20 April 2014

BF: The Light at the End

Official Synopsis: November 23rd 1963 proves to be a significant day in the lives of all eight Doctors…

It's the day that Bob Dovie's life is ripped apart… 

It's also a day that sets in motion a catastrophic chain of events which forces the first eight incarnations of the Doctor to fight for their very existence. As a mysterious, insidious chaos unfolds within the TARDIS, the barriers of time break apart…

From suburban England through war-torn alien landscapes and into a deadly, artificial dimension, all these Doctors and their companions must struggle against the power of an unfathomable, alien technology.

From the very beginning, it is clear that the Master is somehow involved. By the end, for the Doctors, there may only be darkness.

And so we reach Big Finish's official 50th Anniversary release. It's not inaccurate to say The Light at the End was highly anticipated by the vast, vast majority of Big Finish's incredibly large customer base. It promised so much - all the surviving twentieth century Doctors! loads of companions! the Master! - and looked set to be the highlight of the anniversary celebrations, the antithesis of Zagreus ten years earlier. But it did it live up to expectations?

Well it certainly lived up to mine.

I'm both happy and sad to report that in my opinion, this was a much better story than The Day of the Doctor. There's a real, consistent narrative thread running through this that is impressively original, and very particular to the Doctor. For a story all about the Doctor, his world around is completely destroyed - literally. What John Dorney, David Richardson and Nick Briggs have all devised here is a staggering idea, and I know it may have been portrayed similarly in various other media before now, but this was my first real experience of what it known here as the Conceptual Bomb. 

I'll begin at the beginning of the story, but not at the beginning of The Light at the End. The Celestial Intervention Agency on Gallifrey have tasked Briggs' third favourite Time Lord Straxus (who previously featured heavily in the Briggs-penned Dark Eyes, Sisters of the Flame and The Vengeance of Morbius plus many more) with attending the conference of the Vess - intergalactic heavy arms dealers - being held in a pocket dimension. His mission is to seek out weapons that may be beneficial to the Time Lords, should anybody attempt to attack them - all at the ignorance of the High Council. The Master followed Straxus through in his own TARDIS, and threatened to expose the CIA. In return for his silence, Straxus agreed that the Master could take one weapon of his choosing from the Vess - I can see why they recruited this one! I wonder if you have to reapply every time you regenerate? 

The Master chose the Conceptual Bomb - a weapon that takes a single thought and makes it a reality. This in itself is not an original idea, but I would argue the implementation and specifics of it here are. The thought has to really be believed to become a reality. For this reason, the Master visits Earth and plants the bomb in one of the Doctor's beloved humans - Bob Dovie - and uses his Tissue Compression Eliminator on Dovie's wife and children, leaving them in a dolls' house. 

In the TARDIS, all of the Doctors (four through eight anyway) are simultaneously alerted to the presence of a red warning light, one that has never been on the console before. Tracing the source of the button, some are catapulted towards the Big Bang and others are drawn to the other end of the energy stream - the Vess' dimension. All, though, find the co-ordinates of the button to be 17:03 on 23 November 1963 (sound familiar?) at 59A Barnsfield Crescent, Totton, Hampshire, England, Earth. The Fifth Doctor decides to travel to 17:02 with Nyssa, and they arrive to find Dovie in a state of shock. After learning what happened to his family, they naturally take him into their own TARDIS, whereupon Dovie remarks, "this is impossible". And so the Doctor's world begins to collapse.

With just this one careless thought, Bob Dovie has caused the Doctor's TARDIS never to have existed in the first place - it is literally impossible. If the TARDIS never existed, the Doctor never would have left Gallifrey because he only had the impulse to leave at that exact moment, in a slightly different telling to what we saw in The Name of the Doctor. All the good he would have done would cease to exist and war would spread throughout the galaxy. We get two examples of major triumphs of the Doctor's that averted chaos - the Dalek invasion of Earth and the War Chief's ultimate army - and it's a shame we don't get more really. From the Master's perspective, this is where we join The Light at the End. For the Doctor, though, we meet him much later.

