into the atmosphere of a mysterious blue planet The Doctor is forced to take emergency action. One which leads to The Doctor being separated from his two travelling companions, Charley and C’rizz, who both find themselves in their own strange, dream-like tales and have to face the reality of death and the afterlife.

Charley finds herself visited by her mother and has to come to terms at how hardened to death she has become in her travels with The Doctor. She also has an encounter with Simon Murchford, whose identity she stole to board the R-101 all those years ago, and also realises how he has been effected by her actions.

C’rizz is forced to re-live the morning of his wedding to L’da, the last moments of normality before the Kromon and The Doctor entered his life, and so come to terms with his relationship to his former wife to be. He also has to come to terms with his relationship with The Doctor, Charley, and with Guidance, leader of the Church of the Foundation, whose ties to C’rizz are more than they first appear and explain his tendency to easily fall under the spell of the villains he encounters.

 The Doctor meanwhile has his own problems to sort when he finds himself washed up on the sandy shores of an isolated paradise island where something is pushing him towards the centre where hopefully he will find the way home. But first he has to prevent himself becoming the next meal when giant crabs attack him. Thankfully he is rescued by Perfection. With all this and more happening he does not have the time to start to worry about his two companions and more importantly who is behind the recent events.

As it seems is not just the Divergents who are behind the games and tests The Doctor and his two travelling companions have had to endure since The Doctor’s and Charley’s arrival in this alternative universe. Now it’s the turn for Rassilon to make The Doctor’s life hell and for The Doctor’s two travelling companions to realise the truth about The Doctor since his encounter with Zagreus which resulted in him being contaminated by anti-time.

 But first The Doctor, accompanied by Perfection, has to face a mad dash for survival through the harsh, oppressive jungle environment into the dark heart of the mysterious island, to discover the deepest secrets of this timeless cosmos. That is if being accused of the death of Jembere-bud - a young native girl, bloodsucking leeches, killer crocodiles and murderous natives out for revenge does not get to them first. They are forced into fighting for their lives just so that they can outwit their pursuer, the dastardly Daqar Keep - the richest man in the galaxy who also has something to hide. But can The Doctor trust the feisty and flirty Perfection especially as she is the wife of Daqar Keep?

India Fisher
India Fisher

Meanwhile, fellow travellers Charley and C'rizz have to face artificial realities and a conspicuous absence of The Doctor while under the influence of Rassilon’s Dreamweaver. But it is not long before they soon realise that their own ordeals are the result of being in the grip of The Doctor's most dangerous rival. And in a universe that's facing extinction, even the best of friends may soon become enemies even after they wake up...

 For it is then that Charley and C'rizz come face-to-face with Rassilon’s villainy and the Divergent universe’s life cycle. They also learn the real truth about Zagreus and the anti-time virus and that their experiences with The Doctor may not be what they seem. Could Rassilon’s attempt to divide and conquer the TARDIS team for good actually succeed as the breakdown of the friendship between them develops beyond repair and as their antagonism grows and their camaraderie falls apart?

Or will their trust in The Doctor prevail and so allow them to thwart Rassilon’s plans, and allow them to assist The Doctor to return to the real universe once more? Or will they accept the facts that have been placed in front of them that and they will have to face things alone now that The Doctor it seems has abandoned them to their fate? Or will they end up not trusting each other and if so which companion will believe Rassilon's convincing case against The Doctor and so risk breaking up a longstanding friendship?

 But who is the real villain responsible for current events? Is it Rassilon, Guidance - another Eutermesan with an unforeseen connection to C'rizz, Daqar Keep or maybe another? Or maybe it is the planet itself? And what about the Church of the Foundation - could this religious organisation end up becoming The Doctor’s salvation or responsible for their death?

Will The Doctor and his companions be able to win the struggle to stop Rassilon and the Divergents from entering the real universe? More importantly will The Doctor be able to unite both of his companions once more or will the revelation of C'rizz's big secret prevent this from happening? Can The Doctor and his two time travelling companions be able to escape back to the real universe or will one of them find themselves left behind? And what will await them if they do return?

 For one of them life will never be the same again…

 Also for this month Big Finish Productions released another exclusive release for subscribers to their Doctor Who audio range. Titled "Her Final Flight" this single CD story has been written by Robert Shearman and features the Sixth Doctor and Peri.

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  • Featuring the Eighth Doctor, Charley Pollard and C'rizz.
  • Serial Number: 8V
  • Number of Episodes: 6
  • Cover Length: 220 minutes
  • Episode Lengths: 1 = 33'13", 2 = 31'35", 3 = 28'26", 4 = 28'02", 5 = 26'53", 6 = 39'34"
  • Total Story Length: 187'43"
  • This story takes place after "Doctor Who: The Movie" and follows on from last month’s "Caerdroia".
  • Cover Illustration: Steve Johnson
  • Recorded: 24th, 25th, 31st August 2004 and 3rd September 2004.
  • Recording Location: ????
  • Released: December 2004
  • ISBN: 1-84435-105-X

On the Back Cover:

"All things must die."

 Washed up on the sandy shores of a paradise island, a wild-eyed shipwreck survivor is rescued by the wife of Daqar Keep, the richest man in the galaxy.

 Her name's Perfection. He's The Doctor. Together, they face a journey into the dark heart of this mysterious island, to discover the deepest secrets of this timeless cosmos. That's if the giant crabs, killer crocodiles and murderous natives don't get them first.

 Meanwhile, fellow travellers Charley and C'rizz have their own ordeal to endure, in the grip of The Doctor's most dangerous rival. And in a universe that's facing extinction, even the best of friends may soon become enemies...

This life is almost over. And not everyone will make it to the next.


Full Cast List:

The Doctor Paul McGann
Charley Pollard India Fisher
C'rizz Conrad Westmaas
Perfection Daphne Ashbrook
Guidance Paul Darrow
Daqar Keep Stephane Cornicard
Rassilon Don Warrington
The Kro'Ka Stephen Perring
Lady Louisa Pollard Anneke Wills
L'da Jane Hills
Simon Murchford Stephen Mansfield
Mother of Jembere-Bud Jane Goddard

The Production Team:

Writer Alan Barnes and Gary Russell
Director Gary Russell
Sound/Music Andy Hardwick and Russell Stone
Theme Music David Arnold & David Darlington
Assistant Producer Ian Farrington
Producers Gary Russell and
Jason Haigh-Ellery
Executive Producer for the BBC Jaqueline Rayner
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