21 September 2014

AG: Destiny of the Doctor Roundup

No roundup from me would be complete without a list of the stories, ranked from best to worst, so let's get that out the way now. Don't forget you can click each one to go to the full review.




I was hoping Destiny of the Doctor would be something of a showcase of the best of Big Finish, and on the whole it lived up to my expectations. I think taken as a complete series it does showcase Big Finish in its entirety, which is as good an achievement as any. If these stories were your introduction to the company, I'm almost sure you'd be inclined to check out what else they do. This audiobook/Companion Chronicles really worked for me and I wouldn't be adverse to seeing another similar series, but I doubt we will - the earliest I'd imagine would be 2023. One of the best things about the series is its cohesiveness and John Ainsworth and Matt Fitton should be praised for their efforts. Ainsworth also deserves a lot of credit for his fine direction throughout, always serving the script well and often elevating it.

The covers for this series were designed and formatted by Paul Hocking. On the whole, these have been good and the style certainly fits in with the more 'casual' (if a Who fan can be described with that word) audience AudioGo and Big Finish were hoping to attract. I do have a couple of points I want to bring up though. The Seventh Doctor cutout is just appalling, particularly around the hair. It's astounding that got through proofing. As is the fact that the Eleventh Doctor is clearly stated to be wearing tweed in The Time Machine yet he's clearly in his 2013 outfit on the cover. Also, that's not the greatest picture of Paul McGann ever taken, is it?

If you were only going to buy one, I personally would go for Night of the Whisper. However, I know Eccleston isn't many peoples' cup of tea (but give him a chance, go on!) so going with the most popular Doctor, and an outstanding story, I'd recommend Babblesphere. It was the first one I got from the series, and convinced me to snap up the rest. If you're planning to buy all of them, I'd seek out the TARDIS collection if you can (I didn't manage) but if not it'd be great if you could consider buying direct from Big Finish, here. They're only £4 download and £5 on CD a piece or you can get the lot for £40 on download - an absolute steal considering the quality! Amazon, the most likely alternative, has them for a much higher price, and this way all the money goes back to Big Finish, which I know they appreciate.

If you only wanted to dip into the range, I'd say to get the full benefit of the arc the stories you ought to purchase are Hunters of Earth, Shockwave, Night of the Whisper, Death's Deal and The Time Machine - but the Ninth and Tenth Doctor stories are the least essential on that list.

I'd really like to thank everyone involved with this series. It's been a brilliant journey, and I'm really sad I've reached the end. A lot of these will definitely be clambering onto the bottom of my relisten list. As nostalgia kicks and original tales, these score extremely highly, and some of them are amongst the creme of Big Finish's crop. I think all who had a hand in this series and making it happen deserves to feel proud.

Working it out mathematically, these score an average rounding to 7.5. But without Enemy Aliens, this rockets closer to 8.5, which I think is a much fairer representation of the quality sustained (almost) throughout. For number nerds, minus the bottom two stories, the average is basically at 9, which is an amazing achievement. Well done, everyone.

In a Nutshell: Essential anniversary listening!

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