If I had to say this were one Doctor's story, in the same way that The Day of the Doctor was a Matt Smith story or The Five Doctors was a Peter Davison story, this would most definitely be Paul McGann's story. It comes, it would appear, sometime around the middle of his second series of adventures with India Fisher as Charley Pollard. While other companions may feature more, I would be inclined to say that Charley is the 'main' companion in this too. She travels back through the TARDIS' own history, meeting crews from many years gone by and we open and close the story with this pair. It's really nice to have the twosome reunited, but I can't help wondering how much better it would have been with Sheridan Smith's Lucie Miller involved. If my suspicions that we're to get three main range plays featuring the Eighth Doctor and Charley at the beginning of 2015 (at time of writing, they're called Mistfall, Equilibrium and The Entropy Plague) then I would've been more than happy to wait the extra year or so to get another Lucie story.

So, the Eighth Doctor arrives in one of the Vess' demonstration zones, where they show off their weapons to potential buyers. A giant machine attacks them, leaving a large crater with the Time Lord on one side and Charley on the other. He tells her to run, and that they'll meet up later. She does exactly this and returns to the TARDIS. She uses the spare key above the P to get in and immediately notices something's up. First, the exterior doors open and close of their own accord, then different figures from the TARDIS' history begin to phase in and out. This sequence was actually written by David Richardson, given that Briggs 'didn't want to', and it's really well done. On a not-entirely-unrelated point, I would like to see a story penned by Richardson at some point in the future. Charley meets the First Doctor, Susan, Ian, Sara Kingdom, Ben, Polly, the Second Doctor, Jamie, the Third Doctor, Jo Grant, Turlough (who very amusingly thinks she's an agent of the Black Guardian), Tegan, Peri, the Sixth Doctor, Ace, the Seventh Doctor and finally the Fourth Doctor and Leela. Somehow, Charley is transported to the TARDIS of this final team, and her conversation with the pair is highly enjoyable, mostly for Tom Baker. 

Meanwhile, on the world of the Vess, the Eighth Doctor passes through a forcefield whilst trying to locate his ship, into a viewing gallery. This is where we begin to learn more about the Vess - very slowly, it must be said. The Fourth Doctor, it transpires, also followed the source co-ordinates of the light and as such their TARDIS is in exactly the same place as the older incarnation's. The Doctor then tries to move just a short distance in space, when they end up in the viewing gallery, some time before; time is folding in on itself. Although this is a handy phrase to throw around, it did take me a while to work out what this meant due to events in the story - portions of time are being lost, hours, weeks and even months of the TARDIS' life are disappearing. This is all part of the ship's 'death'. 

A Vess that the Eighth Doctor's been talking to then decides the foursome are all intruders to be arrested, but only succeeds in capturing Charley. The Eighth Doctor detects the presence of another TARDIS and they make for it, telling Ms Pollard that they'll return for her. They soon end up in another viewing gallery and witness another, similar, demonstration. It is then the Sixth Doctor and Peri's turn to go through the discovery of the button. After managing to avoid the TARDIS self destructing, this incarnation decides not to follow the co-ordinates, seeing it as an obvious trap. He works out that the energy expelled from the Big Bang is being siphoned off and used to power something - which the listener can deduce as being the Vess' pocket reality. His capsule is then accidentally drawn into the energy stream and hurtles towards the beginning of the universe.

The Eighth and Fourth Doctors have arrived in the Vess' military artefacts museum, the location of the other TARDIS. They're attacked by the Master's security drones, sent by him after he observed their imminent arrival. Leela fights them off with a crossbow she recently acquired whilst the Time Lord(s?) touches his sonic screwdriver(s?) with itself. This apparently releases enough temporal energy to cause the Master's TARDIS to open, and the threesome enter. After a brief confrontation with the Master, Leela disappears and the renegade reveals the same fate has befallen Charley. They just vanish before the Doctor's eyes, and there's nothing he can do. This is of course a consequence of the Conceptual Bomb's detonation. The companions would never have met the Doctor, and so shouldn't be there. It's a good way of getting the character count down at least. Briggs talks in the accompanying documentary about how this was supposed to be horrible - not in the squemish sense but a horror notion. Those you care about most just being snatched away, with no prior warning. He says this aspect was included to try and appeal to the listener's own experiences. I can certainly see his intentions, but it just doesn't come off that way in the finished piece.

Next the Fourth Doctor activates a TARDIS homing beacon and the two escape inside. It's at this point they learn their location and that it can only be accessed by travelling to the exact co-ordinates already stated. To try and leave, they attempt to jettison some excess ballast, but in vain. They appear to be trapped. The TARDIS' interior space warps and they end up in the Eighth Doctor's version of the control room, shortly before the power goes. The only working control is the blinking red light, and so the Doctors conclude that it's not time that's folding in on itself but the TARDIS, and in a random order too. This adds a certain degree of jeopardy to the situation, but given that the only two Doctors we've spent any real time with are these two, it's limited. The TARDIS shortly explodes, taking the two incarnations with it - crafty way of writing them out of the story, Briggs!

