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Audio - Red
(Stewart Sheargold)

 The ominously entitled "Red", by Stewart Sheargold, is August 2006’s release and features Sylvester McCoy, as the Seventh Doctor, and Bonnie Langford, as companion Melanie Bush, and is an exploration into the motivation behind murder. It is directed by Gary Russell and was recorded on the 7th April and 1st June 2006.

This release guest-stars author, actor and broadcaster, Sandi Toksvig as Vi Yulquen, matriarch of the mysterious needle. Also starring are: Denise Hoey, Ann Jenkins, Sean Oliver, Peter Rae, Kellie Ryan, John Stahl and Steven Wickham.

 Within the habitat known as the needle everything is controlled by Whitenoise, the managing sentinel, who reports to Chief Blue – But something is wrong with Whitenoise’s programming which is not helped by the arrival of The Doctor and his travelling companion Melanie.

Seventh Doctor
Seventh Doctor
As soon as they arrive The Doctor it seems has been infected and starts to behave strangely – and then they find a dead body – the body of someone who has been murdered. And then Melanie is forced out of the needle leaving The Doctor to fend for himself and facing Whitenoise and Chief Blue – who explains to The Doctor that to be allowed within the needle he has to be micro-chipped for his own safety and to protect the current inhabitants - and so The Doctor becomes Subject 3999.

Luckily Melanie’s fall from the needle is not life threatening when she is caught by Subject 10034 Draun on his way to a dwelling under the needle. She learns from him about the needle, its inhabitants and why they are chipped.

Whitenoise’s corruption extends to editing the memories of the inhabitants of the needle and to misjudging the two intruders both of whom have not been chipped – unlike the rest of the inhabitants. But not all the inhabitants are content with their existence – especially Vi Yulquen, the designated Matriarch of the needle

The inhabitants are in danger as the murderer spreads amongst them and Whitenoise slowly loses more and more control of the needle and The Doctor – who witnesses condition Red first hand when Uvio commits murder despite The Doctor not being anywhere near the murder scene – but because of the connection he thinks he is responsible and so Redlines and prevents Whitenoise from taking control of the situation.

Melanie Bush


What is happening to those in the needle and why are they being murdered? How is The Doctor connected to current events and how is he able to witness the murders first hand? Why is Vi Yulquen so keen to experience pain, despite it contravening Whitenoise's programming, and begs Melanie to hurt her? What is the Red Tape and why does Chief Blue have such a dangerous obsession to watch it? Why is Whitenoise unable to keep control of the inhabitants and to prevent them being harmed? And why has Melanie been left unchipped and how will The Doctor be able to cope with his?

 Could the reason The Doctor is connected to the murderer be an affect of being chipped or could it be that it’s because he is a Timelord? If so then could the murderer also be a time traveller?

The Doctor and Melanie must overcome the murderer’s intentions and both are in equal danger from the presence that is affecting all those in the needle. But this won’t be easy as The Doctor’s synchronisation with the killer increases and so makes The Doctor himself a target of Whitenoise’s programming to terminate all those who are in constant redline.

 In attempting to stop the presence Whitenoise becomes infected and in an attempt to keep the peace he becomes the killer himself. But worse The Doctor and Melanie need to prevent Whitenoise from losing control completely and from following his programming to purge the needle of all the inhabitants. As Whitenoise works through purging all those who have chips he becomes ever closer to Subject 3999 – The Doctor – and the only person that can save them all…

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  • Featuring the Seventh Doctor and Melanie Bush.
  • Serial Number: 7DB
  • Number of Episodes: 4
  • Cover Length: 130 minutes
  • Episode Lengths: 1 = 33'33", 2 = 29'50", 3 = 29'56", 4 = 29'27"
  • Total Story Length: 122'46"
  • This story takes place between "Paradise Towers" and "Delta and the Bannermen", and follows on from "Unregenerate!".
  • Early Titles: "The Pull of Red" and "Synchronicity".
  • Cover Illustration: Stuart Manning
  • Recorded: 7th April and 1st June 2006
  • Recording Location: The Moat Studios
  • Released: August 2006
  • ISBN: 1-84435-176-9

On the Back Cover:

Subject 2660 - Celia Fortunatè, designated citizen of the needle. Subject experiencing traumatic, violent delusions during waking moments. Subject remains passified and under control of Whitenoise. Medication has been prescribed.

Subject 0357 - Vi Yulquen, designated Matriarch of the needle. Subject is under constant surveillance due to her wish to experience harm. This is in direct contravention of Whitenoise's programming. Also supplier of the drug classified as Slow. Editing is required.

Subject 0841 - Chief Blue. Technician in symbiotic relationship with this Whitenoise system. Knowledgeable in human psychological evaluation. Subject has been diagnosed a voyeur, and has a dangerous obsession with the Red Tape. Machine augmentation is favoured to curb this defect.

Subject [error] - Melanie Bush, designated companion of subject 3999. Subject [error] is not chipped and is a threat. Her ability to harm has not been checked, compromising the continued security programming of this Whitenoise system. She must be inhibited.