It's at this point that the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa travel to Totton at 17:02. A minute later, though, there's no sign of the light nor that it had ever been there in the first place. However, they do detect another TARDIS in the vicinity. The Seventh Doctor and Ace arrive in a demonstation zone on the Vess world, unknown to them of course. They're in complete darkness, and torches reveal they're under attack from mud creatures while trapped in a seemingly endless trench. I love the idea of these monsters; they're such an '80s creation. I can really see JNT attempting them for Series 25 or 26.

Now Nyssa discovers the corpses of the Dovies in the dollhouse. It's an economical bit of storytelling. Although we get the section at the beginning with Bob and his son Kevin (which I'll come to at the end), we don't ever really meet any of the family. From the references to the neighbours and the dazed reassurance, we can build a picture of their life for ourselves. There's a lovely moment where Bob rings these neighbours at the Doctor's request, and has a full conversation with them despite the phone being unplugged. That's when you know things are wrong. The Master appears on the television to gloat, before the Doctor vows to chase him as Bob overhears the truth about his family. The all enter the TARDIS, Dovie utters the immortal line and the ship explodes, giving us our cliffhanger as the Conceptual Bomb detonates.

The Sixth Doctor manages to put the TARDIS in reverse, and thus he and Peri end up on the Vess world, in a demonstration at the factory. The Time Lord soon realises they're trapped. His seventh incarnation and Ace appear to have temporarily outrun the mud monsters, when they see the TARDIS is encased in it. As it grows closer, Ms McShane bungs some of that Nitro 9 she isn't carrying (in a direct dialogue lift from Remembrance of the Daleks) at it, buying them a little time. This marks clearly that Part Two is going to be one of spectacle rather than plot - at no fault of Briggs or the producers. The Sixth Doctor and Peri notice the Seventh Doctor and Ace emerge from a forcefield on the scanner. They make for the TARDIS and there follows an exchange featuring introductions, painful Ace dialogue ("Joseph") and a rise in appreciation for Peri, not only from the listener but also the older Doctor. Some strange events follow as the TARDIS doors open and close randomly (a reference to the pilot episode?) for a short while. It's realised that the ship's emergency systems are trying to communicate something to the Doctors, and that whatever is happening is all centred around the TARDIS. As a listener, I had no idea what was going on at this point. The two Doctors and assistants head for the Vess factory in an effort to get to the bottom of this.

We then get a short scene between the first three Doctors, in the third's control room. It's revealed they're at the beginning of the TARDIS' destruction. In order to give their other selves as much time as possible to sort out whatever's going on, they've somehow managed to spread the temporal disturbance across eight incarnations - hence eight are involved. I really like the metaphor used here, which likens the situation to distributing water throughout a sinking ship so that it becomes submerged more slowly. Of course, it doesn't make events here make any sense, but it made me smile.

Arriving at the Vess facility and discovering two lifts, the Seventh Doctor and Ace decide to head downwards and the remaining pair upwards. It feels like a bit of a missed opportunity not to switch the teams up here, as I'd love to hear some scenes with just Seven and Peri. Just as Sixie is closing the elevator doors, he spots the Hartnell, Troughton and Pertwee incarnations and tries to reach them, to find out what's going on. The doors slam in his face though, and he must go up. The three Doctors are in fact on the hunt for more power to sustain the TARDIS a bit longer. The elder Doctor and Ace arrive in a delegates' meeting, where they're welcomed by Vess staff, whilst his junior counterpart and associate arrive in a similar location only to be captured instantly by Straxus, who comments, "another one!". Upstairs, security drones sent by the Master block the way back to the TARDIS, so the pair decide to run for it.

In a corridor where the security monitors have been disabled, the TIme Lords talk to the Doctor and Peri. Straxus begins to explain the situation, as the Master ponders what the Time Lords are up to. He's soon joined by the Doctor and Ace, and sits back to calmly enjoy the view as his ultimate nemesis is finally defeated. It's both a strength and a flaw of this story that its main events happen at the beginning and end, as it leaves very little to do in between, especially for the Master. There's only so much chuckling and boasting even he can stomach. Ace soon disappears, in the same way as Leela and Charley, and the Master tells Seven to run back to his TARDIS, to verify that time actually is running out.

Back downstairs, Peri disappears before the Doctor's eyes and he's understandably outraged. The Time Lords are quite calm about it though. They tell the Doctor that the Master is behind it all before proceeding to explain the events that occurred before The Light at the End, as detailed earlier in this review. This is a great scene, and Colin Baker really pulls
out all the stops here. I know I may have said it before, but this is seriously good acting from him, and easily his strongest scene I've ever heard. I'm sorry to say it, but of the five, his reaction to his companion disappearing is the best - possibly due to the fact that no other Doctors really have anyone to blame or to bounce off (saying that Nyssa's still around somewhere) and possibly due to the writing. Whatever the reason, I loved the confrontation with Straxus. I've not heard any stories involving this Time Lord, but Oliver Hume's interpretation is certainly impressive. This scene is one of the standouts of the piece, a slice of real drama. It comes second only to those featuring Bob Dovie.

In the Sixth Doctor's TARDIS, the Seventh Doctor begins to understand what's going on as he's greeted by visions of his Fifth self, followed by the First, Second and Third. They explain to him that they isolated the explosion of the bomb to a single moment in time and trapped it in the red light. They intended it as a warning to the later Doctors, telling them not to visit that point in time. Through the ship's emergency systems, they were able to stabilise a light through the TARDIS' whole life. They didn't have sufficient power for a full message, which is what they were hunting for at the facility. Sixie, meanwhile, has had enough of Straxus and commandeers his TARDIS. He expands the dimensional stabiliser field so that the whole dimension is included. This will cause the time capsule to explode, but he says it's a small price to pay for the outcome. He leaves the CIA agent with a haunting message to do things the right way if given the chance again.

Due to a bit of fringing, it's not possible for the first three incarnations to materialise fully within the field, but the other five Doctors are able to. The Sixth Doctor leaves Straxus' ship and heads for his own, where the Fourth, Fifth and Eighth incarnations have appeared, having been saved from the explosions. They all come into 'Contact' with one another, and I was pleased to see the reappearance of this plot device to save a lot of expositionary time. With the size of the dimension being what it is, they will all be able to maintain psychic communication as well, handily. As such, Four and Eight head for the Master's TARDIS, using the same trick to enter once more. He restrains them, and is convinced they're here to distract him, so keeps an eye of external proceedings. Whilst their older selves plan to break out of the dimension, the first three Doctors try to make a clearer warning using what little remaining power they have. In this way, no Doctors will ever have passed through that point in time, and so won't have become trapped. It's quite a good plan, but if they can never pass through 17:03 etc, that's a tad inconvenient. The TARDIS is present at that time in many stories, notably An Unearthly Child and The Assassination Games. Never mind, we'll write that one off.

The Master sees the Doctors dematerialise, and sends a pulse of energy at their TARDIS, sending them careering towards the Big Bang. The Sixth Doctor, having been in this situation already, pilots them away and it's then that the Fifth Doctor has the idea that wraps up this little catastrophe. It's nice that it's this Doctor that comes up with the solution given that it was his invitation of Dovie into the TARDIS that kick-started events - not that any other incarnation would have done things differently. He shares this plan psychically with all the Doctors, including those with the Master. Their purpose in coming to see him is revealed; they wanted to know the weapon he used against them. The Conceptual Bomb is introduced for the first time and suddenly the hanging strands begin to knot themselves up. Of course, their other bodies are now aware of this, and set course for Barnsfield Crescent.

Upon arrival, we get a replay of the first scene of the story as Dovie plays football with his son, which involved a police box phasing in and out before crashing into their roof. Earlier comments about recognising the Doctor now come into play in a weird non-linear fashion. It feels like Briggs wants to play this both ways. He wants the corrected time stream version and the Light at the End alternate time stream, and so it gets mighty confusing for the listener who naturally assumes they're listening to the same thing. This isn't a case of clues being given and then being explained, it's a case of you hearing two sets of parallel events with the same characters, and the case not being commented upon until now. The Fifth Doctor invites Mr Dovie into the TARDIS exactly a year before the Master plants the Conceptual Bomb. This way, he can get all the "impossible" business out the way, so that he doesn't have the same reaction in twelve months' time. 