Subject 3999 - The Doctor. Subject has committed homicide. This subject now in constant redline. His propensity for violence remains unchecked. Analysis suggests synchronisation with the killer. The Doctor will attempt to kill again. He must be stopped.

On the Inside Cover:

 I must admit that I was pleased when new story editor Alan Barnes suggested I change the title of this story to Red, which was nearer to my original ideas. Here, red is not just a colour, it’s a feeling, and it’s a contradictory feeling within the same notifier - passion or rage; two extremes. Extremism was what I was interested in, dualities - of those who become depraved on account of being deprived. What if we could have security and irresponsibility and a perfect, satisfied life, free from worry and danger? What would we have to give up to attain this? And would removing violence actually cause us harm instead? In the end, we always want what we do not have. What if, having removed our violence, a very real, necessary emotion, to measure all others by, we wanted it back? Or what if it came back itself, unbidden?

 There are people who must be thanked for this one. Writing Doctor Who was the big one, and these people helped in one way or another: Joe Curreri, for inspirational comments and understanding the Seventh Doctor’s seasonal transition better than I did; Paul Zorzi and Kevin Holley, for dragging me out and keeping me sane and sociable during the writing; Nick Murphie and Moray Laing for Who-talk; mum and dad and Elle; and, finally, Gary Russell, for everything, though most especially for showing us what a marvellous companion Melanie Bush really is.

I should probably also thank Autechre, whose ‘music for architecture’ stylings were the first inspiration for this script. And now, it’s over to Sylvester and Bonnie. Cue the theme tune...

Stewart Sheargold,
May 2006

Stewart Sheargold has written a number of tales for Big Finish’s Doctor Who: Short Trips collections, as well as three audio scripts for its Bernice Summerfield range. This is his first full-length Doctor Who audio. About time too...

Who's Who?

The Seventh Doctor

First television appearance: "Time and the Rani"
First chronological Big Finish audio appearance: "Unregenerate!"

 He has been exploring the universe for hundreds of years. He fights injus¬tice. He defeats evil. He helps people. Since his regeneration, The Doctor - now travelling with his friend, Mel - has been a little unpredictable. One moment he can be frivolous and fun, the other he’s thoughtful and serious. How will this affect his friendship with Mel?

Melanie Bush

First television appearance: "The Trial of a Time Lord"
First chronological Big Finish audio appearance: "The One Doctor".

 A computer expert from twentieth-century Earth - Pease Pottage, East Sussex, to be specific - Melanie Jane Bush is young, bright and enthusi¬astic. She enjoys her time with The Doctor and the adventures they have. They met for the first time from Mel’s point of view in 1989 - however, The Doctor had by this point seen his future and had already met Miss Bush! However, The Doctor has recently regenerated... Can Mel still trust her friend?

The Cast Gallery:

The Seventh Doctor - Played by Sylvester McCoy

‘If I jam my umbrella here, I can access the building’s mechanics. Don’t worry, I’ll have us out of this in a jiffy. Now, if I just press here... Oh, that’s not supposed to happen.’

 Mel - Played by Bonnie Langford

‘The name’s Mel, not Red. I had enough of that in school, thanks. Speaking of thanks, I probably should thank you for saving my life, Mr - er, what did you say your name was?’

 Vi Yulquen - Played by Sandi Toksvig

‘My dear, I didn’t realise I was in such danger. Please, come and sit down. You’re very welcome. The point is, you could hurt me. And I wouldn’t mind. I don’t think I should tell you where The Doctor is. I think you should force it from me.’

 Whitenoise - Played by John Stahl

‘Each subject has a nanochip implanted in their brain which I can control. When a violent urge initiates, the chip gives a small, barely noticeable electric shock, and removes the intent for harm. They are usually not even aware it occurs. It is a humane method of control.’

 Chief Blue - Played by Sean Oliver

‘I was put here to oversee your continuing, smooth operation. Not vice versa. All machines break down, one way or another.’

 Celia Fortunaté - Played by Kellie Ryan

‘I’m sorry, but I’d rather not have pleasurable thoughts about you if they’re only going to be curbed by Whitenoise. He thinks of physical pleasure as the precursor to violence.’

 Draun - Played by Peter Rae

‘You’ll be fine. You didn’t fall that far. And I’ve got something much better than a doctor. Well, it may kill you, but I don’t imagine you’d care about that since you just threw yourself out of the Needle. You’re going to love it…’

 Nuane - Played by Denise Hoey

‘After so long under the machine, we were disgusted at our capacity for violence. We couldn’t handle the reality of it. We suffered the consequences of our actions.’


Full Cast List:

The Doctor Sylvester McCoy
Melanie Bonnie Langford
Nuane Denise Hoey
Leterel Ann Jenkins
Chief Blue Sean Oliver
Draun Peter Rae
Celia Fortunaté Kellie Ryan
Whitenoise John Stahl
Vi Yulquen Sandi Toksvig
Uviol Steven Wickham

The Production Team:

Writer Stewart Sheargold
Director Gary Russell
Sound/Music Andy Hardwick
Theme Music David Darlington
Story Editor Alan Barnes
Producers Gary Russell and
Jason Haigh-Ellery
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