The first three Doctors fix the Emergency Systems so that they're permanently broken, which I really liked, so that the light never goes off in the first place. This avoids all the continuity problems I talked about before. All the Doctors, companions and TARDISes are restored to their respective times as it should be, pulling the Fourth and Eighth Doctors from the Master's capsule. All eight ships then head directly for the Master, in a time ram. Yeah, you were hoping The Time Monster wouldn't get referenced in the fiftieth anniversary story, weren't you? This is fine, though. It provides a neat exit for the Master, and he's bumped off to some backwater hellhole (Isle of Dogs, probably). No party has any memory of the preceding events, cleanly avoiding there being any consequences of this adventure. While it's good in general for the Continuity Coppers, it does still feel like a shame after two hours of story.

And then we're back with Eight and Charley. The scene that was initiated at the open of Part One is continued here, as the pair head for somewhere fun. Delightfully, we get another scene with Bob Dovie as they arrive on his doorstep, only to be met with a torrent of abuse. It turns out that all seven other Doctors have also turned up there that evening; they all just had a feeling. Dovie is brilliant in this scene and I personally hope that should we ever land in twentieth century Britain again, we might see another appearance from him. John Dorney is simply sublime as this character, and steals the show with his performance. The part is slight as written, and Dorney invests much more than the script offers. He's in probably under ten minutes of this story, but makes the biggest impression. It's lovely that there's just an ordinary bloke at the heart of this, getting mixed up by Time Lords' meddling. After all, that's how it all began.

And so to the performances. For obvious reasons, the first three Doctors feature less in this than their later versions. They are embodied by other actors though - William Russell, Frazer Hines and Tim Treloar respectively. It's a shame that they don't have more involvement, even a proper scene together as on the whole, these actors play the roles well. Treloar's performance has to be the weakest, but even he's passable as Pertwee. What's most annoying is that it's incredibly hard to make out any of their dialogue, thanks to Jamie Robertson's sound design. If this were on screen, it would be fine because you can also see the actors' lips moving to help you decipher what they're saying. You could not doubt figure it out with use of a script too. But I had neither, and had an extremely hard time trying to interpret their words thanks to the swirling high-pass that Robertson puts on the voices to convey that they're only 'ghosts'. It's a good technique, but kind of ruined all their scenes for me. It's a shame, as the snatches of dialogue I could catch were great.

This is my first Big Finish featuring either Tom Baker or Louise Jameson. If you didn't realise my affection for Jameson's character in my recent 'Leelathon', I think you must have only looked to the scores. Jameson was brilliant then, and is now. It's sad that she is noticeably, but unavoidably (obviously) older, but she still gives a great performance for her very small role in this. Conversely, Baker sounds almost identical to his tenure during the '70s. I had a great time listening to him, and it's made me more keen to seek out his plays. As with McGann, it's unfortunate that they're disregarded after the first half-hour, but what a pairing. I know the story's format was dictated by availability as much as anything else. For those who aren't aware, Tom records his stories at a studio nearer his home than the usual Moat Studios. Paul also lives close to these, and hence they were teamed up. It is disappointing that the only Doctors who've had their own ranges are put together, as I'd love to have heard some other combinations. A great performance from Mr T Baker though.

I was very glad it was Davison's Doctor (the most 'human' of the bunch included here) that had to deal with Mr Dovie. He handles the situation well, and sensitively, when talking to Bob. On the other hand, his scripted lines when talking about the Master taking over her father's body are quite insensitive, almost as if he'd forgotten it was her father. Davison is great though, he's always value for money. Sarah Sutton as Nyssa likewise. She stands by her Doctor, and the idea of the pair going round as detectives is quite endearing. Perhaps if Jago & Litefoot ever runs out of steam, this could be a potential replacement? They complement each other well, even in this suburban setting that's alien to both of them. Enjoyable turns from both, and it's just a shame Nyssa (like all companions in this) got so little to do with the main plot.

This could be the story that converts me to a real fan of Old Sixie. I appreciate him in Big Finish certainly, but here I see real acting strength and ability from Colin Baker. His scene with Hume is incredibly powerful, and shows how effectively the rage seen in the TV series could have been turned to a strength if tempered and used appropriately. Nicola Bryant is endearing in her brief role as Peri. Her relationship with Ace was good, and that could have been another team division at the lifts. Now that would be special, Peri and Ace, and the two Doctors. I realise for plot purposes there needed to be at least one incarnation at each stage, but the Seventh Doctor's talk with the Master is ultimately inconsequential anyway. But, back to the subject at hand, I loved Baker and Bryant in Light and I look forward to hearing more of their stories.

Whereas with The Assassination Games, I felt McCoy sometimes didn't give 100%, here I can safely say he does. He sounds well versed with the material and is a joy to listen to. He's manipulative and quietly angry, in all the best ways Big Finish push his buttons. Ace on the other hand is a nightmare. While I can appreciate going back to her 'roots' for the anniversary main range story, it feels a bit stretched here. To save time and dialogue, Briggs could have set this after Survival, to avoid explanations about regeneration and the Master. She's delivered some faithfully shite '80s lines here, and particularly cringe-inducing is her description of all the Doctors are a series of apparitions in the TARDIS. For example, Hartnell is "old man white hair" and Troughton is "Beatles haircut". Also poor is her use of the word "boom!", invoking bad memories of Battlefield. It's a good performance from Aldred, it's just a shame she's written so poorly, but accurately for the time I might add.

The Paul McGann and India Fisher stories rarely set my ears alight while listening to them, and certainly more by McGann when they did. I never really 'got' Charley in the same way that some people did. I liked her, and she was a good mate of the Doctor's, but I didn't get the hook to make me really like her, especially with all the Divergent Universe crap she had to endure a decade ago. I can understand though, as she was an integral part of Big Finish's initial success, why Briggs chose to bring her back for this story. I also suspect it might have something to do with Sheridan Smith now being a well-famous, well-busy super-actress. Both give good portrayals though, and it really does feel like we're back in 2001 (in a good way). As with Tom Baker, it's a shame that the first half-hour is essentially just those two Doctors, before they're barely seen again until the climax. I understand it's logistics and scheduling and blah, but when they work so well together it's a tragedy.

Jamie Robertson's sound design is generally very impressive here. What you have to remember is that the only bit of the finished audio you're hearing that he didn't create (yes, create) are the voices. And even some of them are tampered with. It's hard to stress just how crucial this job is on a story, and Robertson has been consistently exemplary across all the ranges he's worked on over the years. I'm not sure if I would have picked him for this story, but he does a really good job. As I said before, the only niggle was the obscuring of the Hartnell, Troughton and Pertwee Doctors' (or should that be Russell, Hines and Treloar?) dialogue. He also reinterprets the theme again here, having last tried it out for the Eighth Doctor/Mary Shelley trilogy a few years back. I liked that theme, and I think I prefer it to this one (which you can hear here), which just feels too busy and varied. It's neither here nor there, but still stirrs up a great... pride in me, if that's the right word. I love the middle eight though, that's beautiful. Overall, really good work by Robertson, probably his best yet.

The title seems a bit odd to me personally. It clearly means the red light on the console at the end of the TARDIS' life, but that's not as catchy. I don't think it's all that appropriate to this story, but works nonetheless. It's vague enough that you think after it's finished, "now what did the title mean?" and feels more like a conceptual title of the story plan rather than of the finished product. I'm fine with it, don't get me wrong, I just felt I had to address it somewhere seeing as some of you may be confused as to its origins.

To finally conclude then (hope you enjoyed the last 5,400 words exactly by the way), this is a great anniversary story. Out of necessity, the major events happen off screen before the story begins, but that doesn't really matter. No-one was really expecting substance to best style here, and indeed that's what you get. Briggs, Dorney and Richardson (and probably Barnes, though no-one mentions his contribution) have come up with an ingenious idea that's right up the Master's alley. This is the sort of thing he would pounce on in an instant for sure. Beevers' Master is very suave and enjoyable - it's my first experience of him as the Master on audio, and it makes me hunger for more. The only regret with this story is that it's so big that you know there's going to be a big reset of some sort at the end - not just from the established continuity. If something smaller had been chosen, it could have been left and there could have been consequences for the Doctor. But as such, this never happened. It's a real thrilling ride, and celebrates the first fifty years very well. Who better to think up a plot central to the Doctor's destruction (not literally, for a change) than his best enemy, the Master. Excellent work by all, and this is quite possibly the pinnacle of the anniversary celebrations.

John Dorney is the standout performer from this, absolutely superb. Plus Benedict Briggs is perfect as his son Kevin. More of them please!

In a Nutshell: A highly impressive, undoubtedly commemorative piece the sums up the essence of Who well. Recommended listening.

You can buy The Light at the End Standard Edition here; Limited Edition here; and the Collectors' Edition is sold out but you can still read the details here. You can read Joe from Doc Oho's (considerably shorter) review here, and you can listen to the good folks of the Doctor Who Podcast's review here.

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